Principals’ Effectiveness in the Implementation of Safety Guidelines on Physical Infrastructure in Public Secondary Schools in Makueni County, Kenya
Nzangi, Evans Kioko
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This study was motivated by the unrelenting incidents of secondary schools’ unrest and arson in Kenya. The aftermath has been wanton destruction of schools’ physical infrastructure with public secondary schools being most affected. Safety guidelines on physical infrastructure were aimed at redressing this situation. However, the extent to which the principals have implemented these safety guidelines is still not clear in the country and particularly in, Makueni County. The objectives with respect to the area under study were: To establish the principals’ and teachers’ level of awareness on the existence of the Safety Standards Manual for Schools; To determine the various measures which have been undertaken by principals in promoting physical infrastructure safety in public secondary schools; To describe factors which affect the principals’ capacity to implement safety guidelines on physical facilities in public secondary schools; To investigate how the role of the principals in the implementation of the physical infrastructure safety guidelines in public secondary schools can be enhanced. The study was based on the ERG (Existence, Relatedness and Growth) theory; failure to attend to students and staff relatedness and growth needs in a school may impact itself negatively through renewed agitation for existence needs such as food, uniform and safety concerns leading to school unrests and destruction of school’s physical infrastructure. Descriptive survey design was employed. The study locale was Mbooni East Sub County in Makueni County, Kenya. The schools/principals sample size was determined through stratified random sampling. In the sampled schools, teachers were randomly selected. Based on a target population of all 47 principals and 360 teachers in 47 public secondary schools in Mbooni East Sub County, the respondents included a principal and three teachers from each of the ten public secondary schools sampled. Through delegation, teachers significantly assist the principals in policy implementation in schools, hence their inclusion. The research instruments used were questionnaires and observation check list. Content validity was ascertained by my assessors and supervisor. A pilot study was done to ascertain the appropriateness of the research instruments. The principals’ and teachers’ questionnaires yielded a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.890 and 0.825 respectively in a Test- Retest reliability measure. An observation check list was used to obtain observable data during school visits. The resultant data was processed using descriptive statistics. SPSS version 20, helped in data analysis. Presentation of data was done through frequency tabulations and graphical representations. The study established that 74% of the principals had only fully implemented 37.5% of the physical infrastructure safety guidelines. The study concluded that all public secondary schools needed to be assessed for compliance with the established physical structures safety standards and regulations. The study recommended that the principals be financially empowered and regularly guided by the Ministry of Education Quality and standards officers to further implement the physical infrastructure safety guidelines for the school structures to be safe and learner friendly.