Headteachers' instructional supervisory functions in private and public primary schools; Ngong' division, Kajiado district
Kamindo, Catherine Muchiru
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Supervision of instruction has been and still is an important aspect of education. To facilitate achievement of goals and objectives of education, supervision of instruction should be properly done in our schools. Studies done earlier have revealed that the officers who are charged with the responsibility of supervising instruction in our primary schools face various hurdles that make this task difficult. This situation leaves the head teachers as more or less the only supervisors of instruction in the schools. This study investigated how head teachers in private and public primary schools performed instructional supervisory functions. Supervisory functions that were cited in the literature as what the head teachers were expected to perform namely staffing, motivation, programme development, consultation with teachers, evaluation of teachers and other functions that head teachers could be using were sought. The study also attempted to find out whether there was a difference in supervision of instruction between head teachers in private and public primary schools. Data was collected through questionnaires and interviews. The population consisted of all head teachers, teachers and Assistant Primary Schools Inspectors (A.P.S.I) in Ngong and Ongata Rongai zones. A total of 18 head teachers, 86 teachers and 2 A.P.S.Is' participated in the study. Analysis of data was done using frequencies and percentages and findings were presented in tables. The study came to the conclusion that private schools' head teachers had higher academic qualifications compared to those in public schools but in both categories of schools head teachers had higher professional qualifications than the teachers. Those head teachers who had higher professional qualifications had confidence in performing instructional supervisory functions especially evaluation of teachers. On the performance of the different supervisory functions, the private and public schools had distinct methods of staffing e.g. advertising in private schools while head teachers in public schools requested for teachers through the District Education Officer. It was also noted that methods used to orientate teachers in the two categories of schools were different and were affected by the professional qualifications of the head teachers but not by administrative experience. Head teachers with higher professional qualifications tended to use more personalized methods of orientating teachers such as inviting a teacher to sit in the head teacher's class as she/he taught. Head teachers in private schools motivated their teachers using monetary benefits while in public schools non-monetary benefits were used. Professional qualifications and administrative experience affected how the head teachers motivated their staff. For example, head teachers with P1 qualification and above helped teachers solve professional problems while the teachers reported that this motivated them. Although all schools had subject panels, the only activity these panels carried out was co-ordination of examinations. Evaluation of teachers was reported to be a problem by head teachers in public schools unlike in private schools. Most head teachers in private schools used class visits and pupils’ workbooks to evaluate the teachers while the head teachers in public schools used class mean scores and teachers professional records. The A.P.S.Is incharge of the two zones supervised instruction in public schools although they cited problems like transport and too many administrative duties that hindered their effective supervision. Private schools were supervised on request by head teachers. The A.P.S.Is rated supervision of instruction in private schools as higher than in public schools due to the fact that teachers were directly answerable to head teachers. The A.P.S.Is confirmed the importance of the five supervisory functions identified in the literature as tools of improving instruction in the primary schools. In view of these findings the study recommended more in-servicing of headteachers with greater emphasis on supervision of instruction, and better responsibility allowances for headteachers in public schools. Training of more A.P.S.Is was recommended to reduce their workload and enable them visit schools regularly, while supervision of private schools by the A.P.S.Is could promote interaction between the two categories of schools. Research should be done on the effect of supervision of instruction on the academic performance in the two categories of schools.