A study of the functions of deputy head teachers in selected primary schools in the Eastern division of Nairobi City Commission
Kamau, John M.
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The primary task of this study was to establish the functions performed by primary school deputy headteachers in selected primary schools of the Eastern Division of Nairobi. The study was limited by two major factors; firstly it was restricted in one division of Nairobi. Generalization of the findings to all the schools in the country will not be possible, therefore. Secondly, the amount of money and time for the study, limited this project since it was too little to allow the use of a large sample. The project was therefore limited to 20 primary schools randomly selected in the division. The 20 deputy headteachers from the selected schools served as the subjects for this project. The major tool used in the study was a questionnaire, which was administered by the researcher in person. It was supplemented with interviews between the headteachers and the researcher. The data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics. Subsequently upon the analysis, it was observed that: (i) Deputy headteachers regard supervision of lower primary school to be their must important task in the school. Next in importance is maintenance of pupil discipline. (ii) Deputizing in the absence of the head teacher is the most important task for a deputy, according to the headteachers. (iii) It was also found out that deputy headteachers regard themselves to be teachers and not administrators in the school. On the other hand, headteachers regard their deputies to be administrative associates. (iv) Another major observation was that the deputy headteachers are not involved while the headteachers are making major decisions. Important documents related to the running of the school are inaccessible to the deputy. (v) That deputies do not receive adequate preparation for headship while serving as deputy headteachers. On appointment to headship, many felt that they would need some induction courses. These were especially in planning, finance and decision-making. (vi) It was noted that deputy headteachers are usually pressed for time while performing their duties as deputy and classroom teacher. On the strength of the data gathered and analysed the researcher recommends: (i) There is need for deputies to be initiated into major decision-making in the school administration. This is so particularly in areas of finance and staff personnel. The deputies should also be allowed more access to confidential documents. (ii) That education authorities should seriously consider mounting courses for deputy headteachers as a way of preparing them for effective headship and higher administrative offices. (iii) The teaching load for a deputy head teacher should be reduced to enable him or her to give adequate attention to both teaching and administrative roles. (iv) The maintenance of school stores records should be assigned to a clerical staff who may be answerable to the deputy head. (v) Books on Management should be part of the school supplies. The availability of such books will help to enlighten the deputies and other teachers as well, on Management processes. (vi) It is in the interests of the teaching profession for the Teachers Service Commission to improve the status of the office of the deputy head teacher. Allowances payable to the office bearers should be made commensurate with the duties they perform in the school. Incentives should also be given on the basis of the duration one has served as a deputy head teacher.