Constraint that impinge upon the role of headteachers in primary school management
Rono, Joseph Arap
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The main concern of the researcher in this study was to find out the constraints that impinge upon the role of headteachers in primary school management in Belgut division in Kericho district. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to identify: (1). The constraints that primary school headteachers faced in carrying out their duties and responsibilities. (2) The extent to which these constraints hindered the headteachers in carrying out their roles. (3) The leading constraints that primary school headteachers were faced with in carrying out their duties. (4) The special constraints that these headteachers might have faced in carrying out their administrative duties. Procedure A review of literature was made to identify the importance of the primary school headteacher, his/her role as he/she performs the daily duties and responsibilities that relate to finance, curriculum and instruction, staff personnel, pupil personnel, physical facilities, school-community relationship as well as the general school organization and management. A questionnaire made up of four parts was developed by the researcher and was used as the main tool to collect the data. In part one the respondents had to give their background information while in part two the headteachers had to rank the constraints according to their seriousness in their respective schools. Part three consisted of special constraints which required the headteacher to answer the questions accordingly. The last part needed the respondents to give their respective comments in form of suggestions and recommendations. The sample consisted of thirty headteachers selected randomly from a population of 146 schools from Belgut Division of Kericho district. The number of respondents came down to 26 because 4 headteachers did not complete the questionnaires. This was equivalent to 86.7 percent of all the sampled schools. Total responses from this number were analysed using frequency tables and percentages. Limitations There were several factors that limited the findings of the study. The first factor was the finances allocated to this study. The amount was too little that the researcher was forced to limit his traveling within the division. The second factor was time. The 3 months period was not sufficient to cover the research in great details. The third factor was that the sample of 30 respondents was a limitation in that the findings might not be applicable to all primary school headteachers in Kenya. Findings 1. The constraint that constituted the greatest difficulty to the headteachers lay in the area of curriculum and instruction. This was mainly in the area of obtaining adequate instructional materials like textbooks and exercise books. 2. The parents were unwilling to contribute funds and that it was a problem to collect money from them. Some of them were generally poor but most lacked the cooperation deserved to enable any worthwhile fundraising. 3. In most schools, teachers did not stay for long before being transferred hence breaking the continuity of teaching in the affected schools. However, such teachers were replaced by either ageing and traditional or untrained teachers who lowered the performance in some schools. 4. The officials from Ministry of Education, especially the APSI, AEO and DEO, gave very little guidance to teachers as they were not seen visiting schools. 5. In most schools there was shortage of classrooms, workshops, teachers' houses and space for expansion. This was linked to lack of funds. 6. Most headteachers found it a great task to supervise, coordinate and direct the daily activities of teachers in their respective schools. 7. There was a lot of public criticism which led to lack of commitment and hence parents became difficult in providing the necessary facilities for the welfare of the school. 8. Some schools experienced special constraints namely; Political differences, religious differences, headteachers' personal or family problems, poor relationship between PTA and school committee. Recommendations 1. There is need to create the position of the Administrative Assistant in primary schools. This person will handle tasks and duties which are not of an academic nature but that the headteacher will be final authority. The headteacher will then be free to devote all his time and energy to directing the instructional programme. 2. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) should appoint through interviews the very best and qualified teachers to leadership roles. 3. The Kenya Educational Staff Institute (KESI) should organize regular refresher courses for most primary school headteachers. This will instill in them new ideas and tactics on how to run their schools. 4. There is need for all primary school headteachers to start a national association namely, "Kenya Primary Schools Headteachers Association." They can use it to discuss ideas on how to solve some of the constraints they face in their respective schools. 5. There is need for more rural primary school headteachers to solicit funds from charitable organizations. 6. The APSI's, AEO's and DEO's should constantly attend in-service courses. Such courses should be well organized so that these officers will later use the acquired knowledge to guide and advice the primary school headteachers accordingly.