Challenges facing public secondary school managers in the implementation of strategic plans in Gatundu North District, Kiambu County
Mwangi, Kamau David
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School strategic planning is key to success of a school with regard to achievement of its mission, goals and objectives. This study sought to find out the challenges facing secondary school managers in the implementation of strategic plans in Gatundu North District, Kenya. The objectives of the study were: find out the proportion of secondary schools in Gatundu North District that engage in strategic planning; determine how participation of stakeholders in preparation of strategic plans influences implementation of the plans; assess how material, human and financial resources influence implementation of strategic plans; establish how school leadership influences implementation of strategic plans; and examine how government policy on school management influences implementation of strategic plans. The study employed a survey design, targeting all 36 secondary schools in Gatundu North District. The sample for the study comprised 30 secondary schools sampled through simple random sampling. The study participants comprised of 30 secondary school headteachers, 30 Board of Governors chairpersons and 60 Heads of Departments. Data was collected using two questionnaires for headteachers and heads of department, and an interview schedule for BOG chairpersons. Prior to the actual data, a pilot study was conducted to ascertain the reliability and validity of the instruments. Data was both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data collected was analyzed using frequencies, percentages, and means. The results were reported using frequency tables, pie charts and bar charts. Qualitative data was put under themes consistent with the research objectives. The study established that secondary schools in Gatundu North District had long term strategic plans, with a mission and vision statement; which if properly implemented, would benefit the stakeholders in schools. It was established that head teachers had long-term plans for their schools, which would enable them to have ample time to make and see the changes of their strategic plans before deciding whether to make any more adjustments or to continue with the same strategic plans. The study established that head teachers made an effort of including all the stakeholders in the implementation of strategic plans, to ensure that everyone's interests are met. The study also established that most of the schools lacked enough finances to implement their strategic plans, which showed that lack of resources adversely affected the implementation of strategic plans in schools. It emerged from the study that the schools had effective leadership, which had a positive effect on strategic planning in schools. Effective leadership in strategic planning plays the role of making plans for the future, providing better awareness of needs and of the facilities related issues and environment, defining the overall mission of the organization and focuses on the objectives, providing a sense of direction, continuity, and effective staffing and leadership. The study recommends that school administrators should sensitize BOG members, P.T.A members, teachers, local leaders and community members on the importance of strategic plans and mobilize their support in preparation and implementation of strategic plans; the Government should also ensure that school funds are released on time and that strategic plans are considered when determining the amount of money to be disbursed to each school. This could be done by making strategic planning mandatory as a condition for government funding. It could also be done by monitoring and evaluating schools' progress; among other recommendations.