Factors influencing performance of clerical officers in the proficiency examination in the public service in Nairobi, Kenya
Kung'u, Margaret Wairimu
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In spite of having many studies undertaken on performance in Proficiency Examination for Clerical Officers in the Public Service, there lacks a major study specifically undertaken to address the key factors influencing declining performance. This has resulted to a wide knowledge gap among Public Service Commission examination officers on how clerical officers should improve their performance. The purpose of the study was to investigate the factors influencing performance of clerical officers in the proficiency examination in the PublicService. The specific objectives were: to establish the extent to which pre-service qualifications influence performance of clerical officers in the proficiency examination; to assess the influence of induction of clerical officers in the proficiency examination; to establish the influence of in- service training on performance of clerical officers in the proficiency examination; to find out the influence of work environment on performance of clerical officers in the proficiency examination; and to establish the influence of clerical officers' perceptions of the examination on performance in the proficiency examination. The study was undertaken in Nairobi County targeting selected ministries/departments at their headquarters. Both quantitative and qualitative study approaches were utilized by the study. Descriptive survey was used because of its appropriateness in establishing relationships between variables. The target population included; clerical officers who have attempted the proficiency examination, their supervisors and examination officers at the Public Service Commission which is the examining body. The study utilized stratified random sampling technique to select a representative sample from government ministries/departments at their headquarters. The study utilized both primary and secondary data. Primary data was gathered through use of a questionnaire, interview and observation guides. Secondary data was gathered through review of literature related to the topic of research. The major findings were that clerical officers are not adequately trained before they sit for the examination as required by the syllabus and regulations for clerical officers (2006); they also lack adequate time and resources to prepare for the proficiency examination; and are not exposed to all operational areas through job rotation leading to the poor performance. The study also found out that some clerical officers have negative perceptions of the proficiency examination leading to the poor performance. The study recommends that adequate time and training resources be provided. Clerical officers should also be rotated to all operational areas to get the hands on experience. All registered candidates should be exposed to the programmed block release training which should take a minimum of six weeks. The program should be enriched to include formative assessment in form of continuous assessment tests and assignments. The Public Service Commission should play an oversight role in training clerical officers. The Commission should provide examination related information in good time to prospective candidates and should evaluate the effectiveness of its examination procedures in order to enhance clerical officers' perceptions of the proficiency examination. Further research should be undertaken in other Counties and the wider Public service to validate the findings. An evaluation of the training program for clerical officers should also be carried out to determine its effectiveness in preparing clerical officers for the proficiency examination. An evaluation of the examination administration processes at the Public Service Commission of Kenya should be carried out to determine their efficiency and effectiveness.