International Journal of
Educational Administration and Policy Studies

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Educ. Admin. Pol. Stud.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6656
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEAPS
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 215

Full Length Research Paper

A comparative study of the influence of head teachers management styles on pupils performance in K CPE in public and private primary schools in Nakuru municipality, Kenya

Margaret Nekesa Shibo
  • Margaret Nekesa Shibo
  • Maasai Mara University, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 18 September 2015
  •  Accepted: 12 February 2016
  •  Published: 30 June 2016

 ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to compare the influence of management styles of head teacher’s on pupils’ performance in private and public primary schools in Nakuru municipality at Kenya Certificate of Primary Education level. The population comprised of teachers and head teachers in public primary schools. The study adopted the ex post facto survey research design and used a sample size of 70 primary schools in which 70 Head teachers and 70 teachers were interviewed. The respondents were selected using simple random sampling technique. Data for the study was collected by use of questionnaires and interview schedules. The study collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Data collected was analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 17. The results were presented by descriptive statistics. The study findings revealed that most public primary schools were using democratic and participatory leadership styles as opposed to private primary schools, which were mainly using autocratic leadership style; private primary schools were performing better than Public primary schools in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in Nakuru municipality; most teachers in both private and public primary schools were not comfortable with the prevailing / current leadership styles and administration standards, and negatively related this with student performance. The findings further revealed a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark and team working spirit r(62)=0.078) p>0.05; and a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark and adequate reading materials r(62)= 0.094) p>0.05. Although the two correlations were not significant. Following these findings, the study recommends that the Ministry of Education, school governing bodies, and concerned stakeholders should consider mobilizing and allocating resources geared towards mitigating the impediments to the effectiveness of primary school leadership styles. 

Key words: Head teachers’ management styles, pupils’ performance, KCPE, primary schools, Kenya.


 INTRODUCTION

School leaders face challenges due to rising expectations for schools and schooling in a century characterized by technological innovation, migration and globalization (Norton, 2003; Jacobson et al., 2007).  As countries aim to transform their educational systems to prepare all young people  with  the knowledge  and  skills  needed  in this changing world, the roles of school leaders and related expectations have changed radically. They are no longer expected merely to be good managers. Effective school leadership is increasingly viewed as key to large-scale education reform and to improved educational outcomes (Pont et al., 2008).

World Education Forum (2000) noted that the role of education in all aspects of development, be it economic, social, cultural, technological and scientific is paramount. For people to develop, they must acquire sufficient and proper basic education. In addition, education is a fundamental human right, it is crucial to sustainable development, and is also key to peace and stability within and among nations and an indispensable means for effective participation in the societies and economies of the twenty-first century. A recent publication of IIEP (2002) highlights the importance of education by stating that education is not just a human right, it is also vital for reducing poverty, promoting health, improving governance and empowering people to make choices about their destinies. Indeed education is crucial for enhancing capabilities, furthering equity and promoting social progress.

Management style is presumed to be one of the core variables in the achievement of the goals of education (IIEP, 2002; Fullan, 2005). It is therefore, important for every school to have a manager who can focus on the entire organization from both a short and long term perspective, handle managerial process of forming a strategic plan, vision, set objectives, craft a strategy and then implement and execute the strategy. Provision of quality education and training has been a central policy issue in Kenya since independence in 1963 (GoK, 1988). This has been mainly due to an increasing demand for more education and training opportunities for a fast growing population. Besides, the demand for qualified human resource to meet the development needs for the country has also been given attention.

However, since the introduction of the 844 (a new system of education in Kenya where 8 years are spent in primary school; 4 years in secondary school and 4 years at the university level) system of education in 1985, the Government of Kenya (GoK) has faced the twin challenges of reducing its expenditure on education as part of the world banks’s Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) and expanding educational opportunities for Kenyan children. To this end, households, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector have assumed a higher share of financing education. To date, the government spends about 40% of its recurrent expenditure on Education (GoK, 1996, 1997, 1988). This source of funds cripple the good management of financial resources that contributes to the good and better performance especially in the field of sports, games and music in the public primary schools (Hargreaves and Fink, 2006). Educational   institutions,   like   all   other   organizations, require constant monitoring to identify areas for potential improvement. This is necessitated by the fact that commercial enterprises, non-profit organizations, service industries government instrumentalities and education all undergo change (Hargreaves and Fink, 2006). Many studies have related pupils’ performance to various aspects such as the management of the school through School Management Committees, quality of teaching, type of school, motivation of teachers and pupils, class size in terms of enrolment and the pupils’ gender. The main problem in relating these aspects is that the non-measurable outputs may be as important as the measurable ones. There are also some concerns about the fact that students are taught by more than one teacher, making it difficult to link the performance of a particular student to a particular teacher (Walsh and Snyder, 2004). This is where a good motivated manager comes in to ensure that there is vertical teaching in the school to assess the performance of a pupil and the teacher in National exams.

The curriculum used in all the public and private primary schools in Kenya is the same (GoK, 1988). Public schools are provided with trained teachers by the government while private schools employ their own teachers who are also trained from the same colleges. While such similarities as having trained teachers exist, there must be certain differences existing between public and private primary schools that affect performance in Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). Such factors include; availability of physical facilities, finances, good teacher to pupil ratio and close supervision of managers employers. All needs arising in private schools are first hand prioritized to its solution because of the availability of cash at hand at the school level.

Bennaars et al. (1994) view management as a system of working with individual persons and groups for the purpose of achieving the established goals of an organization. It involves tasks such as planning, organizing, directing and controlling. They also view administration as an acceptable process within an organization that is vested with the responsibility of controlling, supervising, organizing, managing and making decisions on functions and activities of organization. Schools being such organizations, the manager therefore have a major role to play in performance of the schools worldwide, nationally and even locally in Nakuru municipality.

Since both public and private schools in Nakuru municipality use the same curriculum and yield different results in performance, this study sought to establish the disconnect in performance of the two groups of schools.

The loud question juxtaposed in this study is whether school leadership styles have a contribution to make in terms of school academic performance for the two groups of schools.

This study is shows in a way that Kenya, a developing country, has to make deliberate efforts in addressing dominant inequalities in the education sector (Buchmann and Hannum, 2001). This can form contemporary evidence as to why developing countries need to rethink existing education policies so as to realize faster development (Mankiw et al., 1992).


 METHODOLOGY

This study adopted a retrospective survey research design. An ex post facto design explores and clarifies relationship between two or more variables without undertaking any scrutiny (Mathooko et al., 2007). The study examined the influence of management styles on pupils’ performance in KCPE performance. The management styles formed the independent variables while performances in KCPE formed dependent variable.  The Ex post facto research design was the most appropriate because the design has a characteristic that the researcher has no control over the variables (Kathuri, 1993). Cases of poor or good performance in KCPE in primary schools in Nakuru Municipality had already occurred and the influence of management styles was already experienced.

 

There were 60 public primary schools and 22 private primary schools in Nakuru Municipality. Therefore, the target population comprised of 82 primary schools. The focus of the study was on head teacher and teachers handling standard eight. The researcher obtained information for the study by interviewing Head teachers and teachers. There were 82 Head teachers and approximately 410 teachers in Nakuru Municipality.

 

The study adopted multi stage sampling approach, whereby after determination of the study sample, the sub sample was determined. The study used a sample size of 70 primary schools basing on the Krejcie and Morgan (1970) sample size. The procedure involved two stages, stage 1 was the determination of the study sample, while stage 2 was the determination of the sub sample. Cluster sampling was used in the selection of the sub sample. The clusters included Head teachers and teachers.  All Head teachers and 1 standard eight teacher of the target sample (70 schools) was interviewed.  The teachers sample was selected using simple random sampling technique, whereby 1 teacher per school preferably the class teacher was interviewed. Where there were more than 1 stream a simple random sampling technique was used. This gave the study 70 Head teachers and 70 teachers. Standard teachers were selected because they were the ones handling the KCPE candidates class and therefore were better placed to provide the required information.

Data for this study was collected using questionnaires, interviews and document analysis. The questionnaires were prepared for the Head teachers and teachers. The questionnaire contained both closed and opened-ended items. The questionnaires had the advantage of being cheap and easier to administer and results in data suitable for analysis as designed by the researcher.  Documents were examined for the management structures and school performance.

The questionnaire, posts considerable advantages in the administration of the instrument and ability to reach potentially large numbers of people simultaneously (Mugenda and Mugenda, 2003). Gay (1996) maintains that questionnaires give respondents freedom to express their views or opinion and also  make  suggestions.  The

questionnaires addressed issues of management styles, their influence on teachers’ performance in relationship to pupils’ performance in KCPE in primary schools in Nakuru Municipality.

This study will employ Spearman’s Rank correlation. The resulting coefficient is used to identify and test the strength of a relationship between two sets of data. It is often used as a statistical method to aid with either proving or disproving a hypothesis. The results will be tested against a pvalue of 0.05 level of significance


 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The study sought to compare the management styles of head teacher’s in public and private primary schools in Nakuru municipality. The findings indicate that the management styles practiced in most public schools (37 out of 51), was democratic leadership style as opposed to most private schools (12 out of 19 private schools) where the management styles used was autocratic leadership style. The findings further reveal that 7 out of 51 public schools used autocratic leadership style, 6 out of 51 public schools used situation leadership style and only 1 public school indicated use of laissez-faire leadership style. 6 out of 19 private schools indicated use of democratic leadership style, while 1 private school indicated usage of situation leadership style. The study sought to identify management styles of head teachers in public and private schools and the result is given in Table 1.

The findings in Table 1 revealed as follows; most of the respondents (40%) from public schools and 29% from private schools were in agreement that teachers and students be allowed to make their own decisions, 13% from public schools and 12% from private schools strongly disagreed, 19% from public schools and 6% from private schools disagreed, 17% from public schools and 41% from private schools strongly agreed, while 11% from public schools and 12% from private schools were neutral. The aspect of allowing teachers and students to make their own decisions is a feature of a participation leadership style. As shown in the findings, participation style of management was mainly common in the public schools than in private schools. Participation style of management allows school manager to delegate work to learners. The study also established that 45% from public schools and 0% from private schools indicated that they agreed that teachers are included in making major decisions, 26% from public schools and 6% from private schools were neutral, 23% from public schools and 12% from private schools strongly agreed, 8% from public schools and 41% from private schools disagreed, while 9% from public schools and 18% from private schools strongly disagreed. Inclusion of teachers in making major decisions is indication of the democratic leadership style. Majority of the respondents in public schools agreed that this was the situation in their respective schools as opposed to their counterparts in private schools.

Regarding whether head  teacher  requests  ideas  and  inputs from teachers on upcoming plans and project, 34% respondents from public schools and 6% from private schools agreed, 6% from public schools and 24% from private schools strongly disagreed, 9% from public schools and 35% from private schools were neutral, 9% from public schools and 29% from private schools disagreed, while 30% from public schools and 12% from private schools strongly agreed. This was practiced mainly in public schools, where 40 out of 70 teachers agreed to this fact.

The study findings in Table 2 revealed that majority of the respondents (54%) strongly agreed that the head teacher has the final say over decisions made within my group, 20% agreed, 14% were neutral, 7% disagreed, while 4% strongly disagreed.

 The finding regarding whether the Head teacher considers suggestions made by others in the group is as follows: 46% of the respondents agreed, 21% strongly agreed, 16% were neutral, whereas 11% strongly disagreed, while 6% disagreed. The finding also revealed that most of the respondents 46% strongly agreed that the Head teacher told staff members what to do, how to do it, and when to do, 37% agreed, 7% were neutral, whereas 7% disagreed, while 3% strongly disagreed. Results on management styles of head teachers in public and private schools showed that that most of the respondents (34%) strongly agreed that the Head Teacher sets an example by working hard himself or herself, 31%  agreed, 21% were neutral, 7% disagreed, while 6% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools believed that the Head Teacher sets an example by working hard himself or herself. This had a motivational aspect on teacher performance.

According to the study findings, most of the respondents (37%) strongly agreed that Teacher-Head Teacher conferences are dominated by the Head Teacher, 16% agreed, 16% were neutral, 13% disagreed, while 3% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools believed that Teacher-Head Teacher conferences are dominated by the Head Teacher. This had a negative effect on teacher performance and pointed towards head teachers being selfish and autocratic in nature.

It was further established that respondents (36%) agreed that Teacher-Head Teacher conferences are dominated by the Head Teacher, 31% strongly agreed, 24% were neutral, 9% disagreed, while 16% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools believed that Teacher-Head Teacher conferences are dominated by the Head Teacher. According to the study findings in Table 4, 29% of the respondents strongly agreed that the Head Teacher went out of his or her way to help teachers, 39% agreed, 23% were neutral, 4% disagreed, while 7% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools indicated that Head Teacher went out of his or her way to help teachers, it was further established that majority of the respondents (27%) agreed that the Head Teacher monitored everything teachers did, 31% strongly agreed, 24% were neutral, 9% disagreed, while 16% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools believed that the Head Teacher monitored everything teachers did. This had a negative effect on teacher performance and pointed towards head teachers being selfish and autocratic in nature. According to the study findings, 31% of the respondents strongly agreed that the morale of teachers was high due management style used by the Head Teacher, 33% agreed, 11% were neutral, 17% disagreed, while 7% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools do not believe that the Head Teacher ruled with an iron fist. 

The study findings revealed that 24% of the respondents strongly agreed that the morale of teachers was high due management style used by the Head Teacher, 34% agreed, 24% were neutral, 6% disagreed, while 11% strongly disagreed. The findings reveal that most teachers in both private schools and public schools do not believe that the Head Teacher ruled with an iron fist. Results showed that 20% of the respondents strongly agreed that the Head Teacher used constructive criticism, 33% agreed, 21% were neutral, 16% disagreed, while 10% strongly disagreed. The findings therefore showed that that most teachers in both private schools and public schools indicated the Head Teacher used constructive criticism.

The findings further show that 34% of the respondents strongly agreed that the Head Teacher looked out for the personal welfare of the staff, 37% agreed, 7% were neutral, 7% disagreed, while 13% strongly disagreed. The findings therefore, showed that that most teachers in both private schools and public schools indicated that the Head Teacher looked out for the personal welfare of the staff. This implied that head teachers both in public and private schools, practiced democratic leadership style which recognizes and appreciates the concept of employee welfare. The average mean scores for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 were computed and converted into percentages as presented in Figure 1

According to the findings in Figure 1, the average percentage of the school mean scores for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 recorded as follows: above 300 marks (33% for private primary schools and  20% for public primary schools); 281-300 marks (3% for private primary schools and  5% for public primary schools); 261 to 280 marks (15% for private primary schools and  15% for public primary schools); 241 to 260 marks (14% for private primary schools and  13% for public primary schools); 221 to 240 marks (20% for private primary schools and  24% for public primary schools);  201  to   220  marks  (14%  for  private  primary

schools and  15% for public primary schools); 181 to 200 marks (0% for private primary schools and  5% for public primary schools); whereas 161 to 180 marks (0% for private primary schools and  3% for public primary schools); while 141 to 160 marks (0% for private primary schools and  1% for public primary schools). This implied that private primary schools in Nakuru Municipality performed better than public primary schools as shown by the percentage of schools with marks above 300. The reason for this is mainly due to the different management styles adopted by the two types of schools.

A further interrogation of Figure 1 indicated that the private schools had a standard deviation of 11.32 as compared to a standard deviation of 8.07 in the public schools category. This is quite a significant result indicating that the private schools have higher sample variance  (128.25)  in  performance   as   compared   with Public schools (65.19). The respondents were asked to indicate whether current students’ performance could be attributed to the Head teacher's leadership style and the result is given in Table 3.

According to the findings in Table 3, 27% of the respondents strongly agree that the current students’ performance can be attributed to the head teacher's leadership style, 27% agree, 26% were neutral, whereas 10% disagreed, while 10% strongly agreed. The trends in the tables show that Head teacher's leadership style had an influence on student performance in both private schools and public schools.  A Spearman rank correlation was computed to find if there was any association between school type and student performance (school mean mark in the year 2010) given the different management styles used and the result is given in Table 4.  Spearman  rank  correlation  was  appropriate  for  this

study because the main data (leaders’ and teachers response) is on the ordinate level, and a non parametric test, was appropriate for use.

According to Table 7, there was a positive Spearman Rank correlation of r(70)= 0.485) p>0.05 between school type and student performance. This means that there was relationship between school type and student performance. This implied that due to different management styles adopted between private schools (mainly autocratic leadership style) and public schools (mainly democratic or participatory leadership style), student performance was influenced by the school type. This is evidenced by the fact that results show private schools perform better than public schools, thus, autocratic leadership styles in the private schools ceteris paribus yield better performance in schools.

According to Table 5, there was a positive Spearman Rank correlation of r(70)= 0.516) p>0.05 between school type and student performance. This meant that due to different management styles adopted between private schools (mainly autocratic leadership style) and public schools (mainly democratic or participatory leadership style), student performance was influenced by the school type.

The factors emanating from teachers’ responses that were examined included: Leadership - Head teacher (good administration), team working spirit, good monitoring of the classes, teacher motivation levels, rewarding to top achievers,  adequate  reading  materials, parental factors (attitude and behaviours), school finance, syllabus coverage, socio economic status of parents; these were correlated with school mean mark in the year 2010.

The findings in Table 6 revealed that there was a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the years in 2010 and team working spirit at r(62)=0.078) p>0.05; and a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the year 2010 and adequate reading materials at r(62)= 0.094) p>0.05. Although the two correlations were not significant.  This implied that team working spirit and adequacy of reading materials influenced student performance significantly. 

The study also established a negative Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the year 2010 and good monitoring of the classes at r(62)= -0.083) p>0.05; a negative Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the year 2010 and socio economic status of parents at r(62)= -0.184) p>0.05; and a negative Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the year 2010 and teacher motivation levels. This implied that good monitoring of the classes, socio economic status of parents and teacher motivation levels though cited as factors influencing student performance; they did not have a significant influence.

The findings in Table 7, revealed that there was a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the year 2010 and rewarding to top achievers at r(62) =  0.174)  p>0.05;  and  a  positive  Spearman   rank

correlation between school mean mark in the year  2010 and syllabus coverage at r(62)= 0.094) p>0.05; a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the year  2010 and school finance at r(62)= 0.174) p>0.05; and a positive Spearman rank correlation between school mean mark in the years in 2010 and leadership - head teacher (good administration) at r(62)= 0.174) p>0.05. Although the correlations were not significant in this relationship. This implied that rewarding to top achievers syllabus coverage, school finance, leadership - head teacher (good administration), had influenced student performance significantly.

The findings regarding the remedies to enhance pupils’ performance in KCPE through effective head teacher’s management styles in schools showed remedial classes (25% of the respondents from public schools and 12% of those from private primary schools); maintenance of high discipline (40% of the respondents from public schools and 12% of those from private primary schools); provision of learning and teaching materials (23% of the respondents from public schools and 12% of those from private primary schools); adequate feeding program (17% of the respondents from public schools and 24% of those from private primary schools); pupils' school attendance (15% of the respondents from public schools and 41% of those from private primary schools); motivation to pupils (19% of the respondents from public schools and 59% of those from private primary schools); ensure learning takes place (26% of the respondents from public schools and 12% of those from private primary schools); guidance and counseling (11% of the respondents from public schools and 0% of those from private primary schools); tuition to pupils (30% of the respondents from public schools and 59% of those from private primary schools); encouraging pupils and teachers to work hard (23% of the respondents from public schools and 47% of those from private primary schools); teacher motivation (8% of the respondents from public schools and 18% of those from private primary schools); teacher empower-ment (36% of the respondents from public schools and 53% of those from private primary schools); while employ more teachers recorded 36% of the respondents from public schools and 53% of those from private primary schools.


 CONCLUSION

The interpretation here was that the suggestions indicated the  existence  of  a   problem   in   the   suggested   area:  

a suggestion to maintain high discipline meant that there are indiscipline cases, which were affecting students’ performance. The results also point to inadequate teaching and learning materials, which can have adverse effects on pupils’ performance in KCPE if not well checked. The suggestions also raise the need to employ more teachers, especially in the public schools, implying that there is teacher shortage, which if not addressed could affect the pupils’ performance in KCPE.


 RECOMMENDATIONS

Following the findings, the study recommends the following:

1. The government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Education consider reviewing its policy and putting structures in place to ensure that public primary school head teachers adopt participatory management styles so as to enhance students’ performance in KCPE. This will enable all key stakeholders to participate in the decision making for the  whole  school  development,  therefore  an improvement from the current practice.

2. The school head teacher should adopt blend or mix of leadership styles for instance transformational leadership as situations dictate. They should avoid the traditional habit of sticking to one approach of leadership style

3. The Municipal Education Offices should organize Head teacher exchange forums between the public and private primary schools geared at promoting sharing of leadership approaches and intra-school mitigative strategies for leadership challenges that impede student performance.

4. The Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Education should organize update trainings and sensitization activities for teachers through its established structures, with an aim of promoting positive attitude towards school administration and sensitization on work appreciation.


 CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors have not declared any conflict of interests



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