SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS’ PERCEPTIONS ON SELECTED FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THEIR MORALE AND COMMITMENT TO WORK: A CASE OF NAKURU DISTRICT

ABSTRACT
The importance of human resource in any organisation is critical especially in the teaching profession where teachers are only second in importance to students. The quality of any education system depends on quality of teachers whose morale and commitment must be kept high. Teachers just like other workers in any organisation perceive certain factors as important in influencing their morale and commitment to work. Teachers’ commitment to work will determine the output or outcome which is the quality of the learners produced by the educational system. The degree of commitment of the teacher, to his/her work is influenced by the level of teacher’s morale. This study therefore investigated teachers’ perceptions on selected factors that influenced their morale and commitment to work in public secondary schools. The target population consisted of 1711 teachers in public secondary schools in Nakuru District. A sample of 172 teachers was randomly selected for the study. The research design adopted in this study was descriptive survey. Teachers’ questionnaires and headteachers’ interview schedule were used to collect information on the respondents’ perceptions on selected factors that influenced their morale and commitment to work. The instruments were based on a 5 point Likert scale. The reliability coefficient was computed using Cronbach alpha and stood at 0.86. This was deemed adequate for the study. The data was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively using means, standard deviations, percentiles and Pearson Moments Correlation. Pearson Moments Correlation was used to establish whether there was a significant relationship between teachers’ characteristics and their perceptions on selected factors that influenced their morale and commitment to work. The study established that teachers perceived remuneration, opportunity for further training, responsibility, social status, a sense of belonging and job security among others as impacting on their morale and commitment to work. The study established that there was no significant relationship between teachers’ characteristics and perceptions on the selected factors that influenced their morale and commitment to work. The study also found out that there was no significant relationship between teachers’ gender, age, experience and commitment to work. However, there was a statistically significant relationship between teachers’ professional qualifications and their commitment to work. In all cases alpha coefficient was equal to 0.05. The results of this study will provide a basis for informed decisions to stakeholders in education such as Ministry of Education, Teachers’ Service Commission, curriculum developers, trade unions and teachers in general, on issues pertaining to teachers’ perceptions on certain morale factors and commitment to their work.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Responsibilities and expectations placed on teachers by the society have tremendously increased. Their role not only encompasses classroom teaching, guidance and counseling but also acting as role models (Linda, 1998). The National Committee on Educational Objectives and Policies [NCEOP] (1976) for example, recommended that all teachers should be trained in guidance and counseling work and that they should be required to do it as one of their normal duties. Thus the teachers’ roles here are officially expanded to include counseling duties. The teacher is expected to meet these obligations without complaining or asking for extra compensation. These observations are shared by Coladarci (1992) who posits that excessive non-teaching responsibilities, large classes, lack of job autonomy and insufficient administrative support contribute to low morale of teachers. Teachers perceive these factors as important in boosting their morale and commitment to work. Teaching is a challenging occupation whereby teachers strive hard in order to meet learning goals and this in relation to pay make teachers feel demotivated (Bennell, 2004 ; Evans, (1998 ).

Many teachers face the constant frustration of knowing that they are giving their professional best efforts yet they do not receive adequate compensation, a fact Mwai (2000); Krieger,(2005); Natale (1993) noted was particularly demoralizing to graduate teachers. This cadre of teachers felt that their pay, working conditions administrative support, involvement in decision making among other factors were inadequate compared to their counterparts in other professions, thus, resulting to the teaching profession suffering great attrition. He further observed that over 80% of Agriculture teachers in Machakos had less than ten (10) years of experience and had an average age of thirty years, implying that those who were teaching were mainly young and lacking in experience. Mwangi (2000) also observed the same trend in Nakuru District whereby only 11% of the teachers had more than ten (10) years of working experience. This further complicates the issue of the quality of the work force whereby those left behind become overburdened by high workload, larger class sizes and more lessons.

Evans (1998) and Mwai (2000) observed that teachers perceived pay as an important determinant of their morale and commitment to work thus justifying Kenyans teachers going on strike several times to demand for higher pay as reported by Namwamba (1998); Ochieng (2002) and Otieno (2009). These writers noted that the image of teachers was greatly damaged during these strikes. In demanding for an increase in their pay and improvement of terms of service, teachers were accused of using pupils as pawns and bait in their bid to force the government to implement the 150-200% salary increments awarded in 1997. This was viewed as having eroded public sympathy and respect not only for the teacher but also for the teaching profession. In this case, the role of the teacher seemed to have been misunderstood and undervalued both by the public and the government. The government’s declaration of free primary and secondary education is a further manifestation of the centrality of formal schooling in Kenya’s quest for its human and economic development. This declaration has opened the floodgates to over-enrollment leading to very large class sizes. This has further led to the increase of the teachers’ responsibilities and expectations. In addition to all these, teachers are being expected to deal with broader social problems that find their way into the classroom, such as family problems, drug abuse, truancy, teenage pregnancies and absenteeism (Linda, 1998). Despite this, the society is not ready now as it was not even earlier to pay or recompense the teacher proportionately to his/her usefulness (Castle, 1970). This is further evidenced by the government’s reluctance to pay teachers higher salaries like their counterparts in the civil service. The government only agreed to harmonise their salaries after a ten days strike and this was to be done over a three year period. (East African Standard Team, October 5th, 1998; www.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/ site visited on 28/01/2009).

Linda, (1998) and Mwai, (2000) observed that teachers are hardly compensated for their extra efforts to cater for inadequate books and supplies, large classes, disruptive students, public criticism, limited assistance and increased duties. Instead they have to contend with lowest salaries paid to them despite being among the highly educated personnel in the nation. The welfare of the teacher is second in importance only to the welfare of the child yet it is not always fully addressed. Teachers are the most important resource in the school and quality of the school depends on the teacher professionalism and commitment (Kusereka, 2003). The government of Kenya concurs with this observation and contends that the professional growth of teachers must be ensured to enhance quality at all levels of educational programs (Republic of Kenya, 2004). However, teachers are often treated like subordinates not as professionals who offer essential service to the society (Sadker & Sadker, 1994). The writers continue to argue that teaching being such a difficult and demanding job and with the current increased responsibilities vested on teachers, it is very easy for teachers to be discouraged and demoralised. Sergiovanni as cited in Yong (1999) argued that teacher motivation and work commitment are the most important factors that affect school effectiveness therefore there is need for their enhancement them. Motivated teachers are more likely to motivate students to be participative in the classroom and consequently, to perform better.

The advocate of work motivation theorist Herzberg (1959) advanced that there are two sets of factors that influence job satisfaction these are hygiene and motivator factors. He continued to argue that workers are primarily motivated by intrinsic, job-content or psychological factors such as: achievements, recognition, work itself, responsibility and advancement. Maslow referred to them as higher level needs and their presence increase motivation but their absence does not necessarily result in job dissatisfaction. On the other hand there are the hygiene or maintenance factors, which decrease dissatisfaction when presented to an individual at an acceptable degree (Owen, 1998; Okumbe, 1999). These include the following: supervision, working condition, interpersonal relationships, pay, job security, company policy and administration. Mwai (2000) observed that Agriculture teachers in Machakos district identified six factors that affected their morale in order of importance as pay, job security, teaching facilities, students’ interest in learning, promotion and administrative support. The absence of these factors or their inadequacy Mwai concluded, contributed to low teacher motivation and consequently premature turnover.

Teachers perceive certain factors as important enhancers to their morale and work commitment. The most frequently reported reason for leaving the profession was low salary and working conditions (Chan, 2006). Moreover, quality of teaching is not only governed by qualification and skill and knowledge of teachers but also by their perceptions towards these factors. Level of morale and commitment of teachers to their duties is reported to be one of the most important aspects of performance and quality of any educational system (Day, 2004). He continues to argue that morale and commitment are closely related to job satisfaction.

The above observations are shared by other writers who argue that teachers’ low status in society make them lowly motivated (Ezewu, 1992; Shiundu & Omulando, 1992). Mwai and Mwangi (2002) point out that morale is responsible for teachers’ efficiency and effectiveness in ensuring students performance. They continue to argue that teaching and learning are exciting if teachers are highly motivated. Many factors in the job and work environment may either increase or decrease teachers’ motivation. Therefore the way they perceive the impact of such factors may influence their morale and commitment to their work. Therefore efforts should be made to ensure that their morale is kept high in order for them to keep working at their best. (http://marytroubleblogspot.com2009/02.retrived on 13/02/2011).

Statement of the problem
Motivated teachers are more likely to meet the institutional goals and objectives since they are willing to exert their effort to achieve them. In order to boost academic excellence in our secondary schools, perceptions of teachers’ on selected factors that enhance their motivation hence commitment to work must be established. Studies have been carried out in Kenya on teachers’ perceptions on the relationship between their feelings of professional competence and degree of morale. However, no systematic study has been carried out to determine the perceptions of teachers on factors they may perceive as important in influencing their morale and commitment to work. Such a study would be beneficial to the Kenya Government and the educational system as a whole, because it would help putting mechanisms into place to help teachers perform better. This study intended therefore, at investigating teachers’ perceptions on selected extrinsic factors such as amount of pay, administrative support, students’ interest and behavior and teaching facilities. The study also examined teachers’ perceptions on intrinsic factors such as work itself, job security, promotion, responsibility, decision making and opportunity for further training and how these influence their morale and commitment to work.

Purpose of the Study
This study was intended to establish secondary school teachers’ perceptions on selected factors that influenced their morale and commitment to their work in order to improve their job satisfaction.

Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study were the following:

i) To determine public secondary school teachers’ perceptions on selected intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence their morale and commitment to work in Nakuru District.

ii) To establish whether there was a significant relationship between public secondary school teachers’ characteristics and their commitment to work in Nakuru district.

iii) To establish whether there was a relationship between public secondary school teachers’ characteristics and their perceptions on factors that influenced their morale in Nakuru District.

iv) To establish whether there was relationship between public secondary school teachers’ perceptions on factors that influenced their morale and their commitment to work in Nakuru District.

To achieve the above objectives the following research question and research hypotheses were investigated.

Research Question
i) What are the teachers’ perceptions on selected intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influenced their morale and commitment to work?

Research Hypotheses
i) Ho1. There is no statistically significant relationship between teachers’ characteristics and their work commitment.

ii) Ho2 There is no statistically significant relationship between teachers’ characteristics and their perceptions on factors that influenced their morale in public secondary schools.

iii) Ho3 There is no statistically significant relationship between teachers’ perceptions on factors that influenced their morale and their commitment to work.

Significance of the Study
The level of morale is key to effective teaching. This study is therefore important because efforts made by the government to boost teachers’ morale and improve their commitment to work and hence students’ performance has not produced to some degree the desired results. Since this study would be based on empirical data, its findings may provide a basis for informed decisions by stakeholders in education such as the Ministry of Education, Teachers’ Service Commission, Kenya Union of Teachers and the teachers themselves. This study was likely therefore to be invaluable in providing suggestions of effective ways of improving teachers’ morale and in turn, their commitment to work.

Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in Nakuru District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. It focused on the public secondary schools teachers’ perceptions on selected factors that influenced their morale and commitment to work.

Assumptions of the Study
It was assumed that the respondents gave their frank feelings to the questions posed to them. The researcher assumed that environmental factors such as locality of the school, category and size of the school, and type of the learners had no significant influence on teachers’ perception on factors influencing their morale and commitment to work.

Limitations of the Study
This study was limited to secondary school teachers in public schools in Nakuru District. Other teachers in private schools were not included in the study. It aimed at establishing teachers’ perceptions on only selected factors; there may be other factors that influence morale and commitment to work. This implies that the results of this study can only be generalized with caution to the rest of the teaching force in the country

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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