The schools have been under pressure because of poor management and planning and are now faced with serious consequences of low staff morale, poor academic performance and pupils falling rolls. The parents from Soin Division attribute this low work output to head teachers‟ and teachers‟ laxity in performing school activities and responsibilities well. The purpose of this study was to find out whether head teachers‟ leadership styles have influence on teacher career commitment in public primary school in Soin Division, Kericho County. This study employed a descriptive survey design. The researcher targeted 306 teachers and 44 head teachers in the Division, giving a target population of 350. In selecting the number of schools to be involved in the study, the guidelines given by Kathuri and Pals was used. According to these guidelines, 48 respondents were selected from a population of 55. Using the same guidelines, the number of the respondents were equivalent to 39 head teachers and 266 teachers which translate to 305 respondents. The main tool of data collection for this study were the questionnaires, which were administered to head teachers and teachers by the researcher during the study. A coefficient correlation of the two tests was calculated using Cronbach‟s Alpha. A reliability coefficient of 0.7685was found to be reliable for the study. The research data was analyzed using descriptive. Teacher‟s career commitment can lead to children good academic performance, retention of teachers and pupils, staffing and high of teachers‟ motivation. Policy makers in education may tap from the knowledge derived from this research. Based on the findings, the study concluded that head teachers‟ transformational leadership style positively influenced teacher career commitment. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education need to seek ways to improve career commitment of teachers by improving their working conditions and giving them more opportunities for training. One way of doing this is to encourage teachers to join professional associations and other forums that would enable them solve career-related problems. It is hoped that the findings of the study will equip administrators with knowledge to influence the retention rate of teachers to the benefit of the students, the teachers, and the school system.

Background of the study
There is great interest in educational leadership in the early part of the twenty-first century. This is because of the widespread belief that the quality of leadership makes a significant difference to school and student outcomes. In many parts of the world, including both developed and developing countries, there is increasing recognition that schools require effective leaders and managers if they are to provide the best possible education for their students and learners. More governments are realising that their main assets are their people and that remaining, or becoming, competitive depends increasingly on the development of a highly skilled workforce. This requires trained and committed teachers but they, in turn, need the leadership of highly effective principals with the support of other senior and middle managers.

The case for specific preparation for school leaders is linked to the evidence that high quality leadership is vital for school improvement and student outcomes. Leithwood et al. (2006) show that “school leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an influence on pupil learning”. Leadership explains about five to seven per cent of the difference in pupil learning and achievement across schools, about one quarter of the total difference across schools. These authors also note that there would be a 10% increase in pupil test scores arising from an average headteacher improving their demonstrated abilities across 21 leadership responsibilities. They conclude that: “There is not a single documented case of a school successfully turning around its pupil achievement trajectory in the absence of talented leadership” (Leithwood et al. 2006). While the argument that leadership does make a difference is increasingly accepted, there is ongoing debate about what preparation is required to develop appropriate leadership behaviours. This relates to conceptions of the principal‟s role. In many countries, school leaders begin their professional careers as teachers and progress to headship via a range of leadership tasks and roles, often described as “middle management”.

In many cases, principals continue to teach following their appointment, particularly in small primary schools. This leads to a widespread view that teaching is their main activity (Roeder and Schkutek 2003).

This focus on principals as head teachers underpins the view that a teaching qualification and teaching experience are the only necessary requirements for school leadership, although that may be modified in twenty-first-century England where the extended schools movement means that differently qualified professionals may be appointed as principals. Bush and Oduro (2006, 362) note that: throughout Africa, there is no formal requirement for principals to be trained as school managers. They are often appointed on the basis of a successful record as teachers with the implicit assumption that this provides a sufficient starting point for school leadership. The picture is similar in many European countries, including Belarus, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, the Netherlands, and Portugal (Watson 2003). In the twenty-first century, there is a growing realisation that headship is a specialised occupation that requires specific preparation.

The pressures facing leaders in developing countries are very different and even more onerous than those in the world‟s richest nations, factors that need to be taken into account in planning leadership development programmes. In many countries in Africa, principals manage schools with poor buildings, little or no equipment, untrained teachers, lack of basic facilities such as water, power and sanitation, and learners who are often hungry (Bush and Oduro 2006) . Watson (2003b, 6) adds that devolution produces increasing complexity in the role of the head of the school and heightened tensions for principals.

The pressures facing leaders in developing countries are particularly acute, including serious poverty and killer diseases, poor infrastructure and limited human and material resources. These contextual problems exert enormous pressure on school principals who are often “overwhelmed by the task” (Commonwealth Secretariat 1996).

In many countries, Kenya included, leadership preparation is no longer an optional activity. Rather, new principals require certification to practise, so that teachers, parents, school communities and governments can be satisfied that their schools will be led by qualified people.

Specific studies within a developing country context are beginning to blossom within the research canon. Oplatka (2004), in an incisive review of twenty-seven papers written in this area over the last decade, has suggested that some common themes have emerged. These have coalesced around issues related to „limited autonomy, autocratic leadership style, summative evaluation, low degree of change initiation, and lack of instructional leadership functions. For many school leaders in these studies, basic physical and human resource requirements need to be satisfied prior to any attempt on behalf of the principal to promote quality teaching in his school. As the writer suggests, these are issues far removed from the day-to-day concerns of school leaders working within an Anglo-American context, where there is a greater emphasis on „distributed leadership‟ (Bush & Glover, 2003) and a more proactive approach to school management.

The detailed study of school leaders within Trinidd & Tobago (Brown & Conrad, 2007) indicates a thoughtful avenue for future research exploration. This study examined “principals and other senior educational leaders‟ perspectives on school leadership and highlights approaches adopted by principals as they attempted to effectively meet the learning needs of students in a system characterized by an overly centralized bureaucracy in a time of continuous educational reform”.

As such, it reflects the realities of school leadership for many within a developing country context (Oplatka, 2004). Located within a relatively small Caribbean educational system, the study found that „the principals remained locked in a constricting bureaucracy even as [there was] demand that they be proactive and decisive in the leadership of their schools‟ (Brown & Conrad, 2007). In summary, these principals were working with different role expectations compared to colleagues within the United States or Britain where, for example, there was an expectation that school leaders would behave proactively is their attempts to meet the demands of the education system.

In Trinidad & Tobago, in contrast, „the system is prescriptive, and thus principals are expected to follow the directives as mandated by the Ministry of Education‟.

This educational system is common in many primary schools in Kenya, studies such as that by barrow et‟ al (2006) which looks at ways in which educators construct notions of “quality” are few and far between in this context. Similarly focused research that looks at ways in which schools leaders see their role is also sparse.

Kenya has a trained teaching force of 260,000 teachers serving n 25,000 public primary schools and 45,000 post primary institutions. There are form IV graduates who hold primary teacher 2 , primary teacher 1, diploma certificates of two to three years of pre-service training and degree holders with majority teachers at secondary and post secondary institutions (Sogomo 2005).

Sogomo asserts that headteachers ensure efficiency in academic performance and proper utilization of teachers under them, effective curriculum and prudent use of resources. Headteachers must embrace a result oriented management to achieve the desired educational goals and target.

According to Sogomo (2003), the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has an institutionalized education management information system which aims at keeping upto date data on teachers. This enhances teacher deployment and assist in tracking down teacher movement. Kenya is committed to upholding the rights of the teachers which is a contributory factor to teacher motivation. These rights include; the right to be members of trade unions, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), whose mandate is to ensure the rights of teachers‟ are upheld at all times (KNUT, 2013).

According to KNUT, TSC faces challenges which include. High expenditure in teacher – pupils ratios in rural areas like Soin Division, equipping teachers with skills on how to teCh but not to give instructions. The additional increments of 1.5 milllion pupils at the primary school level due the Free Primary Education has increased teachers workload. This threatens the provision of quality education (Sogomo, 2003).

The Ministry of Education science and Technology due to inadequate resources has not put in place comprehensive teacher in servicing program to prepare teachers to cope with the changes and emerging challenges in teaching (DEO, 20013).

He asserts that promotion of teachers is based on classroom teaching but is not matched with additional academic advancement. For example, teachers with masters degree are not recognized by TSC. To address the challenges, the government is reforming teacher education and the key reforms include the upgrading entry requirements, to preservice primary teacher raining from a minimum of D+ to C with credit in mathematics and science (Chapman, 2004).

There is clearly a need to develop a research agenda which aids in understanding the ways in which policy ideas are enacted within the context of the schools in disadvantaged areas of Kericho County especially in Soin Division. Headteachers need to be empowered to provide the requisite leadership for implementation of quality education initiatives.

Statement of the problem
The problem addressed by this study is that of low levels of teachers‟ career commitment among primary school teachers in Soin Division. The schools have been under pressure because of poor management and planning and are now faced with serious consequences of low staff morale, poor academic performance and pupils falling rolls. Little consideration has been given to developing services which would increase teachers‟ work commitment, interest, motivation and self-fulfillment and make them feel secure and confident about themselves as professionals. This has led to teachers‟ laxity in performing their professional duties in their respective schools. They do report for duties late and leave earlier. On 25/02/2014, the District Quality Educational Assurance panel asserted during divisional head teachers meeting that teachers do not prepare their professional records and reports for duty late. This has led to transfer of 26 teachers, 6 head teachers and interdiction of 6 teachers (DEO, 2014). The head teachers are totally blamed on this. The fact that career commitment is important for the realization of school goals, it has remained to be untapped by researchers.

Therefore, it is important to identify whether Headteachers‟ leadership styles influence teachers‟ career commitment in public primary schools in Soin Division, Kericho County.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out whether headteachers leadership styles influences teachers career commitment in public primary schools in Soin Division, Kericho County.

Objectives of the study
This study was guided by the following objectives:

i. To determine the leadership styles practiced by primary school head teachers in Soin Division, Kericho County.

ii. To find out the level of teacher career commitment of public primary school in Soin division.

iii. To establish the influence of head teachers leadership styles on primary school teachers‟ career commitment in Soin Division.

Research questions
i. How does a leadership style influence career commitment in primary school in Soin Division, Kericho County?

ii. What is the level of career commitment among primary school teachers in Soin Division Kericho County?

iii. Which leadership styles influence of leadership style on teachers‟ career commitment in public primary schools in Soin Division, Kericho County?

Significance of the study
This study may be useful to headteachers who will be equipped with knowledge on how to enhance career commitment of teachers. Headteacher may re-examine and appraise their own leadership style and hence make adjustment where necessary.

The County Director, TSC may use the information in determining strategies of enhancing teacher career commitment among primary school teachers. By making and enforce policies and terms of service which are human, friendly and satisfying to teachers.

Kenya Educational Management Institute (KEMI) may use the findings of this study to identify intervention measures to undertake in preparing management courses for school administrators with the view of enhancing the teacher career commitment. They might use these findings as reference point in identifying areas for further training of school managers. The outcome of the study might also help stakeholders in the education sector such as parents, the surrounding communities among others; understand the effects of leadership styles on teacher career commitment among public primary schools in Soin Division, Kericho County. The study findings may also influence further research by other students and scholars who may be interested in the field of leadership styles and teachers‟ career commitment.

Scope of the study.
The study only dealt with public primary schools in Soin Divison. The private schools were not studied because they operate on different management structures. As a result, the findings of the study were to generalize the whole county. Both male and female gender was put into consideration. The study also focused on the head teachers‟ leadership styles on teachers‟ career commitment in Soin division.

Limitations of the Study
The study only dealt with public primary schools in Soin Division. The private primary schools were not included because they operate on different management structures. As a results of the findings of the study were to generalize the whole country.

Assumptions of the Study
The study had the following assumptions

i. That the participants were able to cooperate with the researcher and provide honest and reliable information from their experiences.

ii. Those adequate instructional materials were provided to enhance performance.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 56 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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