INFLUENCE OF SCHOOL RESPONSIBILITIES ON PREFECTS’ ACADEMIC WORK PERFORMANCE IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NAKURU SUB-COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Prefects are student leaders elected or appointed and assigned administrative duties in schools. Besides their school responsibilities, prefects are expected to perform well and attain good grades in class tests and national examinations like other students. According to reports in Nakuru District Education Office, students in public secondary school decline academically when they take up prefects’ responsibilities. Several factors have been put forward that include influence of newly acquired school responsibilities. This study sought to investigate the influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-County, Kenya. The study used descriptive survey research design. The population of study consisted of 25 deputy headteachers, 135 class teachers and 450 school prefects in 25 public secondary schools. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 15 secondary schools and deputy headteachers that participated in the study. A sample of 45 class teachers and 150 school prefects were selected using simple random sampling technique. Three instruments; the Deputy Headteachers’ interview guide (DHTIG), Class teachers’ questionnaires (CTQ) and Prefects’ questionnaires (PQ) were used to collect data. The three data collection tools were checked for content and validity by a team of four experts from the Department Curriculum Instruction and Educational Management, Egerton University. DHTIG, CTQ and PQ were piloted for reliability, their reliability coefficients were 0.70, 0.71 and 0.73 respectively. The reliability was estimated using the Cronbach’s Alpha. Data was analyzed with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.2. Descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA and Post-Hoc tests were used to analyze data. The study established that; Majority of the prefects (79.4 %), class teachers (63.8%) and deputy headteachers (78.6%) were of the view that prefects performed their school responsibilities well. The results also showed that there was no significant difference in mean scores of students’ academic work performance before and after appointment as prefects. The results further revealed that there was a significant difference on prefects’ academic mean scores by school responsibilities performance category. The study is also expected to; assist prefects improve their academic performance by striking a balance between their responsibilities and academics; to inform the policy makers in the Ministry of Education and secondary schools administration on how to improve academic work performance of school prefects.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Education is a fundamental human right, a key to sustainable development, peace and stability within and among countries (Wolfenson, 2000). It ensures an individual a productive future, helps in making decisions and bolsters confidence. Education also provides a ladder for achieving success in life and enables one to utilize skills and caliber in a constructive way. Education is a welfare indicator, a key determinant of earnings, an important exit route from poverty and can reduce social and economic inequality (Government of Kenya [GOK], 2005). The role of education is not just to impart knowledge and skills that enable the beneficiaries to function as economies and social change agents in society, but also to impart values, ideas, attitudes and aspirations important for natural development (Nsubuga, 2003). According to Boit, Njoki and Chang’ach (2012), the purpose of education is to equip the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality.

An educational system in any country is established as a result of the determination of the broader aims of education which are in line with the aspirations of the country (Okumbe, 1999). National goals of education in Kenya are; foster nationalism, patriotism and promote national unity; promote socio-economic, technological and industrial needs for national development; promote individual development and self- fulfillment; promote sound moral and religious values; promote social equality and responsibility; promote respect for and development of Kenya’s rich and diverse cultures; promote international consciousness and foster positive attitudes towards other nations; and promote positive attitudes towards good health and environmental protection (Kenya Education Management Institute [KEMI],2014).

Structure of education system varies from one country to the other. The structure of the formal education and training system in Tanzania is 2 – 7 – 4 – 2 - 3+, that is; 2 years of pre- primary education (year 1 and 2); 7 years of primary education (Standard I-VII); 4 years of secondary ordinary level education (Form 1- 4); 2 years of secondary advanced level education (Form 5 and 6) and 3 or more years of university education (The United Republic of Tanzania, 2010). In Uganda, there is a two year pre-primary stage of education. The structure of education system is a four- tier model, 7-4-2-4. It consists of 7 years of primary education, 4 years of lower secondary, 2 years of upper secondary and 4 or more years of university education ( Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality [SACMEQ], 2011). In Kenya, structure of education system is the 8-4-4. This system constitutes 8 years of primary schooling followed by 4 years of secondary schooling and a minimum of 4 years of first degree studies at university excluding the pre-school years (Wanjohi, 2011).

Secondary education is regarded as the most important stage in the educational cycle of a child in Kenya. It is the level at which learners are expected to acquire proficiency in both academic and applied subjects. Secondary school education is important because it is the foundation for further education, training and work (Koech, 2006). It is expected to provide for an all round mental, social, moral and spiritual development and ensure balanced development in cognitive, psycho-motor and affective skills of students. Secondary education is expected to lead to the acquisition of positive attitudes, self-respect, self-reliance, cooperation, adaptability, sense of purpose, integrity and self-discipline, respect and consideration for others, service to family, society and nation (Bogonko, 1994).

In secondary schools, students are also evaluated throughout the course with continuous assessment to determine the progress each student is making (United Nations Educational, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 2006). At the end of the fourth year of secondary education, students sit for an examination administered by the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) leading to the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE). This examination is used for certification purposes and selection of students for universities courses or training in post-secondary institutions (GOK, 2005). The examination thus ushers students to higher education training or direct entry into the world of work. In addition to the academic certificate, the school awards each student a leaving certificate reflecting observed abilities and character development (UNESCO, 2006).

In Kenya, secondary schools are categorized as; public schools which are established, owned or operated by the Government and include sponsored schools; and private schools as those established, owned or operated by private individuals, entrepreneurs and institutions. Secondary schools are managed by Boards of Management (BOMs) (Republic of Kenya [ROK], 2013). According to Wango (2009), Secondary schools in Kenya are managed by the Board of Governors (BOGs) now BOMs and the school administration which consists of the principal and his/her deputy. The BOM is in charge of decision-making and policy making whereas the school administration assisted by the senior teachers, head of departments (HODs) and the prefects carry out the day-to-day administrative tasks. The school administration interprets and implements policies made by BOM in addition to undertaking routine and advisory work. Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) also plays a major role in the management of secondary school by raising funds to construct physical facilities and to purchase the required instructional equipment and materials.

In secondary schools, prefects are student leaders who are elected or appointed and assigned specific duties and responsibilities by the school administration. Prefects play an important role in the day to day running and maintaining of students’ discipline in secondary schools. In many British and Commonwealth schools, prefects have considerable power and effectively run the school outside the classroom. The roles and responsibilities of prefects are to: assist in maintaining acceptable behaviors standards, discipline and order among students in the school (Berger, 2002; Griffin, 1994; Otieno, 2010). Prefects’ responsibilities in Kenyan schools include; giving directions, management of daily routine, presenting students’ issues for attention and action as well as enforcing school rules and regulations. The responsibilities and duties for position of school captain, deputy school captain, games prefect, dining hall prefect, library prefect, compound prefect, dormitory prefect, entertainment prefect and class prefect are clearly defined (Otieno, 2010). A study conducted by Muli (2012) revealed that the role of prefects in school administration in Kenya and other parts of the world is increasingly becoming more complex because of the changes in technology, society, culture, emerging issues such as HIV and AIDS, STIs and drug abuse.

Several researches conducted in Kenya show that students’ academic achievement is influenced by several factors (Chepchieng & Kiboss, 2004; Gichuru, 2005). Such factors include; intelligence of students, anxiety level, motivation, discipline, vocational goals, home environment, learning facilities in schools, teachers’ qualifications and nature of tests. Achievement in tests and examinations is also affected by the extent to which a student has covered the topics that are being examined, attends all classes, actively participates in class, completes assignment on time, amount of teaching and academic emphasis, teacher expectation and characteristics of school climate (Muriithi,2007). Whereas these factors have been recognized as possible contributions to the variation in academic achievement, very little has been done on the influence of prefects’ responsibilities on their academic work. This study therefore sought to establish the influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance.

Prefects like other students are expected to attain good grades in class tests and nat According to reports in Nakuru District Education Office, students in public secondary school decline academically when they take up prefects’ responsibilities. ional examinations besides their responsibilities as prefects. The KCSE results of 2008, 2009 and 2010 of 82% of public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-County, reveal that less than 50% of prefects attained grade C+ which is the minimum requirement for the entry to quality courses in tertiary institutions and universities in Kenya (KNEC: 2008, 2009 and 2010). Good grades can only be attained if they undertake their academic work diligently. Prefects are supposed to observe academic discipline by handing in homework on time, being attentive in class, preparing adequately for examinations and other activities related to academic pursuits (Bakhda, 2006). The influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance therefore need to be determined.

Statement of the Problem
Prefects are student leaders elected or appointed and assigned administrative duties in secondary schools. Some of prefects’ responsibilities in Kenyan schools include; taking roll call, reporting absentees, organizing co-curricular activities, handling minor offences and ensuring that all students follow school rules and regulations at all times. The prefects are expected to perform those duties on top of the normal class work. Besides their prefects’ responsibilities, prefects like other students are expected to attain good grades in class tests and national examinations. Research studies conducted in Kenya by Chepchieng, Kiboss and Gichuru found that achievement in examinations is affected by factors like teaching methods, learning resources, environment, attitude and motivation. It is also affected by how well a student has performed his/her academic work before being assessed. Students who attend classes regularly, actively participate in class, study well and do all class work/assignments generally perform well in tests and examinations. This study therefore sought to establish the influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-county.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance in public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-county, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The study was guided by the following specific objectives:

i) To determine how prefects undertake their responsibilities in public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-County.

ii) To establish the prefects’ performance of their academic work before and after appointment as prefects.

iii) To find out whether school responsibilities significantly influence prefects’ academic work performance.

Research Questions
The study sought to address the following research questions:

i) How do prefects perform their responsibilities in public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-County?

ii) Does prefect’s performance of academic work differ before and after appointment as a prefect?

iii) Do school responsibilities significantly influence prefects’ academic work performance?

Significance of the Study
The study is expected to assist students, teachers and parents in understanding the influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance. Secondly, the study is expected to aid teachers in assisting the prefects improve their academic work performance as well as help the prefects strike a balance between their responsibilities and academics. In addition, the study is expected to inform policy makers in the Ministry of Education and Secondary schools administration on how to improve academic work performance of school prefects.

Scope of the Study
The study was conducted in public secondary schools in Nakuru Sub-County which comprise Nakuru Municipality, Barut and Lanet Divisions and targeted all prefects, class teachers and deputy headteachers. The study concentrated on the influence of school responsibilities on prefects’ academic work performance.

Limitations of the Study
Limitations that underpinned this study included:

i) Negative attitude of some teachers towards studies on prefects. The researcher explained the purpose and significance of the study before administering the questionnaires to the teachers.

ii) Records on prefects were not readily available. The researcher had to liaise with the deputy headteachers and class teachers to get records of prefects.

Assumption of the Study
The study was done with the following assumptions:

i) That performance of academic work translates to achievement in tests and examinations. That responsibilities are similar in all schools.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 80 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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