Students are important in any education system. Despite the efforts that have been made by the national and county governments to improve literacy and retention of learners in schools .student dropout rates is still a great challenge. The study therefore sought to establish the influence of leadership style on dropout rates in Emgwen Division, Nandi County. The objectives of the study were to estimate the independent and dependent variables influencing students drop out rates. The study was predicated on the assumptions that the school management practices influence dropout rates and the respondents would give honest responses which are a true reflection of the situation in the study area. The study was guided by Social Systems Theory which postulates that the interaction of any interrelated and interdependent parts affect the whole system. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative research method (mixed methodology).The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The targeted population comprised of 45 Head teachers and 353 teachers. A sample of 106 teachers and 14 head teachers formed the respondents of the study. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the Headteachers. A questionnaire and interview schedule was used to obtain data from teachers and head teachers. The validity of instruments was achieved by ensuring that they are based on stated objectives and critical review by the supervisors and examiners in department of examinations. Cronbach alpha was used to estimate the reliability. Research permit was sought from National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation and also the introduction letters from the County Education Officer and the County Commissioner to carry out the study .Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics. The study established 68.8% of the respondents agreed that the head teachers adopted the democratic leadership style and about 50% of them indicated that Head teachers demonstrated exemplary leadership characteristics. In addition, 52.7% of the respondents noted that students were never rewarded when they perform well. In conclusion the study findings revealed that school management practices specifically leadership styles, leadership characteristics and motivation approaches have influence students‘ dropout rates in schools. The study recommends the enhancing of capacity building for head teachers and teachers and establishing the means of ensuring motivation of students and teachers is done regularly. The implementation of the stakeholders will enhance retention and thus minimizing students drop out rates in schools.

The chapter examined the following: Background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, assumptions of the study, limitations of the study and the operational definition of terms.

Background to the study
Policies to improve school progression and reduce the numbers of children dropping out of school are critical if Universal Primary Education (UPE) is to be achieved. Children are starting primary school in greater numbers than ever before but dropout rates are significant and lead to low levels of primary school completion in many countries. In Benin, for example, the primary school dropout rate in 2005 was 28 percent, although it reduced drastically from 42 percent in 2000. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the primary school dropout rate in 2007 was 31 percent, which was almost the same dropout rate for the country in the early 1990s. In Bangladesh, the primary school dropout rate has remained around 30 percent since 2001 (Education Policy and Data center, 2009).

As a result of substantial rates of drop out and non-completion of primary school, many children are leaving schooling without acquiring the most basic skills. Their brief schooling experience consists frequently of limited learning opportunities occasioned by poor leadership and lack of well-designed motivation approaches for the student (Alexander, 2008). Children of different ages and abilities are mixed together in single classrooms without proper adaptation of motivation approaches to improve learning and to induce school engagement (Little, 2008). Such schooling circumstances, together with personal and family level factors such as ill-health, malnutrition and poverty, jeopardize meaningful access to education for many children. As a result, many children are registered in schools but fail to attend, participate but fail to learn, are enrolled for several years but fail to progress and drop out from school (Kennely, 2007).

Failure to complete a basic cycle of primary school not only limits future opportunities for children but also represents a significant drain on the limited resources that countries have for the provision of primary education. According to the World Bank, the Government of Malawi for example allocated 4.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product towards public educational expenditure in 2007, which represented around 195 million dollars. Of this, 55percent was allocated towards primary school. With a primary school dropout rate of 25 percent in 2007, it is estimated that nearly half a million school places were taken up by children who fail to complete primary school. In monetary terms, this broadly represented an annual expenditure of 60 million dollars, 1.3 percent of GDP in 2007, on the education of children who probably left schooling without any basic skills (Cameron, 2005).

Despite its importance, strategies designed to reduce student dropout rate and improve primary school retention as well as progression have received relatively little attention. Typically, national education plans assume that primary school progression will improve automatically as a result of interventions designed to improve initial access and educational quality. Nevertheless, improving progression in primary school may not necessarily be about improving the quality of education alone but also understanding student dropout trends. Education systems in countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Senegal and Haiti have been well designed strategically to deal with unreached children as well as improving efficiency to reduce student dropout rates (UNESCO, 2010).

In Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda student dropout rates in primary schools is also a problem, perhaps not as high as Kenya, but non-completion of primary school remain very high. Kenya has a relatively big problem, but a relatively small problem with respect to access to school and relatively sustained enrolment rates (UNESCO, 2006).

Students drop out, from school is a great concern for any government or society. Despite many policies and strategies developed to enhance a smooth transition rate in school there are still some students who withdraw from school prematurely. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 26, for instance states categorically that everyone has the right to education (UNESCO, 1998). To achieve this, the Kenya government laid down policies and allocated money in the National budget to provision of education to her people (MOEST, 2005).

One persistent constraint in attaining the goals of education for all (EFA) is the rate of drop out from education systems (Wamahiu, 1997). According to MOE (2007), the proportion of children who dropped out in 2003 was estimated at 16.1% whereas the dropout rate in 2004 in primary schools was 18.5%. In spite of the government policies to enhance enrolments in primary sub sector, the student‘s participation, retention, transition and completion at primary school education level are lower than expected. In addition, according to the 2012 taskforce report on the re- alignment of education sector to the Kenyan constitution, a research carried out by Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) showed that the student dropout rate is above 20% (Elliot, 2003).

In Nandi Central Sub – County dropout cases are so prevalent. Statistics indicate rising dropout rates trends registered for the past five years (2008 to 2012) in Emgwen Division. Table 1 shows the student dropout rates (for both girls and boys) in Emgwen Division, Nandi central sub-county for the period.

Statement of the problem
The government of Kenya through the Ministry of Education initiated Free Primary Education in the year 2003 with the major aim of improving literacy and retention rates of learners in schools. Despite all these efforts student dropout rates in Emgwen Division is on the rise. Education officials in the Nandi County lay blame on the management practices in schools. In addition, school leaders‘ competencies are not the same; they usually impact either positively or negatively in the overall retention of students in schools. Competencies of school leaders determine management practices in place. They range from leadership styles, leadership characteristics to motivation approaches. It is against this background that the study sought to examine the influence of school management practices on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County.

Purpose of the study
The purpose of study was to establish the influence of leadership styles on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County, Kenya.

Objectives of the study
The study was guided by the following objectives;

i. To establish the influence of leadership styles on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County.

ii. To determine the influence of leadership characteristics on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County.

iii. To determine the influence of motivation approaches on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County.

Research questions
The study sought to answer the following research questions:

i. What is the influence of leadership styles on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County?

ii. What is the influence of leadership characteristics influence dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County?

iii. How do motivation approaches influence dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County?

Significance of the study
The findings of this study are expected to provide an insight to school administrators, teachers, parent and Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MOEST) officials on the influence of school management practices on dropout rates in order to provide appropriate solutions, provide useful information to educational planners and policy makers on ways of reducing or minimizing school dropout rates. It is expected that MOEST would use the findings of the study in reviewing policies so as to curb on the problem of student dropout in schools.

Scope of the study
The study specifically focused on the influence of school management practices on dropout rates in public primary schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County. The aspects of management practices that the study examined include: democratic, Autocratic, situational leadership styles, interpersonal and communication skills, rewards and privileges on student dropout rates in public primary school in Emgwen Division, Nandi County

The study was based on the following assumptions; teachers from the various primary schools co-operated in filling questionnaires and answering oral interview questions, teachers provided reliable information to enhance the study and gave accurate information for final analysis The portion of the population in which the research was carried out was a representative of the target population and the research instruments yielded good results.

Some of the limitations included:-
i. The reliability of the information obtained largely depends on the attitudes of the respondents which limited the accuracy of the findings. The researcher humbly requested them to be positive about the questionnaires as the information they gave was confidentially handled.

ii. In some schools the teachers were not open enough to fill in the questionnaire and others claimed to be too busy. They had negative perceptions about the information they gave, as they feared victimization. The researcher took time to persuade them and clarify that the exercise was mainly for academic purposes. During the interview, some of the head teachers and teacher were not at ease while giving out the information about their respective schools; however, the researcher assured them of confidentiality.

iii. Apart from these, it also involved only schools in Emgwen Division, Nandi County. The results of the study were meant to be generalized to include all head teachers of public primary schools in Kenya. This did not happen because the schools, classrooms, learners and their environment throughout the country were unique. Therefore the findings were applied with caution.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 70 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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