RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SELECTED HEAD TEACHERS’ LEADERSHIP STYLES AND THEIR EFFECTIVENESS IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL MANAGEMENT IN BOMET DISTRICT, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Head teachers’ leadership has to do with the execution of those policies and decisions which help to direct the activities of a school towards the achievement of its specified goals. Their effectiveness in school management is determined by whether they perform their assigned roles as required by the Ministry of Education in managing pupils, staff, curriculum implementation and school finances. Available Reports indicate that the government of Kenya has heavily invested in Free Primary Education since it was introduced in 2003. Despite this, performance of pupils in National Examinations in Bomet District is below average. Head teachers’ greatest challenge is to effectively manage schools. It appears there is a link between leadership styles and effective management of organizations. Therefore, this study sought to determine the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in public primary school management in Bomet district, Kenya. A correlation research design was used in this study. A sample of 120 head teachers was selected from a population of 174 head teachers of public primary schools in the District using proportionate and simple random sampling techniques. Questionnaires for head teachers with both close- ended and open-ended questions were used to collect data. Their validity and reliability were determined before they were used to collect data. Data were analysed with the aid of a computer programme, the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) version 11.5. Frequencies and percentages were computed to determine the most preferred leadership style among head teachers, and to determine head teachers’ effectiveness in public primary school management. Pearsons product moment correlation coefficient was used to determine the relationship between independent and dependent variables in the study. All statistical test were subjected to tests of significance at =0.05. The study found that democratic leadership style was the most preferred among head teachers while Laissez-faire was the least preferred leadership style. The study also found that, there was no statistically significant relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in school management. Most head teachers were found to be ineffective in the management of school finances. The researcher recommends that the government intensify school-based in-service trainings at the divisional level to benefit head teachers on the strengths and limitations of the various leadership styles. It is further recommended that the Government should employ accounts clerks to assist head teachers in the proper management of school finances. Findings of this study should be of great value to all stakeholders in education namely; the Government and the School Management Committees in their endeavours to enhance head teachers’ effectiveness in managing pupils, staff, curriculum implementation and school finances.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of Study
Leadership has to do with the execution of those policies and decisions which help to direct the activities of an organization towards the achievement of its specified aims. The necessity for leadership stems from the fact that each organization or group has needs which must be met. A leader is therefore needed to keep the group or organization focused on meeting the specified goals (Mbithi, 2007). Leadership is the ability to get others to work enthusiastically and competently toward accepted objectives. Leaders can improve their performance and effectiveness by their ability to influence the group and its members in achieving a common task. In practice, this means ensuring that the required task gets carried out, meeting the needs of their groups for teamwork and team morale and developing and satisfying individual needs within the group (D’souza, 1997). A leadership style refers to a particular behaviour applied by a leader to motivate his/her subordinates to achieve the objectives of the organization. It is the manner and the approach of providing direction, implementing plans and motivating people (Okumbe, 1998). Leadership is an essential quality of headship. The very title “head teacher” describes the position in which the person is perceived. The head teacher is someone to whom teachers, pupils and parents will automatically look upto for guidance and direction (Emerson & Goddard, 1993). Head teacher is overall in charge of the school. He supervises the whole school programme and bear the ultimate responsibility for the school performance, proficiency and effectiveness including the competency of all school programmes (Wango, 2009).

Researchers have attempted to quantify the leadership process and establish relationships between dimensions of leadership, school climate, teacher effectiveness, and student learning (Deal & Peterson, 1990; Maehr, 1990; Waters T, Marzano. R; & McNutty, B., 2004). Early research by Brookover (1979), Edmonds (1979), and Rutter, Maughn, Mortimore and Ouston (1979) found that correlates of effective schools include strong leadership, a climate of expectation; an orderly but not rigid atmosphere, and effective communication. These researchers suggest that the presence or absence of a strong educational leader; the climate of a school, and the attitudes of the teaching staff can directly influence student achievement. Further, research has related effective school leadership to significant increases in student achievement. Waters, et al., (2004) conducted a meta analysis of 70 studies on education leadership and established 21 leadership responsibilities that are significantly related to their levels of student achievement. Blake and Mouton (1985) indicated that leaders who fully understand leadership theory and improve their ability to lead are able to reduce employee frustration and negative attitudes in the work environment. As educational leaders, head teachers can foster an understanding of the school vision, facilitate implementation of the mission, and establish the school climate. Ubben and Hughes (1992) stated that head teachers could create a school climate that improves the productivity of both staff and students and that the leadership style of the head teacher can foster or restrict teacher effectiveness.

Hersey and Blanchard (1988) discussed leadership in relationship to several factors namely; preferred style of leadership; maturity of followers; expectations of followers, and task at hand. They developed the well-known situational leadership model that identified four styles of leadership namely; autocratic, democratic, Laissez-faire and contingency styles. These leadership behaviours range from very leader-directed to non-directive approaches Situational leaders must analyze the various skills, needs, and strengths of the faculty and respond to many situations, and that the appropriate response depends on the situation and circumstances. The effectiveness of a leader’s behaviour is expected to increase when there is a match between leadership styles and situations. Leadership effectiveness can be measured by the degree to which the manager meets both the organizational goals and satisfies the employees’ needs (Bateman, et al., 1993).

An effective head teacher demonstrates professional competence and has wide-ranging and up-to-date knowledge and skills including the ability to initiate, direct, communicate and delegate. Such head teachers demonstrate good relations and work for the development of the school through teamwork (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1997). Successful head teachers are expected to develop and use leadership styles, personal qualities, knowledge and skills that will enable them to understand and successfully achieve their effectiveness in curriculum, people and resources management in schools (MOE&HR, 1999). Leadership skills, namely; technical, human and conceptual skills enhance head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in school management, and are derived from training, common sense and experience; but should be recognized within the context of a good manager (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1997). The modern primary school head teacher has to adopt and refine a style of leadership, which will cope effectively with the many varied duties and responsibilities attached to the work. An effective head teacher does not rely on one approach but uses different leadership styles depending on the tasks or situations, which may occur in the day- to-day running of the school. It is important for head teachers to establish good leadership styles, as this will have a positive effect on the growth and development of the school (MOE&HR, 1999). The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (1999) states that to be an effective head teacher, knowledge of the different styles of leadership that may help to achieve school objectives will be useful. They include autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire and contingency leadership styles.

Leadership involves an interrelationship among three elements; first, the qualities, skills and needs of the leader; second the needs and expectations of the stakeholders/groups and third, the demands or requirements of the situation (D’Souza, 1997). This interrelationship suggests that no one style of leadership serves for all situations. The best style is the one most appropriate in a given situation. Leadership seeks to meet the genuine needs and expectations of the stakeholders/groups, like staff and pupils, by performing required functions. Leadership is situational, that is, it depends largely on the demands of the task. Head teachers’ leadership styles change from group to group and from situation to situation. Exercising strong directive power provides effective leadership when groups, like staff or pupils, lack a sense of direction or purpose. When groups have clear directions and function well, non-directive styles of leadership work more effectively. Groups in schools, like staff and pupils, sometimes need re-orientation. At other times they need encouragement (D’Souza, 1997).

The extent to which a head teacher succeeds in attaining the school objectives included in the philosophy or mission statement depends on how skillfully a suitable leadership style is developed and used in a specific context. A successful leadership style will depend largely on the head's own personality, as well as his/her training to realize that there is a range of ways of working with people. It should be remembered that the particular style of leadership will affect the school’s tone either adversely or positively (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1997). Most of the head teachers in public primary schools in Kenya continue to be appointed from within the ranks of senior classroom teachers with little or no preparation for the onerous and complex task of school headship. Some of these trained teachers have been promoted on merit to the level of Approved Teacher Status without any additional academic advancement and some of them are serving at various levels of education management in schools and Education Offices and are expected to deliver effectively in their duties as managers of schools (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1997).

According to Rono (The Standard Media Group, November 16, 2005), when Free Primary Education (FPE) was introduced in the year 2003, some head teachers in Bomet District stepped down for lack of financial management skills. They feared that failing to manage the funds as required would jeopardize their jobs. They thus opted to quit. This is because they are required to teach and handle all the school accounts with no basic accounting training. The Ministry of Education (MOEST, 2004) states that the increased roles that came with FPE have placed head teachers in a position of considerable responsibilities in which they were not fully prepared for. The introduction of revised curriculum and the launching of FPE have had an effect in the overall management of education in general; and specifically in the management of public primary schools. Head teachers are expected to take care of purchases, determine all expenditures and oversee the distribution of materials to various classes, in addition to managing the school and teaching. Head teachers are overstretched. In one way or another, school management is bound to deteriorate and performance will go down (UNESCO, 2005).

According to Lehal (2000) the most important element in managerial effectiveness is the man himself, his leadership qualities and his commitment to effectiveness in the management of organizations. D’Souza (1997) asserted that leaders and their styles affect everyone and everything within an organization. There is a direct relationship that exists between leadership styles and the behaviour of the people they lead and the organizational climate. Conventional leadership styles include, autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire and contingency styles. As education leaders, head teachers are expected to utilize these leadership styles in order to realize their effective management of schools. Head teachers’ effectiveness in school management is determined by whether they perform their assigned roles in managing pupils, staff, curriculum implementation and school finances as required by the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Education (MOEST, 2003) states that management of school funds is one of the major tasks of the head teacher, and that the success of any school programme depends very much on the way financial inputs are managed, which in turn affects the overall performance in each school. According to the Ministry of Education (MOE & HR, 2007) pupil enrolment increased by 21.46% between the year 2003 and 2007 in Bomet District as a result of the introduction of Free Primary Education. Despite the fact that the government allocated substantial amounts of financial resources to the tune of Kshs. 522,501,785 for the purchase of teaching and learning materials, the District mean score between the year 2003 and 2007 was 246.94 marks out of a possible 500 marks. This was actually below average. The greatest challenge facing head teachers is to effectively manage schools as required by the Ministry of Education. From the foregoing information, there appears to be a link between leadership styles and effective management of organizations. Therefore, this study sought to determine the relationship between head teachers’ selected leadership styles and their effectiveness in public primary school management in Bomet district, Kenya.

Statement of the Problem
Head teachers’ leadership has to do with the execution of those policies and decisions which help to direct the activities of a school towards the achievement of its specified goals. Their effectiveness in school management is determined by whether they perform their assigned roles in managing pupils, staff, curriculum implementation and school finances as required by the Ministry of Education. According to available Reports from Bomet District Education Office, pupils’ performance in National Examination has remained below average although the government allocated substantial amount of financial resources to public primary schools in the District for the purchase of teaching and learning materials between the year 2003 and 2007. The greatest challenge facing head teachers is to effectively manage public primary schools. As detailed in the background of this study, there appears to be a link between leadership styles and effective management of organizations. Therefore, this study sought to determine the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in public primary school management in Bomet District, Kenya.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between selected head teachers' leadership styles and their effectiveness in public primary school management in Bomet district in the Rift Valley province of Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study were -:

i) To determine the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing pupils in public primary schools.

ii) To determine the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing staff in public primary schools.

iii) To determine the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing curriculum implementation in public primary schools.

iv) To determine the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing finances in public primary schools.
Research Hypotheses

The study was guided by the following research hypotheses:

Ho1: There is no statistically significant relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing pupils in public primary schools.

Ho2: There is no statistically significant relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing staff in public primary schools.

Ho3: There is no statistically significant relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing curriculum implementation in public primary schools.

Ho4: There is no statistically significant relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in managing finances in public primary schools.

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study are likely to provide useful information on the relationship between head teachers’ leadership styles and their effectiveness in public primary school management. The Education Officers would hopefully utilize this information to intensify school based in- service trainings at the divisional levels to benefit head teachers on the strengths and limitations of the various leadership styles in school management. Further, the Education Officers, among other stakeholders, may see the need of getting head teachers to undergo in- service training on their roles in managing pupils, staff, curriculum implementation and school finances for free education in order to realize their effective management of public primary schools. Effective management of schools leads to improved performance of pupils in their National examinations. This study will hopefully contribute to the existing pool of knowledge on public primary school management. It is also hoped that the findings of the]study would be used by the government in the formulation of education policies which would focus on effective management of primary schools and recruitment of accounts clerks.

Scope of the Study
This study targeted head teachers of public primary schools in Bomet District in Rift Valley province of Kenya. The respondents comprised of selected head teachers from these schools. The study focused on the conventional leadership styles namely autocratic, democratic, laissez faire and contingency styles, and the central roles of the head teachers as spelled out in the Ministry of Education primary school management guide books in the following four areas namely; head teachers’ roles in managing pupils, staff, curriculum implementation and school finances.

This study used only four selected conventional leadership styles, though head teachers may have developed and used other leadership styles like bureaucratic and charismatic among others in public primary school management.

Assumptions of the Study
This study was undertaken with the following assumptions;-

i) That all public primary school head teachers in Bomet district received equal support from all stakeholders including the Education Officers, Parents, sponsors and Non-Governmental Organizations among others with regard to carrying out their responsibilities in schools.

ii) That all respondents were trained teachers.

iii) That all respondents were honest.

Limitations of the Study
Due to the fact that the research study targeted head teachers of public primary schools in Bomet District, generalization of the findings to other Districts will only be done with a lot of caution....

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 67 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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