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THE INFLUENCE OF HEADMASTERS MANAGERIAL SKILLS ON EFFECTIVE SCHOOL MANAGEMENT: A CASE OF PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MBEYA -TANZANIA
Every organisation strives to enhance the effectiveness through focused attention on managerial effectiveness aimed at helping managers to get best out of their team as well as themselves. Olorisade (2011) argues that any organisation exists to accomplish a purpose in the larger society which is usually stated in the form of objectives or goal. This is also the same in public secondary schools.
According to Mintzberg et al, (2010), a manager is everyone who has an influence on others in the organisation, can be the president, prime minister, administrator, official, headmistress/ headmaster, director, executive of an institution and so forth. The head of the school in this matter is the manager that requires a set of qualities to manage the school to achieve its intended goal.
Managers may directly influence the workers’ attitude, interest, and change their behaviour towards commitment to work and objectives. A school can stand to bear changes only if there are right managerial styles and behaviour since the performance of an organisation depends on the entire support of employees, customers (students), community and investors. To deal with them effectively requires special skills which make the manager successful in their task.
The Head of school occupies a position of great importance in the set up of an educational institution. He/she is an educator with executive authority and ought to have a clear vision for the future of his school. Therefore, he/she seeks the support of the faculty to channelize their professional energies towards the achievement of clear objectives of the schools and learning needs of students. His/her role is important and his/her intervention counts in school improvement efforts. It is his/her leadership role that makes different from manager because a manager just plans, organizes and controls the resources available to him. Leaders have ability to influence and motivate others to achieve organizational goals, influences minds of subordinates who follow their leaders duly inspired by their personalities.
One of the key factors which may influence school effectiveness is the ability of the headmaster /mistress to perform managerial functions. Effective school management are key to improve school performance, particularly of students in both academically and discipline wise. Therefore, the head has to learn some special skills which has effect on employees’ behaviour and attitudes so that the organisation can be much benefited by their labour. The special skills required by the headmaster/mistress are what is referred to here as managerial skills.
1.1 Background of the Problem
Education in Tanzania, as in other African countries, has evolved through a series of phases in attempting to achieve its socio economic and political significance. Tanzania after gaining its independence from Great Britain put a lot of focus on providing education to his citizens. Kiswahili was launched as an official language pushing for increased enrolment in the schools.
In 1967, after the Arusha Declaration the former president of Tanzania Mwl. Julius K. Nyerere’s goal was for the majority of people to receive primary education. In the 1970s school fees were abolished in order to increase students’ enrolment for both primary and secondary school.
Secondary education is vital in Tanzania for sustainable economic development. According Kalinga (2008), secondary education is also important for personal and social benefit. It is also crucial for modernization and development of society as whole.
Secondary education in Tanzania is offered in both formal and non-formal secondary education system (MOEVT, 2013). Formal Secondary school education refers to the full programme of education provided in accordance with Government approved curricula and availed to students who will have completed primary education. In Tanzania, formal secondary school education consists of two sequential cycles. The first cycle is a four-year Ordinary Level (O-Level) secondary education, while the second cycle is a two-year programme of Advanced Level (A-Level) secondary education. The O-Level cycle begins with Form 1 and ends with Form 4, while A-Level has Form 5 and 6. In this study the researcher is interested with only one channel, and that is formal secondary education.
Selection and enrolment of primary school leavers into O-Level government and non-government secondary schools is done on the basis of a pre-set national standard cut-off point of performance in the National Primary School Leaving Examination. On the other hand, selection and enrolment of Form four leavers into Advanced Level secondary education is based on prescribed performance levels in the relevant A-Level subject combinations after attainment of appropriate credits in the Certificate of Secondary Education Examination MOEVT (2013). However, there is dramatic increase of mass failure of the student following their certificate of secondary education examination and thus affect also affect the number of student to join the A level secondary education particularly in public secondary schools.
Since 2005 there has been a dramatic increase of the number of public schools in Tanzania. This is due o the fact that Tanzania is one of the African countries who are eager’s to achieve the millennium goal by ensuring access of education to his citizens. Secondary education for sustainable development is given a greater emphasis as observed in Tanzania development plan in 2025, which accords high priority to education sector as described in the following statement:
Education should be treated as strategic agent for mindset transformation and for the creation of a well-educated nation, sufficient, equipped with the knowledge needed to competently and competitively solve the development challenges which face the nation (URT, 2000). Tanzania envisions to have a well-educated, knowledgeable and skilled Tanzania able to competently and competitively cop with political, social, cultural, economic and ethnological development challenges as a nation and international levels MOEVT, Education Sector Development Plan (2010-2015).
The good education plans and vision can only be reached by having well skilled heads of the school to manage secondary schools, the particularly public schools where the majority of Tanzanian citizens take their children. Although the government adheres to the overall responsibility of implementing various reforms (for example the secondary education development plan 2004-2009 and now 2010-2015) through its education agencies to achieve the millennium target, the responsibility of the school management cannot be thrown away. In particular, the headmaster/ headmistress as the key pivoting management entity has to take charge and lay strategies on the appropriate approaches to overseas the success of their school management. This includes ensuring the visionary education policies and that creates responsibility among teachers and staffs.
In the last decade, an abundance of evidence has been produced that skilful management--especially by competent in the management of people in organizations is the key determinant of organizational success Mujtaba, Luk, Murphy, & Saowakul (2009).
The headmaster, through teachers and other supporting staff is the driving force for successful school. The headmaster/mistress as the head of the school has to observe managerial skills to manage the school. She/he is the catalyst that inspires teachers to be vision oriented and diligent Briggs & Wholstetter (2003) in fulfilling and obtaining the goal of the school as well as the nation. According to West, Jackson, Haris, & Hokins (2000), the school that improves has leaders who make a significant and measurable contribution to the development of the school effectiveness of their staff. That is to say the roles and the managerial behaviour of the headmaster/ mistress are the viewpoints of schooling excellence.
The school as modern workplace is diverse, filled with multicultural professionals from every culture as there appears to be a convergence of some values due to the widespread existence of open and instantaneous communication through various genres in media Mujtaba, Luk, Murphy, & Saowakul (2009). Since each worker is different in respect to morals, values, and expectations, managers should provide a better understanding of their rules and policies along with diversity education for all their employees. Schools have the same properties like other organisation; however schools are different from other organisation in a sense that it has too many objectives while other organisations have one purpose.
According to Babyegeya (2002), the education administrators need to understand their duties and how related to objectives of education activities that are intended to achieve the objective of education. All this requires the effective use all managerial skills to achieve the objective. From this understanding heads of the school are expected to acquire necessary managerial skills in order to formulate programmes and communicate education policies, mobilising resources and get the job done.
Syarwani (2012) in his research pointed out that the success and the failure of an organisation are determined by the ability of the manager to manage the organisation effectively to reach its goal. Mujtaba (2009), points out modern managers and leaders must be effective having relevant technical, human, and conceptual skills based upon their rank in the leadership hierarchy. Knouse (2009) states that effective managers are needed to successfully manage diverse groups with different opinions, experiences, and talents.
The author contends that “Management is especially important when there are significant complementarities and spill over between the actions of different individuals or groups” (Poster, 2009). The headmaster/mistress of the school needs a broad knowledge of the managerial skills such as conceptual skills, technical and human/ social skills to enable them manage their school effectively. Technical skills includes ability to apply knowledge or special skills acquired through education and further developed though training, conceptual skills ability to use new concepts while human/social involves the ability to provide support to others, active learning, take risks and criticism that help objectivity Schermerchorn (1999).
Having the understanding of Tanzania government strategy on providing access and good quality of secondary education to his citizens, one needs to explore the managerial skills acquires by the headmaster/mistress and its influence on effective school management as key factor for successful implementation of the education goals and school as well. Thus this research was designed to explore the headmaster’s managerial skills and effective school management in public secondary schools in Tanzania.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Education is one of the pre- requisite for ensuring sustainable development in a country. It ensures individual development, and promotes quality human resource. But due to lack of quality secondary education in Tanzania, human resource is not well properly utilized; it has become an obstacle to socio economic development of the country. Ensuring quality secondary education has become an acute problem which contributes to other serious problem such as unemployment as well as poverty for most Tanzanian families. Lack of quality education has become a serious problem in most of public secondary schools. For Tanzania, the quality is measured by passing the standardized examination at the end of each level. For the case of secondary education, the standardized national examination test is given by the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA).
In recent years, secondary education has faced dramatic deterioration as the result of mass failure of national exanimations in particular public school. Observations have showed that the pass rate in private secondary schools is much better than that of public schools for both ordinary secondary national examination and advanced secondary national exanimation as well. The Ministry of Education and Vocation Training, through Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST) published the performance of certificate of secondary school examination results from 1998-2012 which showed the decline of in passing rate as in 2008, 20%, in 2009.30%, in 2010, 50% and in 2012, 61% country wise (MOEVT, Basic education in Tanzania, 2012).
In Mbeya city, the passing rate also has declined as follows; in 2008, 6%, in 2009, 21% and in 2010, 37% and in 2011 and in 2012 believed to be higher as the results were not available (TAHOSSA Highland zone regional report, result analysis 2011). It has been reported by different education professionals contacted by the researcher and also the observation showed that the headmaster/mistress after being appointed as the head of public school during (1970s -2008) they were taken for training ready to take new responsibilities as the head of the school for about six month immediately after appointment.
Basically the training was based on school management where the heads were equipped with different skills on school management. After devolution of secondary school management to local government towards 2009 the training was demolished, as the result, heads of schools were appointed and took their new responsibilities without any training on school management as the new role apart from being a teacher for a couple of years. Since then we have been observing a dramatic increase of poor school performance in public schools.
Various studies conducted in education sector in various countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, (HOQUE, 2007, Kamble, 2011, Olorisade, 2011, Bush, 2007) revealed that managerial skills contribute to effective school management. Good managerial skills can create a world of difference in the efficiency and performance of the School. Although different researches were conducted in education sector in Tanzania, there is no study done in regarding to headmaster managerial skills and its influence on effective school management which on the other hand enhance good school performance and thus calls for the aim of this study.
1.3 General Objective
The general objective of this study is to explore the influence of headmaster managerial skills on effective school management of public secondary school in Tanzania.
1.4 Specific Objectives
(i) To assess the conceptual skills acquired by the headmaster of public secondary school.
(ii) To examine the human relations skills acquired by the headmaster of public secondary school.
(iii) To explore the communication skills acquired by the headmaster of public secondary school.
(iv) To identify the leadership skills acquired by the headmaster of public secondary school.
1.5 Research Questions
1. What are the conceptual skills acquired by the headmasters of public secondary schools?
2. What are the human relations skills acquired by the headmasters of public secondary schools?
3. What are the communication skills acquired by the headmasters of public secondary schools?
4. What are the leadership skills acquired by the headmasters of public secondary schools?
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will help the education stakeholders to understand whether managerial skills are paramount importance in achieving education goals, in particular public secondary schools. Also the findings of the study will broaden knowledge and improve the managerial skills of heads of the schools in their handling of different matters and professionals in their working station.
Further the study has implications for the educational administrators in the area of promoting staff productivity in teaching and community service effectiveness. This study will help also the professional organisations involved in management to develop right skills measurement system for the educational managers/ heads to acquired effective management skills necessary for the performance. But not only that the study may reveal whether the problems arising in different school are associated with lack of managerial skills among the head of the schools