The induction of beginning school principals in Kenya
Kitavi, Mwaya Wa
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Entry is a quintessential situation, when the hopes and fears of all the years are again rekindled, when the dreams and visions of both the person (principal) entering and the organization (school) inviting him are aroused, when all the anxieties of facing the unknown are at their highest pitch. and when one experiences the ritual of initiation into the mysteries of this particular tribe (Tobert, 1982). More than ever researchers are becoming aware of the veracity of Toberts' (1982) claim and this has heightened and increased their awareness of the importance of identifying problems facing newcomers (beginning principals) to the profession of education. However, despite this growing awareness of the problems faced by beginning principals and the importance of the school principal as the key integral ingredient for success in school, very little is known about problems and induction needs of beginning principals in developing countries. Similarly, little attention has been paid to assisting and supporting beginning principals in Kenya. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the problems, challenges, difficulties and concerns facing beginning principals in Kenya and the essential skills they require in order to be effective and efficient in their principal-ship. The ultimate goal of the study was to design an induction programme for beginning principals in Kenya. The subjects of this study were stratified random samples of both beginning (n= 100) and experienced (n= 100) secondary school principals selected from all 8 provinces of Kenya. Beginning secondary school principals include those appointed to the principal-ship for the first time between June 1991 and June 1994 (0-3 years) while experienced principals included those with 3 and more years' experience. Results from 142 respondents were analysed. The study revealed that beginning principals in developing countries like Kenya face unique problems that could be ascribed to the educational system's failure to provide enough financial support for schools. As such, beginning principals in developing countries deal with problems like inadequate physical facilities, shortage of school equipment. Over-crowded classrooms, and students who cannot afford to pay school fees or buy books. Additionally, the study revealed that beginning principals in developing countries need essential skills such as self-awareness skills, technical skills and socialization skills. .The conclusions derived from both the theoretical and practical parts, that is, the literature study and the empirical investigations, formed the rationale for the design of a well-structured induction programme for beginning principals in Kenya. The study recommends the implementation of the Beginning Principals' Induction Programme. The mentoring system has been described as the panacea for inducting beginning principals because it is cost and time effective. The induction programme strongly recommends the use of experienced principals as mentors to beginning principals. Undoubtedly the most important influence on the quality of educational managers (principals) is their competencies and the induction of capable principals is one of the sine qua non of the development of competent educational managers. It is postulated that the implementation of the Beginning Principals’ Induction Programme (BPIP) could be the catalyst for change in the status quo regarding the monumental and formidable problems, challenges, difficulties and concerns facing beginning principals in developing countries like Kenya.
- Education