PRINCIPALS’ ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS STRATEGIES FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF QUALITY ASSURANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KOGI STATE
Background of the Study
Education could be seen as an instrument for achieving socio-economic and technological growth and development of any nation. It is an instrument par-excellence and the means of developing human intellect, technical skills, character and effective citizenship for self-reliance and effective national development (FRN, 2004). A simple way of appreciating education is that it is a tool or a necessary weapon that is needed by every human being in order to effectively navigate this complex world (Aguba, 2009). Education in essence is the most effective instrument for academic progress, social mobilization, political survival and effective national development of a country, it constitutes the single largest enterprise in Nigeria (Akpa, 2002). The educational policy of any nation is to achieve education for all (E.F.A.) (Moest, 2008). The priority is to ensure equitable access and improvement in the quality and efficiency of all level of education.
The concern of the principal of secondary school is to direct the activities of teachers, students and other staff in the school towards the school objectives. The roles to be performed by the school principal can be categorized into two, namely:
§ Supervision of school programmes which include: curricular and extracurricular activities (allocation of schedule of duty or subjects, school time table, school organization, etc.)
§ Interpersonal relation which involves school discipline, evaluation of teachers performance, community support and involvement, helping in solving staff and student personal problems e.t.c.
The principal of a school is a planner, director, controller, coordinator, organizer, adviser and a problem-solver (Maduabuchi, 2002). He identifies and set goals and objectives of the school, which of course, must be in line with the national objectives, analyses tasks and share responsibilities to the staff according to specialization and expertise (Ugochi, 2007). The status of secondary school principal is not gender discriminating. Therefore, a principal can either be a male or female. A good principal should champion the course of quality assurance in his or her school to ensure a better school administration.
The ultimate goal of education administration at all levels is to develop an all inclusive and quality education that is accessible and relevant for self reliance. This is guided by the understanding that good education contributes significantly to economic growth, improvement of employment prospects and income generating opportunities for sustainable development. For qualitative education to be achieved in a nation, the teacher (human resources) financial and instructional facilities (material resources) must be co-operatively organized. In other words, the teacher in secondary school must be well trained and supervised (assisted), the learners continuously evaluated and funds and facilities adequately provided.
There is a number of administrative processes that exist to assist the administrator in carrying out his day-to-day activities. An administrator who ignores these processes is likely to encounter problems in the task of school administration. Hence, administration is seen as a collection of processes dealing with the various ways in which human and material resources are utilized to achieve set goals in an organization. These processes include such elements as planning, decision making, organizing, coordinating, motivating, directing, evaluating, staffing, and budgeting. Enyi in Ogbonnaya (2013) stressed that administrative process can therefore be regarded as the sum total of the various processes of planning, organizing, stimulating, coordinating, staffing, budgeting, communication and evaluating, which aid administrators in the utilization of resources in the achievement of organizational goals.
Within the school system, virtually all the various aspect of the school programmes and activities should be planned. According to Oboegbulem (2011) planning is the process of deciding in advance, the methods and procedures which an individual, group or organization intends to follow in order to accomplish its outlined objectives. The important thing in planning is to decide, in advance, the objectives to be achieved and how to utilize the available resources in achieving these objectives. In other words, to plan is to decide in advance what is to be done and how to do it. The scarcity of resources makes the need more necessary, since the little available resources have to be evenly spread to reach every competing segment.
No administrator can function alone without the assistance of others. Thus, in other to achieve the set educational objectives, the administrator must have a frame work or structure for his school on which posts are created and assigned to people. Enyi (1999) sees organizing in schools as an administrative process of having a structure and assigning people to the posts for the purpose of performing specific duties. It is sometimes seen as a process on which an administrator identifies and groups the work to be done in smaller units, and assigns people to the various units with relevant materials and authority. Organizing in schools enables the principal to assign duties to academic and non academic staff according to competence and it tends to minimize conflict in schools, since each person knows what to do. Organizing helps the principal to coordinate the various organizational activities, since he is aware of the various assignments given to individuals.
Principals, who are charged with the responsibility of utilizing human and material resources in schools, need to have the ability to coordinate these resources in order to achieve the desired results. Nwankwo (1982), explained coordination as a process whereby an orderly pattern of group effort is developed to ensure unity of action in the pursuit of common goals. Thus, a secondary school with various departments, units and individuals with different functions need to be properly coordinated to ensure that the set school objectives are achieved. Coordination may therefore be defined as the process of directing and harmonizing resources and group activities for achieving set educational goals without friction.
In the school situation, staff personnel administration forms an important responsibility of the school administration in achieving the goals of the school in particular and education in general. Staffs in the secondary schools include not only the teachers, but also non teaching staff, clerk, watchmen, labourers, cooks, and laboratory attendants. Teaching and non-teaching staff are important tools in the hands of the secondary school principals in achieving educational objectives.
The functional scope of staff personnel administration as stated in Enyi 1999, includes responsibilities of the administrator in;
§ Determining the personnel needs of the school, (tutorial and non-tutorial);
§ Satisfying personnel needs;
§ Maintaining and improving services of the staff.
In educational institution, the budget is prepared by the bursary department or finance office as the case may be. Ogbonnaya (2005) had defined budget as the financial statement of the proposed expenditure and expected revenue of the government, public corporations, or educational institution for a particular period of time. The budget usually covers a period of one year. It shows clearly the expected income and proposed expenditure of government or an educational institution for the coming year. The principal must be sure of what revenue is to be anticipated and from what sources it is to be derived before preparing his budget for the school. Budget controls the financial behavior of principals in a school system and prevent waste or reckless spending of fund provided for various educational services.
The administrative dealings of various secondary schools in Kogi state seems to have been hindered by numerous problems. These problems may include: poor supervision, conflict among teachers, inadequate funding, inadequate facilities,lack of principal-teacher relationship, and poor leadership styles of the principal among others. Some school principals in Kogi State seem to lack vision, there appears to be inadequate job analysis and work plan with poor instructional supervision which culminated into poor curriculum delivery in schools and consequently poor academic performance by the students. As far as the position of a principal is concerned, the issue of “gender” is very crucial because a principal could either be a male (man) or female (female).
Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. To put it another way: “Male” and “female” are sex categories, while “masculine” and “feminine” are gender categories (Ivan, 2008). Gender plays a very important role when it comes to the position of a principal. In any secondary school, a principal can either be male or female i.e man or woman.Some critics are of the view that women (females) have a better charisma as far as the job of principalship is concerned. Another set of critics refuted their idea and came up with an assertion that men (male) have principalship proficiency in them naturally and therefore should be considered a better gender for this profession than women. Other critics totally disagree with their conjecture, but opined that everyone is capable of becoming a principal; both men and women (male and female) provided they are qualified and have acquired a sound leadership and administrative experience.For the administrative processes to be effective in achieving quality assurance there is need to adopt some administrative process strategies (Ivan, 2008).
Administrative process strategy is a concerned with shaping an organization in the right part towards the achievement of its goal. Some of the administrative process strategies of the principals include planning strategy, organizing strategy, staff personnel strategy, coordinating strategy and budgeting strategy. These administrative strategies are pertinent in the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools.
Quality assurance is a process of ensuring effective resource input, control, refining the processes and raising the standard of output in order to meet the set goals. Ayeni, (2012) opined that quality assurance in education is the efficient management, monitoring, evaluation and reviews of the resource inputs and transformation process (teaching and learning) to produce a quality output (students) that meets set standards and expectations of the society. Quality assurance in education aims at preventing quality problems and ensures that the products of the system conform to the expected standards. Thus, the quality of education is the degree of excellence of the output (students) which can be achieved through principals’ effective administrative strategy. Mckeown (2011) argues that “quality assurance strategy is about shaping the future “and is the human attempt to get to “desirable ends with available means”.
Quality assurance is an organization guarantee that the product or service it offers meets the accepted quality standards (Lopez, 2003). It is achieved by identifying what “quality” means in context; specifying methods by which its presence can be ensured; and specifying ways in which it can be measured to ensure conformity. Quality assurance is a component of quality management and it is focused on providing confidence so that quality requirements will be fulfilled (Flanna, 2008). It can be said to be Processes and procedures for ensuring that qualifications, assessment and programme delivery meet certain standards. Quality assurance relates to the achievement of educational program standards established by institutions, professional organizations, government, and/or standard-setting bodies established by government. Walklin (2002) defined quality assurance as the avoidance of non-performance by pre-empting failure through proper planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation. It is a way of managing an organization so that every job, every process, is implemented right at first time and always.
Quality assurance in the school system implies the ability of the educational institutions to meet the expectations of the users of manpower in relation to the quality of skills required by their outputs. It can be said to be the abilities of the schools to meet certain criteria relating to academic matters, staff – student ratios, staff development, physical facilities, funding, and adequate library facilities (Ajayi and Adegbesan, 2007). Quality assurance in the school system refers to all the activities that are conducted in order to achieve or maintain a certain acceptable quality level. It is an avoidance of defects in the education process. Cole (1996) opined that quality assurance in any educational institution indicates that students’ learning is well supported with adequate resources and that those actively involved both in school administration and teaching have clear job descriptions and know their job responsibilities. It involves a series of operational techniques and activities which include all the actions taken in order for the quality requirement to be met.
Quality assurance in education is a totality of the combination of some indispensable variables such as quality teachers, quality instructional materials and quality infrastructures (classrooms, seats, tables, chalkboards, etc.). Others include: favourable teacher/pupil ratio, favourable pupils/classroom ratio, and quality instructional supervision. Quality assurance means putting in place appropriate structures, legislations, supervision of personnel and materials in order to ensure that set minimum standards are attained, sustained and seen to have meaningful impact on the society. There seems to be a sharp decline in the quality of education system in most of the public schools in Kogi State. Indicators of such declining quality and wastage in the education system may include: high drop-out and failure rates, rampant examination malpractices, poor reading and writing skills among students at all levels. There is evidence of client reaction as many parents take their children to private schools within and outside the state.
Adedoja (2010) explained that quality assurance have increasingly and significantly become the strongest parameters for determining the relevance and a functionality of education, especially in developing countries where reform regimes in the sector have become imperative for meeting the Education For All and Millennium Development Goals targets. But, inspite of the importance of quality in education, it continues to pose serious challenge to education sector, which is strategic for national and regional development. Quality assurance in education, according to Adedoja (2010), refers to the modalities for evolving, monitoring and re-appraising indices, benchmarks and good practices within an education system.Ukeje (2003) explain that quality assurance in a school setting is made possible through proper planning by the management which involves all the staff in the functions of planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation using set standards and objectives. There is need to uphold quality assurance in secondary schools to ensure a successful school administration.
Secondary education is crucial in both personal and national development. Secondary school level is the bridge between the primary and tertiary levels. Secondary education is the education children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage within the range of 12 to 18 years (FRN, 2004). The broad goal of secondary education is to prepare the individual for useful living in the society and for higher education (FRN,2004). Specifically, the secondary school system is geared towards catering for the differences in talents, opportunities and future roles, to provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development (FRN, 2004). Secondary school should be able to provide quality teaching and learning.
The importance of secondary education cannot be over emphasized since it has both consumer and producer status. This is because it consumes the product of primary schools and produce candidates for tertiary education in the nation. Realizing the need to improve the reducing secondary education quality which had been partly attributed to ineffective principals’administrative process strategies which ought to be repositioned through improvement of administrative process strategies of principals.
Given this background, the aim of the present study is to examine and identify principals’ administrative strategy for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi state.
Statement of the Problem
Ideally, secondary school administration is expected to promote quality assurance in Education of the citizens for national development. It is the expectation of the government, parents and even students that quality education is received by students in Nigeria secondary schools through the adoption of appropriate administrative process/ strategies by the principals.
However, observations have shown that there seems to be poor principals’ administrative process/strategies which have led to poor quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State. This can be seen in the areas of inadequate funding, inadequate facilities, poor instructional supervision, conflict among teachers, poor vision of the principals, poor principal teacher relationship and poor administrative style of the principals among others. These situations seem to have led to poor academic achievement among the secondary school students, high drop-out rate, and high rate of examination malpractice, poor reading and writing cultures among others.
The above situation should not be allowed to continue, hence the problem of this study put in question form is, ‘what are the principals administrative process/strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State’?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine principals’ administrative process strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
Specifically, the study seeks to:
1. Determine principals’ planning strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
2. Ascertain principals’ organizing strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
3. Find out principals’ staff personnel strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
4. Identify principals’ coordinating strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
5. Determine principals’ budgeting strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
Significance of the study
This study has both theoretical and practical significance. The theoretical foundation of this study is hinged on the Schwartz theory of planning. The Schwartz theory states that every problems of mankind is surmountable provided a suitable planning approach is adopted and implemented correctly. The Schwartz asserts that in any condition whatsoever there must be a light at the end of the tunnel. The theory also states that before any problem is discovered in the world, the solution has already been in existence, it is a matter of planning. Schwartz proclaimed that good planning can achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. The concepts of this theory can be a guide and also boost the confidence of secondary school principals in their bid to map out some administrative process strategies to achieve quality assurance in their various schools.
The findings of this study will be practically significant to school principals, teachers, parents, students, Kogi state government, and future researchers.
The findings of this study will acquaint school principals on the poor quality educational system in Kogi state and also offer them credible strategies to restrain such trend and improve the quality of learning in the state. The findings of this study will unearth some administrative problems ravaging secondary school administration in Kogi state and suggest some possible strategies which can be adopted by school principals to abolish such problems.
Teachers will benefit immensely from the findings of this study. This study will unveil some of the teachers’ problems which lead to poor teaching and learning in various secondary schools in Kogi state. As the school principals adopt and implement some strategies suggested in this study in their bid to solve these problems, teachers will be favored. They will be motivated in other to exhibit high morale in their job as their salaries are likely to be increased.
Parents will benefit from the findings of this study. When adequate care is given to teachers, they will be happy to teach their students with enthusiasm. Consequently, students will receive quality education and also excel academically to the glory of their parents. Their parents will not only be glad and proud of their children, but they will also be elated that the money they are investing in their children’s’ education is not in vain. The findings of this study will benefit students colossally. It will help them experience quality sound teaching from motivated and high morale teachers, which will enable them attain academic excellence.
The findings of this study will be very beneficial to Kogi state government. It will uncover the academic and administrative problems which is the root of low quality educational and administrative system that has been obliterating various secondary schools in Kogi state in the recent time. This study will serve as an eye-opener to the state government and also give her an insight on how to tackle these problems. Having eliminated these problems, the educational system in the state will revive in all ramifications. Mass exodus of teachers (brain drain) from the state will reduce drastically. Kogi state will be rated highly as one the best educationally developed state in Nigeria and in diaspora. The findings of this study will be added to the existing literatures. Researchers in a similar field of study will also find the results of this study very interesting and useful.
Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to all the government owned secondary schools in Kogi state. There are 228 public secondary schools in Kogi State. The content scope focused on principals’ administrative process strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State. These include: principals’ planning strategies, principals’ organizing strategies, principals’ staff personnel strategies, the principals’ coordinating strategies, and the principals’ budgeting strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State.
The following research questions will guide the study.
1. What are the principals’ planning strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State?
2. What are the principals’ organizing strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State?
3. What are the principals’ staff personnel strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State?
4. What are the principals’ coordinating strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State?
5. What are the principals’ budgeting strategies for the achievement of quality assurance in secondary schools in Kogi State?
The following null hypotheses formulated will guide the study, and will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.
H01: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female principals on principals’ planning strategies for achievement of quality assurance in secondary school in kogi State.
H02: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female principals on principals’ organizing strategies for achievement of quality assurance in secondary school in kogi State.