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Educational Research (ISSN: 2141-5161) Vol. 2(7) pp. 1281-1298 July 2011
Available [email protected]://www.interesjournals.org/ER
Copyright © 2011 International Research Journals
Full Length Research paper
Quality education in secondary schools: challenges
and opportunities for quality assurance and standards
in Kenya: A case study of Kakamega central district
Joan Betty Watsulu and Enose M.W. Simatwa*
Department of Educational Management and Foundations, Maseno University
Accepted 05 July, 2011
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards is charged with the responsibility of improving
and maintaining the quality of education in Kakamega central district. However, since 2003 Kenya
Certificate of Secondary Education examination analysis in Kakamega central district has continued
to indicate that the quality of education is low with most schools showing stagnant or downward
trends. The purpose of this study was to investigate the opportunities and challenges for the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in its endeavor to ensure quality education in
secondary school education in Kakamega central district. This study was based on a conceptual
framework showing opportunities and challenges for the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards in the enhancement of quality education in secondary education. This study used
descriptive survey design. The study population consisted of one District Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer, 33 Head teachers and 330 Heads of departments. Face validity of the instruments
was ascertained by experts in the Department of Educational Management and Foundations at
Maseno University. Reliability of the instruments was established through piloting in three schools
that were not part of the study sample. Quantitative data obtained from closed ended questionnaire
items was analyzed using descriptive statistics in the form of percentages and frequency counts.
Qualitative data obtained from open ended questions in the questionnaires, in-depth interviews and
document analysis guide was analyzed on an ongoing process as themes and sub themes emerged.
The study established that only 12 (40%) schools were assessed between 2005 and 2009. The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards had many opportunities such as financial records
and observation of teachers in class to enhance quality education. The challenges faced in
enhancing quality education included lack of co-operation from some teachers and incidents of
unavailability of finance records. The study concluded that schools were not assessed as many
times as required although the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards had many
opportunities. Many challenges were faced in the process of assessing schools and the coping
strategies included adherence to professional ethics. The study recommended that schools should
be assessed at least once in every three years. The findings of this study will be useful to education
policy makers, planners, Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards, and school
administrators in promoting the quality of education.
Keywords: Quality education, secondary schools, challenges, opportunities, strategies Kakamega central
district, Kenya.
INTRODUCTION
At independence in 1963, the Kenya government
recognized education as a basic human right and a
*Corresponding Author E-mail: [email protected]
powerful tool for human resource and national
development. Since then, policy documents have
reiterated the importance of education in eliminating
poverty, disease and ignorance (Republic of Kenya,
1964). Ministry of Education (2005) states that the
1282 Educ. Res.
government is fully committed to an education system
that guarantees the right of every learner to quality and
relevant education. However in most countries there is a
feeling that the rapid expansion if not mass production of
education has led to the deterioration of quality.
Chapman and Carrier (1990) emphasized that particular
attention should be given to the issues concerning
educational quality and improvement strategies in the
developing world. It is in this light that the Ministry of
Education deemed it necessary to improve its inspection
wing by restructuring it and changing its name from The
Inspectorate in 2004 to the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards (Ministry of Education Science
and Technology, 2004). In the restructuring there was the
creation of the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards at the National, provincial, district and
divisional levels. At all levels the incumbent Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards constitutes the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards for
school quality and standards assessment. At school level
principals and deputy principals are the designated
internal quality assurance officers and at departmental
level the heads of departments are the designated quality
assurance and standards officers (Ministry of Education
Science and Technology, 2004). School prefects are
mandated to assist school administrators in carrying out
duties and responsibilities that enhance quality of
education in Kenya. These duties and responsibilities
include supervision of curricular activities such as preps
and co- curricular activities such as drama, music and
subject based clubs (Ministry of Education, 1979). The
functions of Quality Assurance and Standards Officers
include having regular reporting on the general quality of
education, identifying educational institutional needs for
improvement, ensuring that quality teaching is taking
place in the institutions, monitoring the performance of
teachers and educational institutions in accordance with
all round standard performance indicators, ensuring
equitable distribution of teachers by working out the
curriculum based establishment, carrying out regular
assessment of all educational institutions , advising on
the provision of proper and adequate facilities in
educational institutions, ensuring that the appropriate
curriculum is implemented in educational institutions,
encouraging a collaborative and corporate approach to
educational institutional management among the various
stakeholders, and organizing and administering cocurricular activities with a view to developing all round
learners (Republic of Kenya, 1980 & Wasanga, 2004).
Since the inception of the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in Kakamega Central District
the desired quality results were yet to be achieved as
indicated by Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination
analysis. Thus the mean grades were 4.552 (C Minus) in
2003, 5.0335 (C plain) in 2004, 4.6751 (C minus) in 2005,
4.4556 (D plus) in 2006 and 4.4477 (D plus) in 2007
(District Education Officer’s Office Kakamega Central
District, 2007). The Ministry of Education Science and
Technology report (2004) also indicated that performance
in the District was wanting. It observed that most of the
schools had shown stagnant or downward trends over
the years (Ministry of Education Science and Technology,
2004). Therefore there was a need to conduct a study on
the opportunities, challenges and strategies for quality
assurance and standards in Kakamega Central District.
Research Questions
1. What is the frequency of the various types of
assessment carried out by the Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer when they visit schools in Kakamega
Central District?
2. What opportunities and challenges are available for
quality assurance and standards officers in the
enhancement of curriculum implementation in secondary
schools in Kakamea Central district?
3. What challenges do quality assurance and standards
officers face in the enhancement of prefects body
involvement in management of secondary schools in
Kakamega Central District?
4. What opportunities and challenges do the quality
assurance and standards officers face in the process of
ensuring prudent management of secondary school
finances in Kakamega Central District?
5. What are the coping strategies for the challenges
faced by the directorate of quality assurance and
standards in the enhancement of quality education in
Kakamega Central District?
Conceptual Framework
It is apparent that several interrelated factors including
frequency of assessment, quality of assessment,
curriculum implementation, and financial management
influence the quality of education in secondary schools.
The availability, utilization and sufficiency of these
variables presented challenges and opportunities to the
directorate of quality assurance and standards in its
attempt to ensure that quality education was provided in
secondary schools in Kakamega Central District. The
relationship between quality education (dependant
variable) and frequency of assessment, quality of
assessment, curriculum implementation and financial
management (independent variables) are as indicated in
figure 1.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards is
charged with the responsibility of improving and
maintaining the quality of education in Kakamega Central
Watsulu and Simatwa 1283
Directorate of
Quality Assurance
and Standards
Curriculum
implementation:
Opportunities
-Visits schools
-Meet stakeholders
Challenges
-Lack of effective
communication
-Lack of administrator’s
support
-Negative attitude
-Limited time
Quality Education
Assurance in Secondary
Schools:
• High discipline
• Sound financial
management
• Optimum curriculum
implementation
• Good administration
Prefects’ body
involvement:
Opportunities
Establishment of
prefects
Job descriptions
Challenges
- Apprehension
- Lack of time
- Execution of
unpopular rules
- Lack of cooperation
Financial Management:
Opportunities
- Presence financial
records
- Qualified bursars and
accounts clerks
- Good administration
Challenges
- Limited staff
- Limited time for
supervision
Types and
Frequency of
assessment:
Types
-Panel assessment
-Mass assessment
-Follow up
assessment
Frequency
- How often
Quality
assessment:
Opportunities
-Qualified staff
-Time
-Adequate staff
Challenges
-Inadequate
budgetary
allocation
-Lack of time
Figure 1: Conceptual framework showing the Headteachers, Heads of Departments and the
District Quality Assurance and standards face in the enhancement of Quality Secondary
Education
District. However, since 2003 Kenya Certificate of
Secondary Education examination analysis in Kakamega
Central District has continued to indicate that the quality
of education is low with most schools showing stagnant
or downward trends. The purpose of this study was to
investigate the opportunities and challenges for the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in its
endeavor to ensure quality education in secondary school
education in Kakamega Central District. The objectives of
the study were to: establish the types and frequency of
the various types of schools standards assessments
carried out by the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards in enhancement of quality education; find out
the opportunities and challenges for the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards in enhancement of
curriculum implementation; investigate challenges for
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in
prefects involvement in management in schools; find out
the opportunities and challenges for Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in ensuring prudent financial
management in providing quality education and find out
the coping strategies for the challenges faced by
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in its
endeavor to enhance quality education in Kakamega
Central District. This study was based on a conceptual
framework showing opportunities and challenges for the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in the
enhancement of quality education in secondary
education. This study used descriptive survey design.
The study population consisted of one District Quality
Assurance and Standards Officer, 33 Head teachers and
330 Heads of departments. Saturated sampling
technique was used to select one Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards officer, 30 head teachers and
300 heads of departments. Questionnaires, in- depth
interviews, and document analysis guide were used to
collect data. Face validity of the instruments was
ascertained by experts in the Department of Educational
Management and Foundations at Maseno University.
Reliability of the instruments was established through
piloting in three schools that were not part of the study
sample. Quantitative data obtained from closed ended
questionnaire items was analyzed using descriptive
statistics in form of percentages and frequency counts.
Qualitative data obtained from open ended questions in
the questionnaires, in-depth interviews and document
analysis guide was analyzed on an ongoing process as
themes and sub themes emerged.
RESULTS
Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
The respondents in this study included the Headteachers,
Heads of Departments and the District Quality Assurance
and
Standards
Officer
whose
demographic
characteristics were as shown in Tables 1 and 2.
Twenty one (70%) were male headteachers while 9
(30%) were female headteachers. Most of the
headteachers, that is, 22 (73.3%) had B.ED degree
certificates and 5 (16.7%) had M.ED certificates and 3
(10%) were ATS. In terms of experience most
headteachers, 19 (63.3%) had an experience of less than
5 years, 5(26.7%) had an experience of 6 to 10 years and
3 (10%) had an experience of more than 11 years. This
1284 Educ. Res.
Table 1: Gender, Professional Qualifications and Headship Experience as
indicated by Headteachers (n=30)
Demographic characteristics
Gender
Male
Female
Professional Qualifications
ATS
B.ED
M.ED
Headship experience
0-5 years
6-10 years
11 and above
Frequency (f)
Percentage (%)
21
9
70.0
30.0
3
22
5
10.0
73.3
16.7
19
5
3
63.3
26.7
10.0
KEY: ATS – Approved Teachers Status, BED-Bachelor of Education, MEDMaster of Education
Table 2: Gender, Professional Qualifications, Teaching Experience, and Nature of Appointment of Heads of Departments
as indicated by Heads of Departments (n=300)
Demographic characteristics
Frequency (f)
Gender
Male
196
Female
104
Professional Qualifications
B.ED
229
Dip. ED
37
M.ED
18
ATS
15
No professional qualification
UT(KCSE)
1
Teachers experience
0-5 years
49
6-10 years
51
11 and above years
200
Nature of appointment as head of department
T.S.C appointment
142
School appointment
139
Voluntary
19
Percentage (%)
65.3
34.7
76.3
12.3
6.0
5.0
0.3
16.3
17.0
66.7
47.3
46.3
6.3
KEY: ATS - Approved Teachers Status, BED-Bachelor of Education, Dip. ED- Diploma in Education, UT- Untrained
teacher, MED- Master of Education, KCSE- Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education,T.S.C- Teachers Service
Commission
implied that most head teachers were not highly
experienced.
One hundred and ninety-six (65.3%) of the heads of
departments were male and 104 (34.7%) were female.
Most Heads of departments were Bachelor of Education
degree holders, that is, 229 (76.3%), 37 (12.3%) Diploma
in Education holders, 18(6.0%) were Master in Education
degree holders, 15(5.0%) were Approved Teachers
Status and 1(0.3%) Kenya Certificate of Secondary
Education holder was not a qualified teacher. Most heads
of departments 200(66.7%) had a teaching experience of
11 years and above 51(17.5%) had a teaching
experience of 6 to 10 years and 49(16.3%) and a
teaching experience of below 5 years. In terms of
appointments as heads of departments, 142(47.3%) were
Teachers service Commission appointees 139(46.3%)
were school appointees and 19(6.3%) and volunteered to
head departments.
From Table 2 majority of head of departments were
male showing a gender imbalance. In terms of
Watsulu and Simatwa 1285
Table 3: Types and Frequency of various Types of Schools Standards Assessment for Quality Assurance and
Standards between School 2005-2009 as indicated by Headteachers (n=30)
Types of standards Assessment
Panel
Panel
Educational Institutions registration
Educational Institutions registration
Subject based
Subject based
Mass
Block
Block
Block
Follow-up
Follow-up
Follow-up
Frequency (F)
once
Twice
Once
Twice
Once
Twice
Once
Once
Twice
Four times
Once
Twice
Thrice
professional qualifications, majority were first Degree
holders, meaning they were highly qualified to provide
quality education in secondary schools. Most of the
heads of departments had higher teaching experience
which implied that they were better placed to provide
better instructional leadership that could yield high quality
secondary school education in the district. Most heads of
departments were not Teachers Service Commission
appointees because most schools are relatively young
with small enrolments that called for fewer Teachers
Service Commission head of department appointments.
The District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer
had served in the district for less than two years and had
less teaching experience than most heads of
departments. Notwithstanding his short teaching
experience, was well versed in matters of schools
standards assessment as stipulated in the guidelines.
A notable demographic characteristic of headteachers
in Kakamega Central District was that headteachers had
generally less headship experiences. Most heads of
departments had high teaching experience. This implies
that unless the headteachers were assertive and well
inserviced they could easily suffer from inferiority
complex. This could make them less effective in providing
instructional leadership that is vital in the enhancement of
quality secondary education because they were
managing well experienced heads of departments.
The other notable demographic characteristic was the
gender imbalance. The academic leadership was male
dominated. Generally, male dominated leadership is
characterized by dictatorship. This autocratic leadership
enhances quality of education in situations where the
leaders are benevolent autocrats. Nevertheless, it was
generally observed that there were very little elements of
benevolences in autocratic instructional leadership.
Apathy was visible in a number of schools as was
inferred from the teachers’ reaction and actions during
Number of schools
10
2
7
1
3
3
6
2
4
1
3
1
1
Percentage (%)
33.3
6.6
23.3
3.3
10
10
20
6.6
13.2
3.3
10
3.3
3.3
the period of data collection.
Question 1: What is the frequency of the various
types of assessment carried out by the Quality
assurance and standards officers when they visit
schools in Kakamega Central District?
The responses to these research question were as
shown in Table 3.
From Table 3 for school year period 2005-2009 only a
few schools had been assessed. Thus in the school year
period of five years, panel assessment had been carried
out once in 10 (33.3%) schools and twice in 2 (6.6%)
schools; education institutions registration assessment
had been carried out once in 7 (23.3%) schools and twice
in (3.3%) in one school; subjects based assessment had
been carried out once in 3 (10%) schools and twice in
3(10%) schools; mass assessment had been carried out
once in 6 (20%) in schools: block assessment had been
carried out once in 2 (6.6%) schools, twice in 4 (13.2%)
schools and four times in 1 (3.3%) school; follow-up
assessment had been carried out once in 3 (10%)
schools, twice in one (3.3.%) school and thrice (3.3%) in
one school.
Question 2: What opportunities and challenges are
available for Quality Assurance and Standards
Officers in the enhancement of curriculum
implementation in secondary schools in Kakamega
Central District?
Headteachers and Heads of Departments were asked
to indicate and explain the opportunities and challenges
the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
faced in the enhancement of curriculum implementation.
1286 Educ. Res.
Table 4: Opportunities for Quality Assurance and Standards Officers in
Enhancement of Curriculum Implementation as indicated by Headteachers
(n=30) and Heads of Departments (n=300).
Opportunities
Observation of teachers in class
Scrutiny of lesson plans
Scrutiny of Schemes of work
Evaluation of records
Finance records
Previous Assessment Reports
Admission Records
Administration facilities
Tuition Facilities and resources
Boarding Facilities
School Routine
Teaching Time Table
Support Staff records
Headteachers
F
%
25
83.3
30
100
29
96.6
30
100
30
100
30
100
30
100
30
100
30
100
15
50
20
66.6
30
100
20
66.6
HOD
F
%
290 96.6
300 100
280 93.3
300 100
300 100
280 100
300 100
300 100
300 100
200 66.6
190 63.3
2
66.6
150
50
KEY: HOD- Head of Department, F- Frequency, %- Percentage
Table 5: Challenges for Quality Assurance and Standards in enhancement of Curriculum Implementation as
indicated by Headteachers (n=30) and Heads of Departments (n=300).
Challenges
Delay in providing feedback
Lack of follow-up
Inadequate Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards Staff
Lack of vehicles for transport
Ineffective regulations governing operations of Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards
Negative attitudes Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards personnel towards schools standards assessment
Their responses were as shown in Tables 4 and 5.
As indicated in Table 4, it was found out that
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards had a
number of opportunities to enhance curriculum
implementation
in
Kakamega
Central
District.
Observations of teachers in class were indicated by 25
(83.3%) headteachers and 290 (96.6%) heads of
departments; scrutiny of lesson plans by 30 (100%)
headteachers and 300 (100%)heads of departments;
scrutiny of schemes of work by 290 (96.6%)
headteachers and 280 (93.3%) heads of departments;
Evaluation of records, finance records, Admission
records finance records, Administration facilities and
Tuition facilities and resources by 30 (100%)
headteachers and 300 (100%) headteachers and 280
(93.3%) heads of departments; Boarding facilities by 15
(100%) headteachers and 200 (66.6%)heads of
departments; school routine by 20 (66.6%) headteachers
and 190 (63.3%) heads of departments; teaching time
table by 30 (100%) headteachers and 200(66.6%) heads
Headteachers
F
%
30
100
30
100
30
100
28
93.3
25
83.3
HOD
F
%
300
100
300
100
300
100
100 33.3
150
50
20
190
66.6
63.3
of departments and support staff records by 20(66.6%)
headteachers and150 (50%) heads of departments.
As indicated in Table 5, it was found out that
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards had
challenges that it faced in its endeavors in the
enhancement of curriculum implementation in Kakamega
Central District. These challenges included; Lack of
cooperation from teachers as was cited by 25 (83.3%)
headteachers and 200 (66.6%) heads of departments;
unavailability of lesson plans was noted by 28(93.3%)
headteachers and 280(93.3%) heads of departments;
inadequate time for all aspects of assessment by 30
(100%) headteachers and 290 (96.6%)heads of
departments, unproductive discussions with teachers
during assessment by 25 (83.3%) headteachers and
250(83.3%) heads of departments, poor infrastructure
inhibiting mobility by 28(93.3%) headteachers and 280
(93.3%) heads of departments; setting targets by 28
(93.3%) headteachers and 290 (96.6%) heads of
departments; delay in providing feedback by 30 (100%)
Watsulu and Simatwa 1287
Table 6: Challenges faced by Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in its endeavors
to enhance Prefects Body involvement in Management of Secondary Schools as indicated by
Headteachers (n=30) and Heads of Departments (n=300)
Challenge
Apprehension of prefects
Lack of co-operation from school administration
Ceiling effect
Headteachers
F
%
25
83.3
28
93.3
20
66.6
HOD
F
%
280 93.3
150
50
100 33.3
KEY: HOD- Head of Department, F- Frequency, %- Percentage
headteachers and 300 (100%) heads of departments;
lack of follow up by 30 (100%) headteachers and 300
(100%) heads of departments; inadequate Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards staff by 30 (100%)
headteachers and 300 (100%) heads of departments;
lack of vehicles for transport by 28 (83.3%) headteachers
and 100 (33.3%) heads of departments; ineffective
regulations governing operations of Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards 25 (83.3%) headteachers and
150 (50%) heads of departments; negative attitude by
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
personnel towards schools standards assessments 20
(66.6%) headteachers and 190 (63.3%) heads of
departments
Question 3: What challenges do Quality Assurance
and Standards Officers face in the enhancement of
prefects body involvement in management of
secondary schools in Kakamega Central District?
Headteachers and heads of departments were asked to
indicate the challenges Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards faced in its endeavors to enhance prefect
body involvement in the management of students in
secondary schools. Their responses were as shown in
Table 6.
As indicated in Table 6, it was found out that
challenges faced by Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards in enhancing prefects body involvement in
management of students to enhance quality education
included apprehension of prefects cited by 25 (83.3%)
headteachers and 280 (93%) heads of departments, lack
of co-operation from school administrators cited by 28
(93.3%) headteachers and 150 (50%) heads of
departments, ceiling effect was cited by 20(66.6%)
headteachers and 100 (33.3%) heads of departments.
Question 4: What opportunities and challenges do
the Quality Assurance and Standards Officers face in
the process of ensuring prudent management of
secondary school finances in Kakamega Central
District?
The responses to this research question were as shown
in Tables 7 and 8.
From Table 8 it can be noted that fees structure was
cited by 30 (100%) headteachers and 200(66.6%) Heads
of Departments as an opportunity for the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards to enhance quality
education. The other opportunities included annual
budget registers by 30 (100%) headteachers and
180(60%) heads of departments; books of accounts by
30 (100%) headteachers and 250(83.3%) heads of
departments; audit reports by 30(100%) headteachers
and 200(66.6%) heads of departments; trial balances by
30(100%) headteachers and 250 (83.3%) heads of
departments; school/bank accounts by 30(100%)
headteachers and 180(60%) heads of departments; staff
establishment by 25(83.3%) headteachers and
80(26.6%) heads of departments; court cases
by10(33.3%) headteachers and 10(3.3%) heads of
departments;
tender
committee
by
30(100%)
headteachers and 105(35%) heads of departments;
Parents Teachers Association projects by 28(93.3%)
headteachers and 90 (30%) heads of departments;
stores ledgers by 20 (66.6%) headteachers and 50
(16.6%) heads of departments and income generating
projects records by 20(66.6%) headteachers and
80(26.6%) heads of departments.
From Table 9, it can be noted that the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards faced the following
challenges in the process of ensuring prudent
management of secondary school finances: lack of time
to scrutinize financial documents as cited by 28(93.3%)
1288 Educ. Res.
Table 7: Opportunities for Quality Assurance and Standards in ensuring
Prudent Management of Secondary School Finances as cited by
Headteachers (n=30) and Heads of Departments (n=300)
Opportunity
Fees structure
Annual Budget Registers
•
Fees
•
Counterfoil receipt books
•
Postage
•
Money order
•
Cheque
•
Imprest
•
Telephone
•
Debtors
•
Creditors
•
Rent
•
Commitment
Books of accounts
Audit reports
•
Tuition cash books
•
Operation cashbooks
•
School fund
Trial balances
School/Bank accounts
•
Tuition Account
•
Operation Account
•
School fund account
Staff establishment
Court cases records
Tender committee
PTA projects records
Stores ledger
Income generating projects
records
Headteachers
(F)
(%)
30
100
30
100
HOD
(F)
(%)
200 66.6
180
60
30
30
100
100
250
200
83.3
66.6
30
30
100
100
250
180
83.3
60
25
10
30
28
20
22
20
83.3
33.3
100
93.3
66.6
73.3
66.6
80
10
105
90
50
40
80
26.6
3.3
35
30
16.6
13.3
26.6
KEY: HOD- Head of Department, F- frequency, % - Percentage
Table 9: Challenges for Quality Assurance and Standards in Ensuring Prudent Management of Secondary
School Finances as cited by Headteachers (n=30) Heads of Departments (n=300)
Challenges
Lack of time to scrutinize financial documents
Shortage of auditors
Incomplete financial accounting document like payment vouchers
Use of unqualified accounts personnel in schools
Delays in submitting books of accounts for auditing and getting
feedback
Lack of cooperation from some headteachers
KEY: HOD- Head of Department, F- frequency, % - Percentage
Headteachers
(F)
(%)
28
93.3
30
100
HOD
(F)
(%)
100 33.3
80
26.6
25
20
25
83.3
66.6
83.3
20
202
10
6.6
67.3
3.3
20
66.6
30
10
Watsulu and Simatwa 1289
Table 10: Strategies for coping with challenges faced by Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in its
endeavors to enhance the Quality of Secondary Education as indicated by Headteachers (n=30) and heads of
departments (n=300)
Strategies
Hire more Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards Personnel
In service Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards Personnel
Review regulations governing operations
Avail adequate transport for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards personnel
Change of attitude of Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
Change of attitude of headteachers and teachers
Development of staff capacity building policy
Headteachers
(F)
(%)
30
100
20
66.6
30
100
30
100
HOD
(F)
(%)
300
100
250 83.3
300
100
300
100
30
30
25
300
300
200
100
100
83.3
100
100
66.6
KEY: HOD- Head of Department, F- frequency, % - Percentage
headteachers and 100(33.3%)heads of departments;
shortage of auditors by 30(100%) headteachers and
80(26.6%) heads of departments; incomplete financial
accounting documents by 25(83.3%) headteachers and
20(6.6%) heads of departments; use of unqualified
accounts personnel by 20 (66.6%) headteachers and
202(67.3%) heads of departments; delays in submitting
books of accounts for auditing by 25(83.3%)
headteachers and 10(3.3%) heads of departments; lack
of co-operation from some headteachers by20(66.6%)
headteachers and 30(10%) heads of departments;
delayed reports on audited accounts by 30(100%)
headteachers and 10(3.3%) heads of departments.
Question 5: What are the coping strategies for the
challenges faced by the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in the enhancement of
quality education in Kakamega Central District?
The responses to this question were as shown in Table
10.
As shown in Table 10, the following strategies for
coping with challenges faced by Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in its endeavors to enhance
quality of secondary education were cited; Hire more
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
personnel by 30 (100%) headteachers and 300(100%)
heads of departments; inservice Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards Personnel by 20(66.6%)
headteachers and 250(83.3%) heads of departments;
review regulations governing operations 30(100%)
headteachers and 300(100%) heads of departments;
avail adequate transport for Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards by 30(100%) headteachers
and 300(100%) heads of departments; change of attitude
of Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards by
30(100%) headteachers and 300(100%) heads of
departments; change of attitude of headteachers and
teachers by30(100%) headteachers and 300(100%)
heads of departments; development of staff capacity
building policy by 25(83.3%) headteachers and
200(66.6%) heads of departments.
DISCUSSION
Panel assessment involved full diagnostic and situational
analysis of the schools. Assessment is an important part
of the provision of quality education as it is one of the
essential functions for the operation of good schools. The
headteachers 12 (39.9%) whose schools had undergone
panel assessment explained that the assessments had
been carried out with a view to examining the strengths
and weaknesses of the schools and suggesting
interventions that were to be administered for the
improvement of educational standards. This finding is
consistent with what is laid out in the handbook for
inspection of educational Institutions (Republic of Kenya,
2000). They indicated further that the panels usually
consisted of the Provincial Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer, Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards, Zonal Quality Assurance and Standard Officer
and Provincial Auditor from the provincial director of
education’s office and district auditor from the district
education office. This finding is consistent with the
requirement that a good panel should be composed of a
team of specialists that is subject specialists, Quality
Assurance Officers, auditors among others (Republic of
Kenya, 2000). It was also noted that notices were not
given, hence most headteachers and teachers were
caught unawares. Such assessments cannot be more
meaningful and moreover were carried out in one day,
when the durations should have been at least two days
as recommended (Republic of Kenya, 2000). Whereas
this is the main type of assessment that should be carried
out after every three years, as pointed out by all
30(100%) headteachers during interviews, only 2(6.6%)
1290 Educ. Res.
of the headteachers indicated that this condition had
been fulfilled, though no secondary school had been
assessed three times. Panel assessment can enhance
quality education if it is conducted meaningfully. Lack of it
may be one of the factors that have affected adversely
the quality of secondary school education in Kakamega
Central District as indicated by poor Kenya Certificate of
Secondary Education results for the same school year
period 2005-2009.
Educational Institutions Registration Assessments were
carried out on the requests of Board of Governor’s
through the District Education Board. The headteachers
8(26.4%) whose schools had undergone educational
institutions registration assessments indicated that
assessment was meant for new schools that sought
registration and old schools that required re-registration
for change of status. During the interview, Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards pointed out that “most
secondary schools in practice change status without
seeking re-registration’ they attributed this to the schools’
inability to meet the required standards. This happens
unnoticed because the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards is not efficient and effective. Situational
analysis based on Kenya Certificate of Secondary
Education. results indicated that laxity in educational
institutions registration assessment may be a contributor
to poor quality secondary education in Kakamega
Central. Thus some schools which were by registration
single streams were found to be double streams or even
three streams instead of two streams. Such schools were
found to be poorly staffed and lacked the required
infrastructure and teaching-learning resource. In fact 10
(33.3%) schools had unofficial boarding status for
students who wished to board.
Subject
based
Assessments
are
specialized
assessments carried out by subject Quality Assurance
Officers in their area of specialization. For the school year
period of 2005-2009 only 3 (10%) of the schools had
undergone subject based assessment which is vital in
curriculum implementation and particularly where
performance trends are not impressive. Kakamega
Central District having been one such district with poor
performance trend (District Education Officer’s Office
Kakamega Central District, 2007). One of the
headteachers asserted during the interview that ‘In fact
reflecting on factors that prompt subject based
assessment, all schools should have been assessed at
least once in the last five school years.’ Mass
Assessment is general assessment whose members are
derived from the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards and other interested parties. Mass
Assessment carried out in the district involved only
6(20%) schools for purposes of school awards including
infrastructure improvement funds and Foreign Donations
awards. Mass assessment should have been carried in
all secondary schools so as to identify objectively needy
schools. This would contribute to quality education as
school needs would be addressed accordingly.
Block Assessments are useful in sampling standards at
district levels. Seven (23.3%) Headteachers whose
schools were involved in block assessment emphasized
during interviews that it was not of direct benefits to their
schools. Notwithstanding the purposes of this type of
assessment, these assessments are worthwhile since
they provide candid information on factors that affect the
quality of education. Follow-up Assessments are carried
out as a follow-up of an earlier assessment, usually panel
assessment,
to
determine
to
what
extent
recommendations have been implemented. The 5
(16.6%) of the headteachers whose schools had had
follow-up assessments done stated that these
assessments are undertaken until the schools met the
Ministry of Education’s benchmarks. Indeed, follow-up
assessments should be mandatory to enhance the quality
of education particularly in districts like Kakamega
Central where most physical facilities in most schools
were in a state of dilapidation.
Observation of teachers in class was a vital opportunity
for Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards to
enhance curriculum implementation. Headteachers and
heads of departments explained that it involves
observation in class in which case the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards has a chance to focus
on the strengths and weakness of the professionally
trained teachers with a view to assisting them on quality
lesson presentations. A Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer is expected to observe classes and
hold conferences with the teachers about possible ways
that may strengthen their teaching. Essentially this is a
practical and professional approach to the enhancement
of curriculum implementation. Scrutiny of lesson plans by
the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards was
an important opportunity in the realm of quality curriculum
implementation. Headteachers and heads of departments
asserted that lesson plans help to guide the teacher in
lesson notes preparation in terms of content, delivery
skills and the required teaching learning resources for
quality education. Quality lesson plans somewhat
guarantee quality curriculum implementation and this
enhances quality of education as evidenced in high
academic achievements by students. Scrutiny of
schemes of work was equally an important opportunity for
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards to
enhance
quality
curriculum
implementation.
Headteachers and heads of departments explained that
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards can use
it to help teachers develop and execute quality outlines in
all the subjects. Lesson plans are based on schemes of
work and hence quality lesson plans. Teachers find them
useful in enhancing good syllabus coverage which is in
an indicator of quality education. Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards could use evaluation records
by advising teachers on how to use them properly. Hence
evaluation of records including quality of tests given,
Watsulu and Simatwa 1291
mode of correction and provision of feedback can
enhance provision of quality education in Kakamega
Central District. One of the headteachers during the
interview stated that interactive discussions between
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards and
teachers on evaluation records can enhance the quality
of education in the district. Heads of departments also
indicated that evaluation records provide invaluable
opportunities for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards to enhance quality of education.
Headteachers and heads of departments were
emphatic on proper financial management records as a
vital opportunity for the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards in the enhancement of quality education in
Kakamega Central District. The exercise which includes
scrutiny of receipt books, budget, fees structure, stores
ledgers and commitment registers was cited by 30(100%)
Head teachers and 300(100%) heads of departments as
an exercise carried out during the assessment exercise.
Ministry of Education Science and Technology (2004)
underscores this by saying that to enhance quality
education the Quality Assurance and Standard Office
should set out to ensure efficient management of the
financial resources and its contribution to education
standards. Headteachers and heads of departments
indicated that previous assessment records were
invaluable opportunities for the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards Officers in their endeavors to
enhance quality education. It involves scrutiny of previous
assessment records noting various recommendations
made and ascertaining whether these have been
adhered to. In the interview with the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards it was clear that it helps as a
build up on performance and ensures continuity towards
achieving quality education. The head teachers
interviewed confirmed that these reports were vital for
internal benchmarking. However many schools are
denied this opportunity as indicated in Table 3 with many
schools being visited only once or not at all by the
directorate in 5years.Headteachers and heads of
departments pointed out those administrative facilities
were opportunities for Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards to enhance quality in education. These
are physical facilities from which preparation, teaching
and evaluation of students work takes place. They
include office space and furniture. The Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards agreed that this helps
to promote the quality of education, but was quick to add
that a number of schools in the district had posted
improved results with meager resources. The
headteachers reiterated that it was unfair to have a
school with all it needs and more to competing with an
upcoming school which does not even have offices and
staffrooms.
This opportunity was explained by headteachers and
heads of departments as one that helps the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards focus on the presence
and use of relevant facilities that enhance quality of
education. Text book ratio should be 1 to 2 to ensure that
all students access the books. Classrooms according to
government recommendations should be 7m by 9.5m to
accommodate 40 students build upwind from the
laboratories (Republic of Kenya, 2001). The laboratories
should have their double doors opening outward; have
fire extinguishers and all buildings painted in bright colors
to enhance vision. The pit latrines should be securely
constructed at least 60 feet deep, with 7 closets for every
50 students. Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards agreed that this is an opportunity in which
guidance to improve quality of education can be given.
These facilities which include the dormitories, abolition
block and dinning hall were indicated as opportunities for
the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in
the enhancement of quality education. The Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards can use this
opportunity to advise on how best these facilities can be
used to provide quality education. This finding is
consistent with the views of Nero (1995) who states that
space and equipment are indicators of a quality school.
School routine was viewed by headteachers and heads
of departments as an important opportunity for
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in the
enhancement of quality education. This involves the set
routine that indicates what should be done, at what time
and by whom. If well blended, class work and cocurricular activities energize the students and improve
their level of understanding. This opportunity if well
utilized as advised by Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards Officers can help enhance the quality of
education in the district. Headteachers and heads of
departments indicated that a teaching timetable was an
important opportunity for Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards to enhance quality education. The school
timetable contains the academic and co-curricular
activities carried out in a day. The Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards can use a teaching timetable
to advise teachers on how to ensure that lessons start
and end at the right time and that timetables are student
friendly. Headteachers and heads of departments noted
that these records provide an important opportunity for
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards to advice
on suitability of support staff in the enhancement of
quality education. These records include employees,
duties assigned to each, worker student ratio. During the
interviews most of the headteachers agreed that the role
of the non-teaching staff cannot be overemphasized. The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards saw this
as an opportunity because he noted that schools where
the administration co-ordinates well with the non-teaching
staff good results are realized. Indeed assessment brings
about improvement in the institutions by working with
people who work with the students.
Lack of co-operation from the teachers was seen as a
challenge by the headteachers a nd Heads of depart-
1292 Educ. Res.
ments. During the interviews, the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards cited this challenge noting that
many teachers still perceived the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards as faultfinding and were
therefore unwilling to share information with them. The
headteachers who were interviewed revealed that though
the trend was gradually changing many Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards still used the
authoritarian mode to access the teachers thus creating
fear and unwillingness to co-operate. This indicates that
even with the change to the directorate of quality
assurance and standards a lot is yet to be done to
improve this relationship. Unavailability of lesson plans
which involves the subject teacher doing a detailed layout
of how exactly the lesson will go and giving details on
content was noted to be very unpopular among the
teachers. The headteachers who were interviewed
revealed that many teachers saw them as repetitive and
unnecessary paper work. The Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in agreement noted that most
teachers argued that the lesson notes would suffice.
Notwithstanding, the views of headteachers and heads of
departments on lesson plans are important as they
require the teachers to prepare their lessons well based
on the objectives of each lesson and be able to evaluate
them. Unproductive discussions with the teachers during
assessment were observed by headteachers and heads
of departments as a challenge. Two of the headteachers
who were interviewed pointed out categorically that:
‘Often these discussions were unproductive because
some of their recommendations were unreasonable. For
instance the need to have both lesson plans and lesson
notes which were contested by most teachers.’ The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards on the
other hand blamed this on the teachers’ status quo and
unwillingness to accept change. Poor infrastructure
inhibiting mobility was viewed by headteachers and
heads of departments as a major challenge. Most of the
schools were new and inaccessible making it difficult for
the assessment to be carried out by the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards in the enhancement of
quality education. The Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards Officers said that the bad roads coupled
with lack of transport makes it very difficult for them to
visit schools as they should. The Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards stated clearly that ‘there is no
vehicle designated to them.’
Target setting was considered by headteachers and
heads of departments as a challenge faced by the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in the
enhancement of quality education. The interview with the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
revealed that many schools shy away from setting targets
in fear of being held accountable. He said that
stakeholders seem to shift blame about who should be
held accountable. The headteachers added that there
were many players and as much as targets are set failure
by one team gives negative results. Therefore it was
difficult for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards to convince teachers to set targets. One Head
of department categorically stated that; ‘Teachers feel
this would lead to self victimization when the targets were
not met.’ In the interview with the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards it was noted that it takes long
to give feedback to schools because of a minimal number
of officers with overwhelming work load. Red tape was
cited as another cause of these delays. This was
confirmed by the headteachers who agreed that lack of
impact on the quality of education could be related to lack
of attention given to the follow up of supervision.
Inadequate Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards staff was cited by headteachers and heads of
departments as a challenge for Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in the enhancement of quality
education. The district is understaffed and unable to run
efficiently. The number of Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards has not grown as fast as that
of schools leaving one Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards with 33 secondary schools thus slowing
the assessment process. Infact the practice was that
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards were out
sourced from the neighboring districts to carry out the
assessment in the district.
Lack of vehicles for transport was cited by
headteachers and heads of departments as a serious
predicament to Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards operations. Transport for the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards was inadequate as
indicated by 28 (93.3%) headteachers and 100 (33.3%)
heads of departments. Often the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards have to rely on schools, other
departments in the Ministry of Education, other Ministries
or public vehicles for transport. This is prohibitive and
inconveniencing thus restricting frequent supervisory
visits. The policy that Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards can visit a school without notice was cited
by headteachers and heads of departments as a
challenge for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards in the enhancement of quality education. The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
concurred with the views of the headteachers and heads
of departments noting the presence of regulations
governing their operations and emphasized the
expectations that all officers should operate within them.
He added though that because of irregular or delayed
inservicing a few may deviate from the norm. This finding
is consistent with Hogwood and Gunn (1984) who state
that the success of educational policies depends on their
strategic formulation and implementation.
The
headteachers agreed that a number of these regulations
are flawed with officers ambushing schools in the name
of a supervision exercise. Many they noted come to the
school with an already formed attitude. This challenge
was cited by headteachers and heads of departments.
Watsulu and Simatwa 1293
They explained that this was because the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards never considered the
value of assessment as the follow up was very poor or
hardly done. Moreover there were many intervening
factors that hindered the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards from realizing reasonable achievement. It
was felt that there has been mere change of name but
what the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
hold in view in terms of previous practices still stands.
This finding is consistent with views of Education For All
(2005) that a new post description is by far not sufficient
to change the culture of service assessors who always
have exercised control and have seen such control as a
form of power. They cannot easily be transformed into
actors offering collegial support to teachers. This is
simply to change structure and terminology other than
transform ingrained cultures and traditions.
Prefects are charged with the responsibility of
supervising the students under the guidance of the
teachers to ensure that school rules are adhered to.
During the interview the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards cited that in many schools prefects were
the administration’s pets with a lot of powers and
priviledges. Often, he added, they are used as spies by
the teacher. They are therefore not willing to say what
may be considered derogatory about their teachers or
schools. Daily Nation (29th July 2001) underscores this by
noting that teachers are too preoccupied with other things
and increasingly delegating plenty of routine supervisory
work to prefects. If taken too, far this trend can be
dangerous. In their responses, the headteachers said
that prefects are always treated as suspect by other
students and even some teachers making it impossible
for them to show willingness to work effectively especially
with strangers. As such Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards find it difficult to solicit any information that
would help it to offer useful advice to enhance prefects’
involvement in management of secondary schools. On
being interviewed the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards revealed that because of the close link
with some of the school administrators, the students feel
a sense of loyalty towards them and in response to their
sharing with Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards will only say what is expected of a head
teacher. The headteachers felt that some prefects may
respond as expected to questions that may seem tailored
by the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards to
solicit given responses. Such information cannot help the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards to assist
prefect involvement in school management for
enhancement of quality education. The Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards explained that many
headteachers were fearful of allowing sufficient
interaction between the officers and the prefects lest
information considered classified is revealed. The
headteachers on the other hand insisted that the prefects
were free to interact with the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards but only found it difficult to
share with total strangers. Unfortunately the Directorate
of Quality Assurance and Standards fail to get a chance
to offer advice that could help in the enhancement of
quality education.
Fee structures are documents outlining the fees per
student in the year reflected against all the vote heads.
According to 30 (100%) headteachers and 200 (66.6%)
heads of departments this is an opportunity of ensuring
prudent management of finances. According to the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards, this
opportunity enables them to discuss with the
administrators ways of ensuring that the fees is well
collected, banked and put to good use. The headteachers
concurred with this line of thought and emphasized that
this is a vital process to ensure that funds purposed to
enhance quality education are available. Annual budgets
are documents showing the anticipated income and
expenditure in a school in a given year.30 (100%)
headteachers and 200(66.6%) heads of departments
agreed with this. On visiting the school the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards have an opportunity to
discuss the budget with efforts to channeling most funds
to the provision of quality education. The headteachers
agreed with this line of thought during the interview.
Heads of departments also concurred with the views of
the headteachers and Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards. Attendance registers are the documents
holding names of all the students in a given school per
class. The daily attendance register helps to monitor
students’ presence in schools. Availability in school is
paramount to provision of quality education. The
monitoring of this availability helps the school address
issues of absence from school. Registers provide an
opportunity for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards to give informed opinion on the school
population and income and how they can be used to the
student’s benefit.
Books of accounts are the various documents used to
record income and expenditure. The purpose is to ensure
that any such funds are channeled towards the provision
of quality education. This is in line with Ministry of
Education Science and Technology (2004) that states
that to enhance quality education the Quality Assurance
and Standard Officer should set out to ensure efficient
management of the financial resources and its
contribution to education standards. The Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards emphasized the
importance of scrutinizing these documents during visits
saying it gives the headteachers especially those new in
this field to implement advice given to enhance quality
education. The headteachers commended this stating
that most headteachers have minimal knowledge of
accounts and this helps them improve the quality of
education. Audit reports are financial reports given by
government auditors after the scrutiny of all the financial
documents of a given school. They give a detailed
1294 Educ. Res.
account of how the monies collected in a school have
been spent and advise accordingly. Ministry of Education
Science and Technology (2004) emphasizes the need to
access whether all the key record keeping functions are
covered by the methods that the schools are expected to
use. The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
agreed that the scrutiny of the reports is an opportunity
for them to give proper guidance on how best to use the
funds to achieve quality education. The headteachers in
the interview agreed that this opportunity offers a
valuable learning process. Heads of departments
similarly indicated that audit reports are invaluable
opportunities for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards to enhance optimum utilization of funds to
enhance quality education. Trial balances are the profit
and loss sheets. They enable the school’s management
to follow expenditure on various voteheads and ensure
that funds intended for the improvement of quality
education are not spent on any other vote head. The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards use this
opportunity to advice accordingly. The headteachers see
this as an opportunity that gives quality guidance to
headteachers for prudent financial management that
leads to the provision of quality education. All schools are
expected to open the following bank accounts; Tuition,
Operations and school fund to ensure that funds meant
for a given vote head are spent as proposed. This
opportunity enables Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards to identify and discuss areas of concern. The
headteachers agree that this opportunity cannot be
overemphasized because lack of knowledge of financial
issues is detrimental to the provision of quality education.
Records showing staff establishment are vital
opportunities for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards to advice on how best to use the staff in the
enhancement of quality education. Headteachers, heads
of departments and the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards asserted that they are noble opportunities
as staff are major players in the provision of quality
education. These are important opportunities because
there is a common shortage of staff in schools, and
schools have limited finances to hire such staff. The
school creditors and other service providers may feel
disgruntled and take a school to court. While doing an
assessment the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards noted that the scrutiny of such documents is
vital in terms of advising the school against panic and
thus spending funds meant for other activities intended to
improve the quality of education. The headteachers
pointed out this as a crucial opportunity to guide schools
on legal issues that would otherwise cost the school a lot
of money which would otherwise be used to improve the
quality of education. The tender committee of a school is
charged with the responsibility of identifying the right
commodities at the best price possible for consumption at
the school. The Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards confirmed that the knowledge of the tender
committee reports provided an opportunity to them for
matters pertaining to tender board regulations
headteachers and heads of departments noted that many
times these regulations are abused costing the school a
lot of money that would otherwise have been used for the
provision of quality education on the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards advice. The Parents
Teachers Association has the responsibility to prioritize
the school projects with focus on the provision of quality
education. Republic of Education (2004) states that the
quality assurance and standards officers should ensure
proper management of finances by ascertaining that
school improvement programmes are in place. This
opportunity gives a chance to the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards Officers to find a forum in
which projects are identified with purpose to enhance
quality education. If this is not done there can be
tendencies to pursue projects that have no or very
minimal impact on the provision of quality education. The
headteachers and heads of departments noted that this
opportunity if well utilized can help ensure that schools
focus on projects that enhance the quality of education.
The idea of schools becoming self reliant without
overburdening parents cannot be overemphasized. This
can then give the school extra funds to pump into the
provision of quality education. Income generating projects
records are a vital opportunity for Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards to advice on how to improve
on them with the view to enhancing quality education.
Headteachers and heads of departments concurred that
these opportunities are invaluable. Overally, the many
discussed opportunities for Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in the prudent financial
management of school funds are fundamental to quality
education. An omission of any of these opportunities can
adversely affect the quality of education in schools. No
matter how knowledgeable and skilled the school
managers may be, failure to identify, seize and utilize
these opportunities can only be detrimental to the
provision of quality education.
During the interview with the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards, lack of time to scrutinize
Financial Documents was cited as a challenge. According
to Education For All (2005) assessors cannot spend
much time in schools because of their administrative
tasks. Some are local
Representatives of Ministry of Education and have
other duties few of which have anything to do with their
mandate. The Headteachers complained that it was
difficult to do a thorough and holistic scrutiny of schools
financial documents in such a short time. Many times the
auditors gave superficial reports. The headteachers
blatantly stated that the time set aside for this important
duty was minimal forcing some officers to simply pick out
mistakes and use those to form an opinion. The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards agreed
that many times they visited a school in the company of
Watsulu and Simatwa 1295
only one auditor, making it difficult for him to do a proper
scrutiny of the finance documents. The headteachers and
heads of departments emphasized the fact that auditors
are inadequate for a useful exercise. Headteachers
added that even in normal auditing the books of accounts
take too long to be audited. The Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards noted that despite the
inadequate time, many times the auditors got to schools
only to find missing or incomplete financial documents.
This makes it very difficult for the officers to effectively
evaluate these records and advice accordingly. In this
respect Hughes and Ubben (1990) emphasized need to
increase the degree of accountability of schools towards
the stakeholders. The headteachers consented insisting
that this was a very important docket that required alert
accounts officers who are rare to find in schools. The
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards said that
many schools used personnel who were under qualified
and thus unable to provide the expected services. These
officers are not able to advise the school administrators
well towards proper utilization of funds to provide quality
education. One headteacher categorically acknowledged
this challenge noting that often they are forced to double
up as financial officers despite their many duties and
responsibilities to ensure provision of adequate records.
They cited under qualified accounts officers as a
stumbling block in the provision of adequate services for
quality education.
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
Officer said that often schools took as many as 5 years to
submit books of accounts for auditing. At this time a lot of
financial mistakes will have been made making it a real
challenge to amend the situation. Two of the
headteachers agreed with this challenge but said that
even after the books are submitted for auditing it takes a
long time before feedback is received. Many a times it is
overtaken by events.
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
Officer noted as a challenge the unwillingness of some
headteachers to give information vital to necessitate
adequate advice in fear of being victimized. He said that
evaluation recommendations always have an impact on
the position and power of different actors and those who
feel that their authority is under threat will unavoidably
oppose reforms. On interviewing them one headteacher
interviewed wondered how one can judge the
performance of a school on the basis of a single visit.
They said that some auditors took to the auditing
exercise with preconceived ideas and very little could be
done to change these opinions. They argued that there is
a lot of suspicion in the exercise creating a lot of
discomfort. Because of the overwhelming work load, and
the fact that some recommendations demand action from
other authorities in the ministry, the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards Officer agreed that it often
takes a long time, up to a year to give the said feedback.
Many times this is overtaken by events with damage
already done.
Overally these challenges deny schools an opportunity
to receive the well deserved assessment from the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards that
would drastically improve the quality of education in the
district Headteachers emphasized that there is need to
hire more personnel. There has been an increase in the
number of schools and teachers which is not
accompanied by an equal number in expansion of the
supervisors. This makes the supervisors have too many
schools under their jurisdiction thus inability to offer
quality supervision. Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officers require inservice to help with the ever
changing curriculum and use appropriate approaches
and skill. Normally, Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards are simply appointed from among practicing
teachers who actually are ill prepared to serve in
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards in all
cases they are simply given guidelines and inducted by
the experienced members of Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards. One of the headteachers
remarked that ‘one of my teachers was appointed to
serve as Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
when he actually was not a performer’. The heads of
departments concurred with the headteachers views.
Regulations governing operations of the directorate of
quality assurance and standards should be improved to
enable the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer give beneficial supervision. Currently
they are still using guidelines and policies of education
Act cap 211which were meant for the defunct
inspectorate. Moreover, some of the officers have only
changed the title. Arrangements should be made to
ensure that the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officers have reliable and sufficient means of
transport to facilitate assessment trips. As the Directorate
of Quality Assurance and Standards stated, lack of
transport is a major hindrance in the provision of this
important service. This would boost their morale and
motivate them to operate well. This would enable them
cover more schools and strive to meet their standards.
A new post description is by far not sufficient to change
the culture of a service provider. There is need to inservice the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer and help change the power culture
ingrained in them to a more collegial approach to
assessment. The Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officer on being interviewed expressed
concern over the authoritarian approach of some of the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards Officers
which he said waters down the efforts of the other
officers. For the Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officers to be effective, they need to realize
that prior to appointment they were classroom teachers
and teachers expect them to be friendly but firm,
visionary and vibrant. For a long time, the headteachers
and other teachers have perceived the Directorate of
1296 Educ. Res.
Quality Assurance and Standards Officer as fault finders.
Two headteachers said that almost always the
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards seem to
derive a lot of joy in embarrassing the teachers and
specifically the headteachers when they are pointing out
mistakes. The teachers require change of attitude to
enhance beneficial teamwork since they must work
together. Teachers should not view them as non
performers prior to their appointments as Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards Officers. They should
rather view them as custodians of standards. Staff
require in servicing to acquire new skills vital to enable
them provide the teachers with quality guidance. A
number of things have changed in the teaching
profession including new subjects, new teaching
methodologies and the Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards Officer need to be well prepared to give
the teachers sufficient guidance to the provision of quality
education. If they are properly trained as noted by two of
the heads of departments then they will earn respect and
will fit in well in their new capacities. One headteacher
recommended that they need one year training in which
practicum should be inbuilt. Overally these strategies if
put in place would make Directorate of Quality Assurance
and Standards a classic profession with a uniform
approach that would be respected and appreciated by all
the stakeholders in education.
CONCLUSION
In the period between 2005 and 2009 the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards Officers carried out the
following forms of assessment in Kakamega Central
District; Panel assessment, educational institutional
registration assessment, subject based assessment,
mass assessment, block assessment and follow-up
assessment. In this period 2005= 2009, 44 assessments
were carried out. However more than 67% of the schools
were not assessed at all 44 times.
There were many opportunities for Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards such as observation of
teachers in class, scrutiny of lesson plans and scrutiny of
schemes of work, finance records, tuition facilities and
staff establishment records to enhance quality of
secondary education. These opportunities were used in
the schools that had been assessed. However the
schools that had not been assessed did not benefit from
these opportunities.
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
faced many challenges such as unavailability of lesson
plans and poor infrastructure inhibiting mobility, lack of
vehicles for transport, lack of time to scrutinize financial
documents, shortage of auditors, incomplete financial
accounts documents, use of unqualified accounts
personnel in schools, delays in submitting books of
accounts for audit and lack of co-operation by some
headteachers in the process of school standards
assessments. The limited school assessments to
12(40%) schools for the period 2005-2009 may be
attributed to these challenges.
Hiring more Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Officers, inservicing Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards
personnel, reviewing
regulations governing operations, availing adequate
transport for Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards personnel, change of attitude of Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards, change of attitude for
teachers and headteachers and developing capacity
building policy were the coping strategies suggested for
the enhancement of quality secondary education. If
implemented these strategies would improve the quality
of assessment process in schools.
RECOMMENDATIONS
With regard to types and frequency of various types of
assessment in schools:
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
should ensure that panel assessment is carried out in
every school at least once in every 3 years and there
should be a follow up assessment within a year to
ascertain that all recommendations have been adhered
to.
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
should ensure that subject based standards assessment
is carried out more frequently in every school to enhance
academic performance.
With regard to opportunities for Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards in enhancing curriculum
implementation to promote quality education in
Kakamega Central District:
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
should spend more quality time in schools to ensure that
all the relevant documents including lesson plans,
records of work covered and financial documents are
thoroughly scrutinized so that they could be able to give
sufficient advice.
The headteachers should put to optimum use
administration facilities, tuition facilities and resources
and boarding facilities.
On challenges for Quality Assurance and Standards in
the enhancement of Quality Secondary Education in
Kakamega Central District:
Teachers and headteachers should be inserviced to
change their attitudes towards the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards and see them as custodians of
quality education with whom they have to team up to
improve results in the district.
Headteachers should ensure that teachers implement
the curriculum as per the government expectations and
prepare and use lesson plans, set targets and keep
records of work.
Watsulu and Simatwa 1297
The government should ensure that all the schools in
the district are accessible and provide the Directorate of
Quality Assurance and Standards with sufficient means
of transport to enable them access the schools.
Quality assurance and standards officers should be
more effective in carrying out their duties in schools by
giving feedback on time and using a collegial approach in
their sharing with the teachers.
With regard to the opportunities for quality assurance
and standards in ensuring prudent management of
secondary schools finances:
Headteachers should adhere to government policies as
required and ensure that all the relevant financial
documents are in school and are availed on demand.
School management boards should ensure that all
committees in schools are constituted as per the
requirements of the Ministry of Education including tender
board and the parents’ teachers associations; and
inducted into the skills of proper utilization of funds.
The government should ensure that the district has a
state council who will give legal advice to the school to
save them from exorbitant fees charged by advocates in
court cases.
With regard to the challenges for quality assurance and
standards in ensuring prudent management of finances in
schools:
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
should allocate sufficient time to enable proper scrutiny of
all financial documents to enable them give meaningful
advice.
The government should recruit and in-service more
Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards Officers
to meet the demands of the ever increasing number of
secondary schools.
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
should work expeditiously to give feedback within a year
so that their advice remains relevant to the schools
concerned.
The Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
need to be inserviced to change their assessment
approach in dealing with uncooperative headteachers
and view headteachers as members of a team geared
towards improving the quality of education in the district
through prudent financial management.
With regard to the strategies for coping with the
challenges for quality assurance and Standards in order
to enhance the quality of secondary education in
Kakamega Central District:
The Ministry of Education should hire and inservice
more Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards
Officers in the tasks of quality assurance and standards.
The Ministry of Education should review regulations
governing operations of the Directorate of Quality
Assurance and Standards to suit the changing times.
The Ministry of Education should assign the Directorate
of Quality Assurance and Standards sufficient transport
to facilitate the assessment programmes.
The headteachers and teachers should change their
attitude towards Directorate of Quality Assurance and
Standards Oficer’s and view them as partners in
enhancement of quality education.
The headteachers should facilitate school standards
assessments by providing vehicles for transport and also
providing complete financial support.
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