Factors influencing performance of women headteachers in primary schools in Westlands District, Nairobi County

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This was a cross-sectional descriptive study on factors influencing performance of women head teachers in primary schools in Westlands district Nairobi County. The study sought to explore the school and community-based challenges facing female head teachers and was guided by Afro-centric theory of leadership and management. The study used a sample of thirteen female head teachers who were purposively selected for in-depth interviews. Similarly, purposive sampling was used to select key informants for expert interviews. Data collected was analysed thematically and verbatim used alongside the themes to amplify the informants' voices. The study findings indicate that female teachers perform array of roles over human and material resources, management roles and control of introductions system as well as maintaining the school discipline. School based factors affecting female head teachers were found to cut across the uncooperative nature of the male staff members as well those in the governing boards and committees, delays in government funding for the school projects and material supplies, increased pupil ratio, discrimination by the male educational heads in the district especially at teacher deployment request. With !espect to community based factors, the study established that perceptions, attitudes and gendered roles of males and females has created a disharmony between the male teachers/community members weigh negatively on female head teachers. The study concludes that community and school based factors interact in a mutually reinforcing manner thus greatly affect the administrative functions of the female head teachers. Similarly, the burden of family care, dual teaching and administrative duties are found to challenge the efficiency of the primary female head teachers. However, the study notes that the government's move to introduce compulsory administration and management course for the head teachers plays a significant role in improving the skills necessary for successful school management. The study recommends that the government through the ministry of education should mount sustained community sensitization programme on supporting the female head teachers in realising the chook goals and do away with retrogressive cultural perceptions about the females' leadership abilities. Similarly, there is need to increase the uptake of management courses by junior female teachers as a means of preparing them for future administrative roles in the schools.

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