The purpose of study was to investigate students’ perception on head teacher’s role in implementation of girls’ re-admission policy. The study was to help highlight the plight of girls who drop out of school as a result of pregnancy with a view of giving them a chance to continue with education through re-admission. To achieve this objective the study examined students’ perception on head teachers’ administrative, counseling and support roles. Students’ perception was the dependent variable whereas the head teachers’ age, gender, educational level and teaching experience were independent variables. The study was based on Tinto’s (1975) model of student retention which stipulates that a student persists or drops out depending on their degree of both academic and social integration. The research design was a descriptive survey where questionnaires and interview schedule were used to collect data. Target populations were form three students, head teachers, counseling teachers, class teachers and the District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer. Sampling techniques used in the study were Simple Random, Stratified and Purposive. Reliability of the instruments was established through a pilot study in a school outside the study area. Cronbach’s alpha was used to assess the reliability coefficient that yielded a value of 0.82. Validity of instruments was determined through expert judgment involving discussions with other researcher’s and colleagues. Data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The study established that head teachers had not implemented the girls’ re-admission policy to the expectation as reflected in the poor discharge of administrative, counseling and support roles. It was also established that head teachers’ educational level and teaching experience had a positive influence on administrative role whereas teaching experience had a positive influence on both counseling and support roles. The study recommended; the Kenyan Ministry of Education to review the policy so as to come up with appropriate guidelines for implementation, counseling to be strengthened in schools , further training for head teachers and introduction of support programs for the girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy.
After the National symposium of Education for girls held in Machakos in 1994, the Kenyan Ministry of Education declared support for the girl mothers and officially started working on the process of re- entry. By the time of Mauritius consultation organized by FAWE in 1994, Kenya was already officially re-admitting teenage mothers. By 1996, the Ministry of Education formulated guidelines on the re-entry which were finally circulated to the Education authorities.
According to Ministry of Education (MOE) (1998), the guidelines on re-entry are; Girls who become pregnant should be admitted back to school unconditionally, Head teachers, District and Municipal Education Officers should be directed to assist such girls to join other schools to avoid psychological and emotional suffering, intensive counseling should be provided to the affected girls, parents, teachers, and other girls in school. Furthermore, once a girl is sent home, the parents should be summoned to the school and receive some counseling and thereafter they should take their daughter home. Head teachers and other teachers to be human and show understanding and patience while handling cases of this nature, parents should seek re-admission of their daughters to school after the baby is weaned and Head teachers should provide the necessary help in this regard. In cases of any problem, the Provincial, District and Municipal Education Officers should assist. Finally, those who make girls pregnant should be exposed. For example, teachers and other adults in the community should face legal action. Boys should be given counseling so that they can take responsibility for their actions. This paper therefore reviews how head teachers implement the above guidelines at the secondary school level with an aim of strengthening their implementation.
Kenya’s education policy fully embraces the Jomtien declaration of 1990 which officially pronounces “Education for All” irrespective of sex, religion, ethnic and social background, economic status and colour. The Ministry of Education endeavors to eliminate gender disparities and promote social equity through provision of basic education for all, including females (MOE, 1998). However, according to Elimu News (2007) the Kenyan education system is still characterized by gender disparities.
In Kenya, tremendous effort has been put to address the root causes of girls dropping out from school. Major events that have facilitated the discussion of the problem include the national symposium on education of Girls (1994) in which the ministry addressed various issues including re-entry of the teenage mother into school. At this event, three recommendations were spelt out in favor of the continuing education of the teenage mother. According to Mpesha (2000), these recommendations include adoption of a policy of re-entry to permit pregnant girls back to school system after delivery, setting up special bridging centers for young mothers where they could continue with their formal education and /or specialized training while breast feeding their babies and creating out of school opportunities for out of school girls and exploit informal sector apprenticeships for them. In addition, introduce flexible models of attendance so that institutions operate at full capacity during the day and evening, throughout the week, month and year to allow for full attendance and completion of courses.
Mpesha (2000) further contends that, the problem of teenage mother’s re-entry into the school system continues to demand attention. The re-entry initiative faces problems .Society’s negative attitude towards the pregnant girl and teenage mother is a major hindrance to the re-entry initiative. Besides, data collection on this subject is quite problematic as head teachers, parents and teenage mothers are not willing to divulge information. On the other hand the more progressive and able parents (if they are not religious enough) are quick to get solutions to the immediate problem of their daughters’ pregnancy. Though abortion in Kenya is illegal, some secretly organize abortions for their daughters. Those most vulnerable are those girls who are rejected by their families and resort to seeking a solution through crude abortion methods or run away from home. Homes and societies that try to assist the rejected girls are not always ready to cope with large numbers because of financial constraints. Counselors are also sometimes not well informed on the subject they are teaching and as a result are not able to give the needed guidance and lastly reading materials to assist the counselors have been prepared but mainly which address the issue of HIV/AIDS.
Students’ perception of head teacher’s roles
A study by Nair and Fisher (2001) on effective instructional methods based on tertiary/ higher and senior secondary education levels found that students at the tertiary levels perceived their classroom environment more favorably in terms of innovative teaching methods employed by their instructors in classes. The formal lecture system which is often passive was noted to contribute to low retention rate and boredom with students. Thus teaching methods that enable students to get involved with the teaching material stir thinking and encourage less memorization consequently perceived more favorably (World Bank, 2002). Students’ favorable perception of a given aspect of campus environment is believed to potentially contribute partially to their liking of such an environment.