Supervisory Practices adopted by Headmasters of SHSs and External Supervisors in the Adansi Educational Directorates of Ashanti Region

Master's Thesis, 2018

145 Pages, Grade: C





















The success of any organization or institution has never been achieved inadvertently. It is realized by putting in place necessary mechanisms among which supervision plays a fundamental role in all the processes. This study was specifically conducted to assess the supervisory practices opted for by supervisors of SHSs in Adansi Education Directorates in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The study employed mixed method concurrent triangulation design involving both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Thus questionnaire and interview were the instruments used while Headmasters, teachers, students and External/Circuit supervisors formed the population.

The study attested to the fact that effective instructional supervision ,both the external and particularly, the internal types are sine qua-non to the achievement of effective and efficient teaching and learning in secondary schools; which in turn translate into higher students’ academic achievement.

The findings revealed that during supervision, headmasters in particular and external supervisors assessed teachers’ scheme of work, lesson plans, instructional times, punctuality, attendance and methods of teachings in the classrooms. They ensured that teachers had the necessary materials for teaching and organized in-service training for teachers to promote effective teaching in their respective schools. It was found that supervisory practices adopted by headmasters and external supervisors depended on performance of students in their terminal and external final exams. The study also discovered that supervisory practices opted for by headmasters in particular, and external supervisors improved teaching and learning process, students’ performance in internal terminal and external final exams. It was also revealed that there were inherent challenges posed by teachers, students and government that confront supervision which needs to be urgently addressed through collaborative effort of all stakeholders for the achievement of quality education. The study has recommended that contemporary supervisory models emphasising motivation and autonomy of teachers should be embraced for optimum teacher-output to optimize students’ achievement.


I dedicate this thesis to my parents, my lovely wife Hawa Mustapha and my children: Nasrullah Mustapha, Abdul-wadud Mustapha, Ridwanullah Mustapha and Shamsudeen Mustapha.


First and foremost, I am thankful to the Almighty Allah for bringing me this far.

The successful completion of this M.Phil. Educational Innovations and Leadership Science programme particularly the writing of the thesis would not have been made possible without the contributions of several dignified individuals and groups which indeed crowned my effort. I really deem it necessary, therefore, to express my profound gratitude to all these personalities.

In the first instance, I am very grateful to my eminent and hardworking supervisor of the centre for Educational Policy Studies, Dr. E.D. Pajibo for his invaluable assistance and patience throughout the period. He did not only inspire me in writing on the topic for the thesis but also guided and supervised me to the best of his ability. Another thanks go to the entire staff of IDL particularly Dr. Collins K. Osei and Dr. H. B. Essel for their support in diverse ways.

My gratitude and appreciation also go to the Headmasters, teachers, External/Circuit Supervisors and the SHS students of the selected schools for their cooperation during the data collection exercise for my research. I am, once again, indebted to my wife Hawa Mustapha and brother Mr. Ismaila Musah for their respective roles in my life and education; not forgetting my nephews abroad Ahmed Alhassan (Badawi), Bashiru Kassim and Alimiyao Kassim for their immense support financially.


Table 1: National WASSCE results for Ghana between 2006 and 2014

Table 2: Frequency Distribution and Percentage of students’ gender

Table 3: Frequency Distribution Percentage of students’ Age

Table 4: Frequency Distribution and Percentage of students’ Level (Class)

Table 5: Frequency Distribution and Percentage of teachers’ Gender

Table 6: Frequency Distribution and Percentage of teachers’ Age

Table 7: Frequency Distribution Table (Frequency and Percentage) of teachers’ Qualification

Table 8: Frequency distribution and Percentage of teachers’ Teaching Experience

Table 9: Frequency distribution and Percentage of supervisory practices relating to teaching adopted by SHSs’ headmasters (HM) Adansi District (N=120) Responses from teacher)

Table 10: Mean Score and standard Deviations for the Supervisory Practice Relating to Teaching Adopted by Secondary Schools Headmasters and Circuit Supervisors District

Table 11: Supervisory Roles Relating to Learning (Teachers’ Responses)

Table 12: Supervisory Roles Relating to Learning (Teachers Responses)

Table 13: Mean Scores and Standard Deviations of Supervisory Practices Relating to Learning in the SHS in Adansi Education Directorate

Table 14: Frequency Distribution Table (Frequency and Percentage) of the factors that informed the adoption of supervisory practices by Headmasters in the Adansi District based on students related factor (N=120). (Responses from teachers)

Table 15: Frequency Distribution Table (Frequency and Percentage) of the factors that informed the adoption of supervisory practices of headmasters in the Adansi District based on teacher related factor (N=120). (Responses from teachers)

Table 16: Mean score and standard deviations of the factors that informed the adoption of supervisory practices by Headmasters in the Adansi District based on students’ related factor

Table 18: Descriptive Statistics (mean and standard deviation) of Supervisory Practices Adopted by Headmasters on Teaching and Learning in the Adansi District

Table 19: Teachers’ Response on the Effect of Supervisory Practices

Table 22: Teachers’ Responses on the Effects of Supervisory Practices

Table 23: Teachers’ Responses on the Effects of Supervisory Practices

Table 24: Frequency Distribution Table (Responses by Students on the effects of Supervisory Practices Adopted Headmasters)

Table 25. Frequency Distribution and Percentage of the Supervisory Challenges of SHSs Headmasters in the Adansi District on Material Resources (N=120)

Table 26: Mean score and Standard Deviations of the Supervisory challenges of SHSs’ Headmasters in the Adansi district on Material Resources.








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1.1 Background to the study.

“Education has moved up the political agenda ...and is seen as the key to unlocking not just social but economic problems (Mulford, 2003, OECD). “Society’s most important investment is increasingly seen to be in the education of its people – We suffer in the absence of good education: We prosper in its presence (Mulford, 2003, OECD). It has been argued that if qualitative education is seriously desired in the school system so that standard of education can be highly improved, School supervision must be highly prioritized. This underscores the urgent need for all countries to strengthen their systems of school supervision with particular emphasis on instructional supervision as part of the overall quality assurance system. In essence, instructional supervision is a means of detecting the presence or otherwise of effective teaching and learning in schools to ensure that standards are improved at all times for the achievement of quality education.

It is a fact that the level of quality in education differs from one country to the other. This could be attributed to a number of factors which do not preclude instructional supervision system which is meant to ensure effective teaching and learning at all levels of education. What makes it more imperative on developing countries to be more proactive and committed to strengthening their systems of school supervision to improve the quality of education is the developmental gap between them and developed nations where supervision systems are believed to be robust and effective at all levels of their educational system and therefore, quality education is considered to be their hallmark.

Indeed, the higher level of confidence reposed on educational system of the developed nations as compared to the developing ones, points to the fact that there are fundamental challenges associated with the educational system of the developing countries. It is, therefore, not surprising that the World Bank (2005) affirmed that poor quality of education persists at all levels in low-and middle income countries. Developing countries have generally been struggling with the twin challenges of providing universal access to education and at the same time improving the quality of education (Byrd, 2008). Article 25(1) of the 1992 Constitution makes it imperative for the government to provide education for all Ghanaians. The formal education which is provided through the public and private school systems, to a large extent, has made it possible for Ghana to increase access to education with the full implementation of the policy of Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education(FCUBE)in (2005) and Free SHS policy in the 2017/2018 academic year. This has culminated into increasing enrollment at all levels of the educational system. However, the inadequacies and inefficiencies with regards to quality assurance mechanisms, particularly supervision of instruction in the SHSs is strongly believed to be one of the main causes of the country’s inability to achieve the desired improvement in quality of education. In effect, the level of confidence in the educational system continues to wane despite series of reforms in the last two decades.

Indeed, evidence of trending unimpressive outcomes and poor quality education can be seen from the unintended outcomes in Ghana’s educational system with reference to the outcomes of secondary education. In recent years, the overall performance of majority of S.H.S graduates in international examination specifically the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) has been consistently abysmal. The results showed that out of 242,162 candidates who sat for the WASSCE May/June 2016, 68,062 of them representing 28.1 percent had grades between A1 and C6 in at least six subjects English and Mathematics inclusive. Compared to the 2015 results of 19.15 percent. As a matter of fact, students’ performance over the years has always been far below average which is a source of worry to all stakeholders in education. A situation which The Deputy Minister of Education in Charge of Secondary, Adutwum (2017), described as a national tragedy (Joy News, 4/9/2017). The trend in National WASSCE results attesting to the worsening students’ performance is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: National WASSCE results for Ghana between 2006 and 2014

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Source: WAEC yearly Reports.

The results shown in Table 1 gives an average of 19. 4 percent in eight (8) years running.

In fact, the reality is that students are not adequately prepared for the examination by their teachers (WAEC Report, 2005). Hence, students’ performance has been plummeting year after year requiring urgent intervention of government and the Ghana Education Service (G.E.S).

Another alarming outcome is the widespread and increasing levels of examination malpractices among SHSs in the country. Although this phenomenon is generally condemned, it is still believed to be on the ascendency with teachers alleged to be deeply involved. According to West African Examination Council Report (2015) 199 SHSs were involved in mass cheating in the WASSCE 2015 Objective Test (, 2015). The report specifically, stated that 1859 candidates had their subject results cancelled while the entire results of 453 candidates were cancelled. A number of teachers have been implicated by WAEC to have misconducted themselves in collusion with students to perpetrate these malpractices. In 2015, the entire results of students who wrote Elective Mathematics in WASSCE of Obuasi Senior High Technical School were cancelled for evidence of examination malpractice that was aided and abetted by teachers who were on invigilation. Again, in 2014, officials of WAEC made an unannounced visit to Wiamoasi SHS during the conduct of the May/June 2014 WASSCE and intercepted teachers copying answers on marker-board for candidates to copy. Consequently, the school was derecognized as examination centre while results of those subjects were cancelled. In the year 2009, WAEC recorded 2, 373 cases of malpractice. The figure increase to 4, 201 and 3, 439 cases in 2011 and 2012 respectively. In 2014, it was 5, 653 cases of malpractice (

The implication regarding all these is that the students could not cope with the standards of the examinations, hence they decided to cheat. Equally, it could imply that the schools producing those students were not up to their tasks of effective instructional supervision and monitoring. Sharma et al observe that most apparent consequence of poor supervision is poor performance in school. Hence, school authorities need to increase their effort of instructional supervision.

Globally, it is also worrying that after being hailed by the international community for an impressive performance to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 96 percent and completion rate of 76 percent in terms educational goals, Ghana missed out on the issue of quality education. It is likely the country will be left out in the quality education target in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because it continues to compromise the integrity of its examinations which is the criteria for evaluating and assessing countries performance. The rampant examination malpractices perpetrated in the country continuously at all levels has affected the achievement of quality education delivery target under SDGs (GNA,2015).

As it is, the perceived improprieties that are endemic in the school systemhave degenerated into a widespread public debate as to whether or not Ghana is heading towards education failure. On account of the grave concerns being raised by major stakeholders on the issue, a holistic assessment of supervisory practices adopted by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors in SHSs in Ghana is a giant step in the right direction. It is against this backdrop that the researcher conducted this study to unravel the underlying factors affecting instructional supervision in the area of study and to contribute to knowledge on how to improve instructional supervision as one of the key mechanism for improving the quality of secondary education in Ghana in general and Adansi Educational Directorate in particular.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In Ghana, pronouncements being made by stakeholders in education, corporate bodies and the general public with regards to the outcome of public secondary education suggest a disenchantment with the quality and falling standard of education. It is perceived that some fundamental quality assurance practices are being relegated to the background among which instructional supervision is the most talked about. What underlying factors impede the smooth functioning of instructional supervision in SHSs? How effective are the supervisory practices adopted by supervisors in improving teaching and learning in SHSs in Adansi Educational Directorate?

Although there is widespread acknowledgement of the need for policies and systems aimed at enhancing the quality of education at all levels, approaches to enhancing the quality of secondary education to improve students’ achievement in Adansi Educational Directorate leaves much to be desired. Instructional supervision which aims at enhancing teaching and learning through proper guidance and planning and improving teachers’ professional competence has become a subject of contention and tension between teachers and supervisors for some time now in some SHSs. It appears lack of clear policy guidelines about its nature and modus operandi continues to pose difficulties in its conduct which tends to negatively affect the teaching and learning process.

A research report on “Concerns of Teachers and Principals on Instructional Supervision in three Asian countries” by Sharma et al (2011) notes that majority of the teachers believed that the motive of supervision of teachers by principals was punitive (victimization of teachers). Buttressing Sharma’s findings, Moswela (2010) pointed out that supervision of instruction in Bostwana was carried out for wrong reasons. Further, Blumberg (1980 cited in Sharma et all, 2011) described the relationship between supervisors and teachers as negative and affirming that the resentment teachers felt towards supervisors continues to be a major barrier in achieving benefits from the practice of supervision. A scenario which was likened to a “cold war”. He noted further that it was used as a means of control and to exert power. The findings added that teachers were with the belief that the services of supervisors were not of any valuable assistance to them.

Indeed, the foregoing findings could not be limited to only the countries where the studies were conducted. With the researcher’s sixteen years of teaching experience in Adansi Educational Directorate, a cursory look at the supervisory practices in SHSs in Adansi Education Directorate suggests that the level of cooperation between teachers and supervisors does not augur well dueto teachers’ apprehension and resentment towards the entire supervisory practices. Supervisors on their part, seem to be indifferent to updating and upgrading their supervisory knowledge and skills. This unintended development could be the result of years of perceived neglect and unavailability of a study on the nature of supervisorypractices and how it affects teaching and learning in SHSs in the area.

The persistence of the supervisory challenges continues to be a major barrier to achieving the invaluable benefits of supervision in SHSs in the area. In view of the paucity of empirical evidence on whether or notSupervisors and teachers renege on their supervisory duties, the urgent need to conduct this study on “Assessment of Supervisory Practices Adopted by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors in the Adansi Educational Directorate” cannot be overemphasized, a fortiori, the implementation of the Free SHS Policy by the government and its attendant mass enrollment challenges. Essentially, the study is intended toanalyze the underlying factors affecting instructional supervision in the SHSs in Adansi Education Directorates.

1.3 Purpose of the study

This study was purposely conducted to investigate instructional supervisory practices of Headmasters and External Supervisors with the aim of assessing their effectiveness and to renew the interest of both supervisors and teachers in instructional supervision in public SHS in the Adansi Education Directorate. Specifically, the study sought to explore the nature of instructional supervision in each of the sampled SHSs in Adansi. Secondly, it was intended to examine the rational for adoption of the supervisory practices in sampled schools. Lastly, to find out the challenges confronting supervisors and teachers in carrying out their supervisory tasks in the area and proffer alternative strategies to improve teaching and learning.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study include:

(1) To determine the nature of supervisory practices adopted by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors in SHSs in Adansi Education Directorate
(2) To examine the factors that informed the adoption of supervisory practices by Headmasters and External/Circuit supervisors in SHSs in Adansi Educational Directorate.
(3) To assess the effects of supervisory practices adopted by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors on teaching and learning in SHSs in Adansi Educational Directorate.
(4) To ascertain the challenges confronting Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors in the implementation of supervisory practices in the Adansi Educational Directorate.

1.5 Research Questions

1. What supervisory practices are adopted by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors in SHSs in Adansi Education Directorate?
2. What factors informed the adoption of supervisory practices by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors in SHS in Adansi Educational Directorate?
3. How have the supervisory practices adopted by Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors of SHS affected teaching and learning in Adansi Education Directorate?
4. How are Headmasters and External/Circuit Supervisors challenged in implementing supervisory practices in SHS in the Adansi Educational Directorate?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study is summarized in the words of Blasé Blasé (2004) who notes that there is paucity of research describing how instructional supervision is actually practiced in schools as well as how teachers are actually influenced by such supervision. The research will be of fundamental significance to policy makers, education practitioners and researchers. In terms of policy making, the Ministry of Education will find it as invaluable information for policy guidelines in enhancing the formulation of right policies on processes relating to instructional supervision in public SHSs.

The study will further be helpful to policy makers in formulating comprehensive and workable policies for effective supervision of instruction in all pre-tertiary education.

The study will help to further, unmask the role of key education stakeholders such as the Ghana Education Service, headmasters, Heads of Departments, teachers and Directors of education in ensuring effective instructional supervision in schools to improve the quality of teaching for higher students’ achievement.

Finally, the study itself couple with its findings will add to the pool of literature on effective conduct of instructional supervision in secondary schools globally. Researchers in the area will find the study of immense help in carrying out further research in instructional supervision.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is confined to fourteen (14) SHSs which are both public and private ones in Adansi Education Directorates in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The SHSs in these areas are chosen because of increasing concerns being raised by parents and the general public about the attitude of teachers towards teaching couple with general poor students’ performance in external exams which cast doubts on the effectiveness ofthe supervisory practices being adopted by Headmasters andExternal supervisors and the quality of teaching and learning in the area. The choice of the area is justified on the basis of the researcher’s over sixteen years profound teaching experience there; a casual observation of the way supervision is functioning suggests that all is not well with the supervisory practices and by extension the teaching and learning process. In spite of the current dearth of empirical evidence linking the poor students’ results to the supervisory practices, the academic performance of SHS graduates of the area in the WASSCE over the years reflects the persistent unimpressive national performance.

Contextually, the study is focused on assessment of instructional supervisory practices in SHSs in the area and it covers key stakeholders involved in supervision: teachers, Headmasters, External/Circuit Supervisors and students’ leaders who form the target population.

1.8 Limitationof the Study

The principal respondents were mainly Headmasters, teachers and students’ leaders who are saddled with official responsibilities in their respective schools. It was, therefore, difficult to meet them as a group to retrieve the responded questionnaires. Few others did not even return the questionnaires issued to them. Some of the respondents answered the questionnaire in a hasty manner which may affect the internal validity of the measured attributes in the study requiring extra time and effort to sort out. The study also involved a sample of External/Circuit Supervisors responsible for each of the selected schools; since it was not possible to use all of them in the study.

In spite of the limitations highlighted above, the researcher left no stone unturned to conduct the research and to follow research ethics successfully beyond any doubt about its credibility.

Essentially, the researcher exerted effort in explaining the purpose and the benefits of the research to the participants and assured them of uttermost confidentiality and anonymity.

1.9 Organization of the Study

This research work comprises of five (5) chapters. General to the study is the first chapter. It delves into the background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, delimitation and limitation of the study. The second chapter mainly focuses on the review of related literature. It opened with highlight on concepts of education and dwelled so much on concept of supervision/inspection in terms of definitions, historical perspective, types, challenges, the roles of stakeholders, models of supervision and concludes with the theoretical framework of the study. The methodology employed in gathering relevant data for the study has been detailed in chapter three. Chapter four deals with discussion and analysis of data gathered from the field. Last but not the least, is the fifth chapter which summarizes the major findings of the research, and provided conclusions and recommendations.


2.0 Introduction

This chapter focuses on review of related literature on the topic. It encompasses Concepts of Education, Conceptual definition of supervision in education, examination of key issues in supervision (history of supervision and types of supervision, Challenges in instructional supervision, role of stakeholders and alternative supervisory practices/Models of instructional supervision), Summary of the review and ends with the theoretical framework of the study.

2.1 Conceptsof Education

It is an undeniable fact that different concepts have been given scores of definitions and meanings by different scholars at different times; the term “education” is no exception. Peters (2002) affirmed the lack of precise and concise definition of the term “education”. He also opined that no definition is an absolute fact; definitions are beliefs. What determines a definition of education are the indicators that are being measured and the motive of education.

2.1.1 EtymologicalMeaning of Education

The word education comes from two Latin words ‘Educare’and ‘Educere’ the former means ‘to raise’ and ’to bring up’ while the latter means either ‘to lead forth’ or ‘to come out’. These meanings of education indicate that it seeks to nourish the good qualities and draw out the best in in every individual (National Council of Educational Research and Training, 2014, p. 3).

Obviously, in bringing up a person or in leading people, there is a process of supervision and guidance. Accordingly, teachers, head teachers and other school authorities must supervise those they lead for the desired results to be achieved.

2.1.2 NarrowMeaningofEducation

The narrow meaning of education is limited to only a few specific, planned, deliberate influences that have bearing on the development of the individual. It includes only special influences which are designed and acquired consciously whether through the family, thechurch or the state (Raymond, 1906 cited in NCERT, 2012). It is a purposeful activity, the aim of which is to produce a professional such as an engineer, teacher, lawyer etc. In its narrowsense, education is seen as akin to schooling. It is a formal conservative process mainly limited to school campus. Education, however, connotes much more than this narrow meaning.

Implicitly, as it relates to school supervision, a lot of supervision is needed, and the more specific one as it relates to teachers and students is instructional supervision. Supervision, thus forms part and parcel of this narrow meaning of education without which educational goals of society might not be fully realized given the nature of the teaching and learning process.

2.1.3 Broadermeaning of Education

In its broader sense, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT, 2014) sees education as lifelong learning process encompassing all experiences, events, wisdom and knowledge acquired by an individual formally, informally and inadvertently at different stages of his life. It comprises all the experiences that the individual acquires at home, school, in the community through his interactions of various sources and activities. It simply implies the processes of development where by the individual adapts himself gradually to his/her different environments physically, socially and spiritually (NCERT, 2014).

Education is seen as both a natural and social process, wherein development of the uniqueness and individuality of the child is considered as the very essence of education and at the same time initiating him/her into the society for which school prepares him. Education refers to a number of processes such as training, instruction and learning by experiences, understanding of principles, and logical and critical thinking. Education has been classified in scores of literatures into formal, non-formal, and informal by which it connotes a lifelong learning from cradle to grave. However, this study is confined to formal type education and its processes.

2.1.4 Formal Education

Formal education signifies an education model that is systematic, organized structurally administered in accordance with a given set of laws and norms, using a well-defined curriculum in terms of objectives, content as well as specific methodology (Melnic &Botez,2014).

It is a process which necessarily involves the interaction between a teacher and a student in a classroom and the educational system currently begins from pre-primary school to the university. Green cited in Shen (2001) was with the belief that the rationale for formal education was meant for each student to earn a multiple perspective via common experience with classroom colleagues. Formal education is graded in nature and it is associated with formative and summative forms of evaluation of teaching and learning process as well as assessment of students and leading to certification.

As far as formal education is concerned, the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000 emphatically noted the urgent need not only for the provision of education for all but also the greater need to improve the quality of education at all levels. The scope of education has, therefore, transcended from mere education for all to sustainable quality education.

Analytically, as it relates to formal education the issue hinges on clinical supervision which is objective and not fault finding. In this kind of supervision, the supervisor (Headmaster or the Circuit Supervisor) counsel teachers without scolding or showing excessive authorities.

2.1.5 QualityEducation

A universally accepted definition of quality education has not yet been found mainly due to the lack of standard criteria with which to measure educational progress or otherwise to determine whether or not the quality is higher or lower. However, the ability to read and write or better still understand specific quantitative issues are considered as indicators of achieving quality as far as education is concerned (UNESCO, 2005). It must be noted that the World Declaration on Education echoed how significant quality education is to become not only globally accessible but also relevant. In accordance with this declaration, access to quality education is considered as every child’s right and that quality should be a significant determinant of enrolment, retention and achievement.

As a matter of course, obtaining quality education will apparently not be a reality in the absence of a well thought out supervision of teachers and students.

Jensen (1995, p.95) indicates that quality education should focus on processes of teaching, learning, testing, management and resources through thorough and detailed investigation of these processes.

A UNESCO report (2005) gave a broad definition of quality education comprising the following traits: healthy and motivated learners, competent teachers utilizing active pedagogies, relevant curricula (content) and good governance and equity in allocation of resources.

As a multidimensional concept, quality education is made up of three interrelated dimensions namely, the quality of the human resource and material available (inputs), the quality of the management and teaching-learning process carried out (processes) and the quality of the results (outputs). The quality of administrative support and effective leadership for supervision is considered as another essential element in school processes for both teachers and students. Ankomah et al (2005) espoused that preparation of teacher for teaching and to relate well with his students is a key indicator of quality education.

2.2 Concept of Supervision

Etymologically, the word “supervision” is derived from two Latin words: “super” meaning over or above and “videre” which means “see” or “observe”. Hence, “supervidere “It is the act or function of overseeing something or somebody. In general, supervision is made up of elements of knowledge provision, helping the organization of tasks, motivation enhancement, and activity monitoring as well as results (

The concept of supervision has been described by Agih (2014) as one that depicts a process that is common to all professions as well as occupations without which effective functioning of organization cannot be achieved. It functions as a formative, supportive and developmental process designed for improvement and a process that is meant to guide, encourage, direct and motivate workers with aim of improving their output. According to Onasanya (2006) it is an interaction between a minimum of two individuals for the purpose of bringing improvement in an activity,

Supervision in general is described as the vital interaction between the service provider either at a price or voluntary, and the organization, it is the process of interaction through which the goals and values of the organization are communicated with clear interpretation to the workforce who in turn derive guidance and support to facilitate the achievement of those goals. (RHII, 1999 cited in Dickson, 2011).

Research has shown that supervision is inextricably intertwined with formal education. In this context, one of the key areas of which supervision has an overarching importance is instruction which concerns what takes place in the classroom. According to Beach and Reinhartz (1989) instruction involves tasks such as telling, explaining, defining, providing examples, stressing critical attributes, modelling and demonstrating. The essence of instructional supervision, therefore, is the extent to which the instructor successfully accomplishes the instructional tasks (Tsabalalah, 2013).

2.3 InstructionalSupervision

Hoy and Forsyth (1986) distinguished between industrial notion of supervision and instructional supervision by contrasting that industrial supervision involves overseeing , directing, andcontrolling workers while in education, supervision broadly refers to the set of activities planned to improve the teaching-learning process, and thus seen as a cooperative effort. Itfundamentally involves a cycle of systematic planning, observation, diagnosis, change and renewed planning.

Supervision is described by Glatthon (2007) as a process by which the professional growth of a teacher is facilitated primarily giving him feedback in terms of the classroom instructional supervision. To further explain instructional supervision clearly, Oliva and Pawlas (1997) affirmed that supervision is a service rendered to teachers either as individual or group with the aim of improving classroom instruction for which the ultimate beneficiary is the learner. They note that supervision is a means of offering a specialized assistance to teachers for improvement on instruction. Olivia and Pawlas (1997) contend that supervisors should have in mind that teachers want specific assistance and suggestions and also want supervisors to find solutions to specific issues that facilitate their improvement.

Instructional supervision is a multifaceted process that centres on instruction through which teachers are provided with information about how they carry out their teaching to improve performance (Beach & Reinhartz, 1989 cited in Farley, 2010). Hence, the nature of supervision is such that teaching and learning process thrive when it is fully embraced.

Adeel (2010), on his part affirmed that there are variations in the definitions of supervision from a custodian perspective to a humanist perspective. The custodian perspective focuses on fault finding in terms of teachers’ weakness for which they are eliminated, isolated and replaced with better alternative person. It is characterized by superior subordinate relationship. Supervision has gradually evolved into many processes changing from the notion of inspection to the notion of instructional improvement. The humanist perspective refers to the clinical supervision emphasizing on the growth of teachers. Its assumption is that teachers are endowed with the drive and personal resources to deal with their problems; it has tended to produce a teacher who is self-directed.

As a matter of fact, and statistics, there are more male students and male teachers in SHSs and these different groups are very adventurers and sometimes truant. This is why a strong supervisory programme is needed to keep the teachers on their tasks and keep students very disciplined

2.4 Historical perspective of instructional supervision

Research has shown that there is history behind almost all organizational practices and supervision is no exception. Supervision has passed through several phases in its development which needs to be understood before any meaningful study can be done on it.

It was conceived way back between 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th century during which it was referred to as Administrative Inspection. Its evolution started as reflection of learning theories as well as social and political influences (Fine,1997). In England it was founded in 1834 with the establishment of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI). It thus became a model for many developing countries. (UNESCO, 2007 Mod 1 p.6). The system of inspection was established through the Office of Standard in Education (Ofsted) and the office of Her Majesty’s Chief inspector located in Wales purposely to ensure the inspection of schools by teams focusing on the opinions of parents regarding the school (Tyagi, 2011 p. 2).

In similar vein, the inspection system in France had its origin dating further back to the Napoleonic Era and has been adopted by most of its former colonies UNESCO, 2007). The period between 1910 and 1930 marked the era of Scientific Supervision where workers were likened to machines that could be programmed in order to be efficient. The era of Human Resources Supervision approach spans from 1970 to date. It is the era where motivation of workers has taken the centre stage with improving workers’ welfare and job satisfaction beingconsidered as means of optimizing workers’ productivity.

In Ghana, the history of supervision can be traced from the colonial era. The colonial government’s official education policy which was introduced between the period of 1850 and 1900 included policy on supervision. As part of 1882 education ordinance, board of education was set up to control and supervise the school system which culminated into the appointment of Rev. M. Sunter as the inspector of schools.

The Education Ordinance of 1887 categorically set up central school board which was empowered to make rules for the inspection of school. However, this system of supervision was restricted to only government assisted schools. In the 1925 Education Ordinance, supervision was extended to include all other schools (Badu, 2010).

According to McWilliam and Kwamena Poh (1975) in the 1940s visiting teachers were appointed by the mission school authorities to supervise the large number of untrained teachers in the school system. One remarkable turning point as far as supervision in Ghana is concerned occurred in the Accelerated Development Plan of 1951 which resulted in a significant increase in the number of schools and a corresponding increase in the number of untrained teachers deployed to all parts of the country. This necessitated strengthening of the supervision system to ensure compliance with laydown rules regarding instruction.

Thus, inspector of schools was officially appointed in 1956 (McWilliams & Kwamena poh, 1975; Graham, 1976 cited in Badu, 2010). Prior to that, Assistant Education Officers (AEOs) were appointed by the government in 1952 as visiting teachers to be in charge of school supervision. Again, from 1963 to 1974 Principal Teachers were appointed from among teachers with the rank of senior teachers to strengthen the supervision system. They were to be responsible for the supervision of schools especially in the rural areas (Badu, 2010).

In 1974, the Ghana Teaching Service was established which in due course metamorphosed into Ghana Education Service (G.E.S) in 1975. It was responsible for the appointment of supervisors. Subsequently, Circuit Supervisors and Monitoring Assistants were appointed officially and they began to play their supervisory role during the 1987 Educational Reform (Badu, 2010).

To strengthen school supervision system, the Ministry of Education created an Inspectorate Division under the Ghana Education Service in 2002. For the Inspectorate Division to be more effective, vibrant and productive, the Ministry of Education modified its supervisory, monitoring and inspection structure during the 2002 Educational Reforms to curb absenteeism, lateness and maladministration. The reform sought to create a separate and independent supervisory unit to be responsible to the Ministry Education through the Ghana Education Service. The division was to be responsible for supervision and inspection of departments, agencies and schools that fall under Ghana Education Service. Additionally, regular training and logistics are expected to be provided for the inspectors to execute their duties effectively (GOG, 2006 cited in Bawa, 2011).

The Education Act of 2008 (Act 778) has made provisions for school supervision and inspection. It has established the National Inspectorate Board (N.I.B) as an agency of the Ministry of Education and mandated to provide an independent external supervision and evaluation of the quality and standards of both public and private basic and secondary schools in Ghana. The board’s main objective is to provide a diagnosis of what must be put in place for its improvement (Ghana News Agency, 2010). Currently, Dr. Afeti, has been appointed as the Chief Inspector of Schools. However, the effectiveness of these provisions is yet to be ascertained.

As it stands,the National Inspectorate Board (N.I.B) and the Ghana Education Service, being vested with the supervisory/inspectionmandate of all pre-tertiary schools, are confronted with challenges of inadequate inspectors and means of logistics (Bawa, 2011). These challenges are, indeed, rendering the agenciesineffective and inefficient due to their inability to carry out the supervisory mandate regularly.

2.5 Types of Supervision

In the words of Tyagi (2011) “inspection and supervision across the world has been considered as a process of assessing the quality and performance of schools by internal and external evaluations”. According to UNESCO (2007) the term “supervision” is referring to two distinct but complementary tasks. Firstly, the task of controlling and evaluating an activity. Second, the task of advising and supporting teachers. In this sense, two types of supervision are distinguished which include external and internal supervision (UNESCO, 2007; Jaiyeoba, 2006)

2.5.1 External Supervision

External Supervision is the practice where the supervisors (inspectors) come from the District/ Municipal, Regional or National education offices regularly to supervise the activities of the school (UNESCO, 2007). In Ghana, the team of External Supervisors could be Circuit Supervisors from theDistrict Education Directorate, Inspectorate Division of G. E. S. or from the National Inspectorate Board (N.I.B) which is an agency of the Ministry of Education. Circuit Supervisors are usually responsible for the inspection of Basic Schools and Private SHSs in their education directorates(Education Sector Performance Report, 2013).Some of the major tasks of external supervisors include inspection of classroom, teaching, pass percentage of students, cleanliness and other aspects of school management (Tyagi, 2011).There are different forms of external supervision which includes Brief Visit, Follow-up, Familiarization, Assessment for promotion, Special Visit (Investigative) and Full/Comprehensive Supervision and emergency visit (G.E.S Circuit Supervisors’ Handbook, 2002). The explanation of these forms of external supervision follows. Brief Visit

This is where an officer of the ministry of education or its agency is mandated to go to a school to either deliver or collect information from the staff of the school. For brief visit, it is limited in scope as compared to comprehensive inspection (G.E.S Supervisors Handbook, 2002; Agih, 2015). Familiarization Visit

It is a kind of visit to the school embarked upon by a newly appointed supervisor. It is meant for the supervisor to be acquainted with the staff, students and various communities within the jurisdiction. This form of supervision is also conducted for a newly established school (G.E.S Supervisors Handbook, 2002) Special Visit

This involves a visit conducted by a supervisor to carry out investigation of a malpractice or an alleged misconduct levelled against staff of any educational institution or a problem of fraud that involves staff. It is sometimes called investigative visit (G.E.S Supervisors Handbook, 2002). Full Supervision

This form of supervision has a wider scope. It is conducted by a group of supervisors from ministry of education or its agency to examine all facets of academic and physical infrastructure in a school. It examines teachers’ scheme of work, lesson notes, classroom management and other critical physical facilities. Through form supervision the supervisors are able make observations, corrections offer necessary and professional recommendations for the improvement of the educational system (Adu et al, 2014). Follow-up Visit

This form of supervision occurs after Full (Comprehensive) Supervision would have been carried out in a school. This is where the supervisors revisit the school to take stock of relevant action taken by the school authority with regards to the recommendations that were made during the Full Supervision. It is mainly meant to ascertain theextent to which the school authority has been able to implement and achieve the desired impact. Besides, further suggestions could be offered where it is deemed necessary to improve the school and students learning outcomes. Indeed, in the words of Agih (2015) this type of supervision helps in encouraging staff to strive for greater efficiency. Routine Supervision

This refers to a periodic inspection of school by either a supervisor or a group of supervisors with the objective of ascertaining the achievements and progress or problems and difficulties being encountered in a given area (Adu et al, 2014). Emergency Supervision

This form of supervision is conducted as a result of occurrence of a sudden crisis in a school setting. The team of supervisors is led by Senior officers who are mandated to find out and investigate the immediate and the remote causes of the crises in the school. It could be the result of students’ riot, demonstration, a strike action or conflict (Adu et al, 2014). In a study, it was found out that the ineffectiveness of the external supervision system was so obvious that the external supervisors themselves recommended the need for strengthening the school-based academic supervision and professional support, guidance for teachers through reflection and collaborative approach. The study indicated that external supervisors did not have the technical know-how to redress school grievances and solve the problems of teachers (Tyagi, 2011).

The merits that can be derived from this type of supervision, if properly conducted, is that it updates the policymakers and educational authorities about prevailing situations in schools visited regarding teaching and learning. However, this type of supervision is more often conducted in a rush which tends to create fear and panic among teachers with potentiality of undermining the credibility of internal (School-based) supervisors. Internal Supervision

This form of supervision is carried out by the internal supervisors who are at the same time administrators and teachers of the school. Such supervisors include the Headmaster/mistress, Assistant Headmasters, the Head of Departments and Senior teachers. It is also referred to as school-based supervision (Agih,2015). The point of view of Meagley and Evans (1970) is that head teachers, headmasters and principals in contemporary public school organization are the school administrators and thus, have the mandate to see to the day-to-day administration coupled with the supervision of their staff. Tyagi (2011) distinguished school-based instructional supervision and school-based management. The latter is referring to the management of all activities taking place in the school which include general administration and infrastructure, finance and school quality while the former stresses the continuous assistance and guidance and support to teachers for the improvement of their teaching-learning process and teachers’ professional development. Tyagi further explained that professional development activities comprise the kind of school-based support giving to teachers based on the gaps identified in the course of teaching and learning process. Such support includes mentoring, counseling, in-service training etc. Indeed, school-based supervision is being advocated by many as indispensable to improving quality of education (Argyris, 1993).

From the foregoing, the ideal complementary role of external and internal types of instructional supervision should inure to large extent to improvement in teaching and learning process for achievement of quality education. Research finding, therefore, support the contention that supervisors and teachers hold different views with respect to supervision (Ritz & Cashell, 1980). This by no means suggests that there are underlying challenges confronting instructional supervision that need to be uncovered.

Indeed, the complementarity of these two types of supervision is particularly significant in the context of Ghana’s educational system especially at the basic and second cycle levels of education where supervision is believed to be a key instrument of quality improvement in schools. According to Sule et al., (2015) supervisory practices carried out by school Headmasters remain an instrument for quality control in the school and an avenue for the attainment of appropriate expectation of the educational system. However, the system of instructional supervision has not been effective due to a number of inherent challenges which need to be highlighted.

2.6 Challenges Confronting Instructional Supervision

Intheirstudy Internaland External Supervision: Issues, Challenges and the Way Forward” Adu et al., (2014 pp. 276-277) identified the following problems militating against instructional supervision which are characteristic of most developing countries.

2.6.1 Teachers' resistance to supervision

A certain category of teachers tends to resist instructional supervision. This is especially associated with existence of unqualified teachers among the experienced, academically and professionally qualified and nonprofessional but qualified academically secondary school teachers. This resistance on the part of unqualified teachers according to Adu (2014), constituted a hindrance to modern effective instructional supervision in Nigeria.

2.6.2 Inadequate Teachers

A number of schools in developing countries experience defective teaching as result of non-availability of qualified teachers in certain subject areas. Hence the personnel employed as teachers may not have the necessary qualification. Thus, supervising non-professional teachers poses a challenge to instructional supervision. The Ghana Education Service over the years, has always been plagued with the issue of inadequate school teachers. Many join the teaching profession as a stepping stone and quickly move to other professions due to poor incentives in teaching. This leads to faulty teacher-student ratio.

2.6.3 Poor Human Relations (Teacher-supervisor relationship)

The involvement of different kinds of people with different supervisory background and requirements have made the establishment of good human relationship difficult among supervisors and teachers. The ability of the supervisor to understand the feeling of teachers and interact positively for harmonious and peaceful environment of the school setting is necessary for a successful instructional supervision. Any supervisory practice is likely to fail if the relationship between the supervisor and the teacher is not harmonious and peaceful (Lowery cited in Million, 2010, Asefa, 2014). Indeed, in most SHSs in Ghana, the prevalence of unhealthy human relations between supervisors and teachers cannot be ruled out, it might only differ in terms of degree from one school to another.Differences in philosophical background and beliefs could be the cause of this problem.

Cohan (1973) noted that one of the most significant factors that determines supervisory effectiveness is the “unclarified ambivalent relation of teachers to supervisors”. The result is the growing resentment and distrust between teachers and supervisors.

2.6.4 Inadequate Material Resources for Teaching

Another major problem that has become an obstacle to effective instructional supervision is the issue of inadequate material resources such as projectors, maps, and chats etc. Supervisors and teachers are confronted with the problem which hinders their effective performance. Provision of teaching/learning material or their inadequacies needs serious attention in secondary schools. Ideally, teaching/learning materials make teaching and learning more practical and realistic other than mere theories.

2.6.5 Low Morale

Teachers in most school are not accorded their due respect; they seemingly receive shabby treatment from their superiors and employers and apparently become frustrated. This continuous frustration of teachers results in another hindrance to teachers’ effectiveness in teaching. The issue of teacher motivation which in most cases has been described as low morale in Ghana has been a long standing debate which needs serious attention, it can be argued that a teacher with low morale will have divided attention in class and will neither concentrate on pupils nor his teaching task.

2.6.6 Political Instability

Any organized pattern of administration in education is affected by frequent changes in government. In fact, with even relatively stable political climate, slightest changes in government policy direction in education tend to seriously affect smooth functioning of the system of educational administration. As a matter of fact, different governments come with different policies. This results in inconsistencies in education policies. The real effect of political instability on education in Ghana is discontinuity of educational policies and programmes. This happens when there are many changes in political regimes in the country. An example of this as it relates to the duration of secondary education is the 3-year and 4-year policies of the government of Ghana over the past 18 years.

2.6.7 Irregular Payment of Teachers

Irregular Payment of teachers’ salaries couple with delay in promotion of teachers without any justification result in frustration and lack of interest in teaching and supervision. This contributes in no small way in making the work of a supervisor difficult for the achievement of instructional objectives. In Ghana, irregular payment of teachers especially as relates to salary arrears and extra allowances often leads to a lot of troubles and makes instructional supervision for angry teachers very difficult.

2.6.8 Financial Constraints

De-Grauwe (2001) for example, held the view that the greatest challenge confronting supervision in Bostwana is the none availability of office space and transport meant for supervisors’ use, a problem which undermined their effectiveness and morale. He, therefore, opined that with this, the abilities of supervisors to supervise and support teachers are diminished. Similarly, the most serious problems confronting supervision in Tanzania include the lack of resources in terms of financial, structures for office accommodation for supervisors and human resource in the form of support staff. The many difficulties in writing reports as well as organizing seminars for teachers is the result of lack of support staff. Besides, supervisors often idle around in the midst of a lot work to be done due to inadequate transport and travel allowances (De-Grauwe, 2001 cited in Badu, 2010). In Ghana as it is in Tanzania, the inadequacy of finance has serious implications on teaching and learning. For example, due to lack of adequate finance, infrastructure, logistics for supervisors and teaching learning materials are in short supply. It is often heard that in some schools, children sit on the ground or floor while other schools are under tree with poor dormitory facilities.

Yet, another study by Tesema (2014) on “Practices and Challenges of School-based Supervision in Government Secondary Schools of Kamashi Zone of Benishangul, Ethiopia, the challenges in supervision highlighted include: lack of adequate transport, teacher-supervisor relationship, teachers’ perception of instructional supervision.

2.6.8 Lack of Adequate Training and Support

Continuous and sufficient training are needed by supervisors to carry out the responsibility of effective supervision (Tesema, 2014). Alhamed cited in (Abdulkareem, 2011, Tesema, 2014) also noted that lack of training for personnel involved in supervision, feeble relationship between supervisors and teachers and the absence of support giving to higher office supervisors have effect on the supervisory practices in schools. In support of Alhamed and Tesema, Merga (2007) had pointed out that one of obstacles to the practice of supervision is the lack of continuous training system for supervisors so that their educational knowledge and skills can be updated. Bernard and Goodyear (1998) affirmed that effective instructional evaluation cannot be carried out by supervisors if they are not well qualified and trained in techniques of evaluation; a sound and up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter, a good organizing skills and ready to accept the interest and ideas of teachers. Scholars (Samuelson & McGreal, 2000) sharing the same view, did cite limited experience of supervisors and deficient skills as being problems in teacher supervision.

2.6.10 Teachers’ perception of instructional supervision

The aim of instructional supervision is to improve the quality of education by improving the teachers' effectiveness. According to Fraser cited in (Lilian, 2007) the improvement of the teaching process hinges on attitudes of teachers towards supervision. The supervisory exercise will only have the desired effect if teachers perceive supervision as a process meant for promote their professional growth and students’ learning. The teacher must bear in mind that the supervisors are purposely to serve their interest by helping to raise the level of their effectiveness (Lilian, 2007).

Teachers are made to have negative perceptions of supervision by some obvious factors that have to do with the conduct of supervision. As researches by (UNESCO, 2007) indicated that teachers’ bitter complaints with regards to supervisors’ output were irregular planning of supervision exercise, insufficient time spent in classroom and lack of relevance in the recommendations given. contributory factors.

In another study on “Problems of existing practices and procedures of internal supervision' Wanzere, posit that the concerns most commonly cited about the practices and procedures of instructional supervision are the perceived lack of consistency, professionalism, marked by discrimination, subjectivity, favouritism, biases, corruption and dishonesty. The participants cited that supervision exercises were merely a means for witch-hunting and faultfinding. Instructional supervisors mostly Headteachers frustrated teachers deliberately through victimization on trivial issues (wanzere, 2012).

2.7 TheRoleofSupervisorsinInternalSupervision

A role is considered as a collection of responsibilities and behaviour expectations that a particular society assigns to a given position. Highlighting on the role of stakeholdersin instructionalsupervision Tesema (2014, P. 15-18.) outlined the following roles of Principals (Headmaster), Deputy Principals, Head of departments and senior teachers in school-based supervision.

2.7.1 Role of Principals (Headmasters) in Instructional Supervision

a. Ensuring that there is a conducive atmosphere that is created to facilitate instructional supervisory activities in the school by bringing together the needed resources;
b. Offering professional guidance and assistance to teachers so that they will be able to achieve instructional objective; and supervise classes when the need arises.
c. Coordination of evaluation of teaching and learning process and the outcome by means of initiation of active participation of members of staff and local community as a whole.
d. Coordination of members of staff of the school as well as other professional educators for the purpose of reviewing and strengthening supervisory activities and;
e. Causing the evaluation of the school-community relationship and based on the evaluation results, make effort to improve and strengthen such relations.

2.7.2 Role of Deputy Principals(Assistant Headmasters)in Internal Supervision

Apart from assisting the principal of the school executing his/her responsibility, the deputy principal is expected to play the following role:

- Issuing out overall instructional leadership to members of staff.
- Evaluation of teachers’ Lesson plans and carrying out the classroom supervision to make sure that lesson plans are applied and;
- Making sure that the schools' curriculum addresses the needs of the local country.

2.7.3 The Rolesof Heads of Departmentin instructional supervision

By virtue of their accumulated knowledge, skills and abilities in their particular subject and in overall educational system acquired by dent of long services, the HODs are competent enough to supervise educational activities, therefore, the supervisory functions of the HODs include:

a. Coordination of the supervisory in their various departments and evaluating the performance of teachers.
b. They initiate and promote group participation in the planning, implementing and decision making of the instruction and in instructional outcomes evaluation;
c. Selection and organization of teaching material and making them ready for teachers' use;
d. Organization of model teaching programmes for inexperienced teaching staff from the various departments;
e. Inspiring teachers to carry out action research in order to improve and develop subjects they teach and method of teaching such subjects;
f. Making arrangement on job orientation and socialization programmes to teachers who have been assigned to the for the first time in their various departments;
g. Organization of workshops, conferences seminars etc. find solutions to identified problems of curriculum and;
h. Urging members of staff to organize regular meetings to make evaluation of teachers’ activities and to address instructional problems.

2.7.4 The Roles ofSenior Teachers inInstructional Supervision

In accordance with the career structure developed by Ministry of Education (MOE) based on Ethiopian Education and training policy of 1994, High-ranking teacher, Associate Head teacher and Head teacher are considered as senior teachers. The rational is that such teachers have accumulated experience in specific subject areas that they teach and are in better position to supervise other teachers within the department under their jurisdiction (MOE, 1994).

2.8 AlternativeSupervisory Models/Options

The problems and issues of teaching and learning that are encountered by teachers in executing their tasks are diverse, likewise the needs and interests of teachers (Sergiovanni & Starrat, 2002). The processes of instructional supervision must satisfy the unique needs of all teachers under supervision because matching supervisory approaches to teachers’ individual needs brings in higher potential for increasing the motivation and level of teachers’ commitment at work (Benjamin, 2003).


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Supervisory Practices adopted by Headmasters of SHSs and External Supervisors in the Adansi Educational Directorates of Ashanti Region
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology  (Institute of Distance Learning)
Educational Innovations and Leadership Science
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supervisory, ashanti, directorates, educational, adansi, supervisors, external, shss, headmasters, practices, region
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Musah Mohammed MUSTAPHA (Author), 2018, Supervisory Practices adopted by Headmasters of SHSs and External Supervisors in the Adansi Educational Directorates of Ashanti Region, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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