The study sought to find out the social economic factors influencing teachers effectiveness in productivity in Gaturi Division, Murang’a County, Kenya. The objectives that guided the study were remuneration, school facilities, headteachers levels of training in financial management and class sizes. The target population for the study was the headteachers and teachers in all primary schools in the Gaturi division and the District Quality Assurance and Standards Officer. They were all two hundred and seventy one in number. The simple random sampling method was used to pick the teacher and the head teacher population. The sample size for the teachers and head teachers was fifty percent of the population. One hundred and twenty teachers, fifteen headteachers and one Quality Assurance and Standards Officer were included in the sample size.
The study employed the descriptive survey design. Data was collected by use of questionnaires and interview schedules. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics and thereafter presented by use of statistical means. The results were subjected to statistical tests which entailed chi- square tests and spearman rank correlation order tests. The study found out that the teachers considered their remuneration levels as inadequate and an impediment to their effectiveness in productivity. The teachers equally viewed the school facilities as not upto the standards of ensuring their optimum productivity. The headteachers training in financial management was deemed as very inadequate by the teachers thus a factor which greatly hindered their effectiveness in productivity. The class sizes in the division were considered as large by all the respondents. They argued that the class sizes stretched the teachers’ capacities to the maximum and greatly curtailed them in terms of the capacity to be effective by way of giving individual attention to the pupils.
The study thus concluded that teachers’ effectiveness in productivity was impaired and affected by the remuneration levels, the school facilities, the headteachers’ training and the large classes which hindered the capacity of the teachers to be effective in terms of delivering their professional obligations and mandates to the letter.
The study recommended that the teachers emoluments and salaries should be reviewed and more innovative approaches geared towards enhancing their effectiveness in productivity should be employed like putting in place performance tokens for high achievers. The study recommended the involvement of private sector participation in facilities upgrade to ensure inadequacies and shortfalls were met. The headteachers should be confirmed to the positions only after undertaking a mandatory training on financial management and get subjected to continuous learning by way of refresher courses. The class sizes should be taken care of by way of the exchequer meeting staffing shortfalls and facilities inadequacies to ensure that the pupils get value from the education systems.
1.1 Background to the study
Teachers as well as schools make a difference is a finding that has received increasing support from educational research over the past decades (Askew, Rhodes, Brown, William & Johnson, 1997). Studies using large databases and multilevel modeling techniques have consistently found that teacher effectiveness influence students’ achievement and is of the main influences on student progress over time (Muijs & Reynolds, 2000).
Principals and teachers’ work performance and effectiveness are determined by effective teaching measured by his students’ academic performance in examinations, punctuality at school and class, giving extra lessons to students and contribution to the progress of the school through participation in co-curricular activities such as sports, students’ discipline and committee assignments as may be given by the principal (Staiger & Rockoff, 2010). Since principals are mainly concerned with achieving results, they want to work with and through teachers who are cooperative, responsible and productive (Moore & Esselman, 1992). However, research shows that there are factors which may affect teachers preventing them from having optimum effectiveness (Coombe, 2002). These include teachers’ behaviours, self efficacy and beliefs, subject knowledge and attitude, working conditions, government policy, socio-political factors, workload, organizational factors and cultural factors.
In America Machin and McNally (2008) noted that teachers are a central actor in the learning process that takes place in schools, and teachers’ productivity and effectiveness can vary depending on the incentives they face. Pay structure is potentially an important incentive-tool in the hands of the education policy maker and merit pay proposals have recently been discussed in several countries and applied in some. Advocates of intensified teacher assessment assert that current practices leave too many incompetent or ineffective teachers in place. But many schools suffer from the opposite problem: high teacher turnover that reduces gains from experience and increases the costs of personnel management. As Machin and McNally (2008) pointed out, about 40 percent of teachers in New York City quit after three years. Teaching is an increasingly demanding job. Yet its average weekly pay has declined in recent years compared with the pay of other college graduates. Sweeping budget cuts have led to layoffs and worsened working conditions. Teachers in some school districts in Texas are now assigned janitorial work.
Teacher ineffectiveness has been closely linked with their attitudes and perceptions about the job. In the United States of America, there have been cases of chronically ineffective teachers owing to self efficacy issues which impaired their confidence levels (Chait, 2010). The chronically ineffective teachers are a challenge to the education sector and the labour laws pose a challenge to their removal from the system as performance based reviews are rare in the lower grades of academic spheres. Teacher compensation has always been aligned and related to effectiveness but the chronic ineffectiveness has always persisted in the affected teachers even after the review of the compensation rates.
Teacher compensation has been confirmed as great motivating factor to the support and reinforcement of attributes geared towards improved teacher performance. Compensation has been identified as the foremost attraction of many teachers to the job (Jerald , 2009). Feelings of affection to the tasks at hand and the realization that compensation matches ones output always motivate teachers to strive and realize the expected performance, creates a sense of diligence and enhances efficiency at work. Situations whereby the teacher feels like they are juggling many balls at the same time in terms of handling many class activities and other responsibilities not in tandem with the compensation levels makes him de-motivated and inefficient at work.
Concerns about educator turnover and attrition are reported widely as a global phenomenon (Gurney, 2007). In Britain, educator attrition is reported as a national crisis. Santiago (2001) reported that the situation has worsened in Sweden, Germany and New Zealand. In the USA, teacher shortages as a result of turnover are widely reported in many states (Markley, 2001). The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (1999) reports on teacher shortages resultant from teacher attrition in Ontario and Australia. The main reason for teacher attrition is the remuneration. Muijs and Reynolds (2000) noted that increased teacher turnover leads to large class sizes thus overburdening of the remaining teachers affecting their productivity.
In most African countries, the phenomenon of teacher turnover is associated mainly with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in sub- Saharan countries like Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, the Central African Republic and South Africa (Coombe, 2002). The President of the Gambian Teachers’ Union reports a massive exit of teachers from the profession due to, amongst other economic conditions: a lack of adequate salaries, allowances, housing and promotion (Kamara, 2002). Teacher effectiveness in these regions is mainly affected by the school management, inadequacy of resources andoverload of teachers especially after Free Primary Education. Mukumbira (2001) reported that Zimbabwe lost about 2 000 newly-qualified teachers who may have left for greener pastures in 2000. The main reason for the same was teacher salaries.
In Kenya, given that the government had frozen supply-driven teacher recruitment in 1997 and resorted to replacing only those lost under natural attrition in 2001, teacher shortage has worsened with increase in student enrolment as a result of the Free Primary Education (UNESCO, 2003). UNESCO (2005) cites an ageing teaching workforce and the possible retirement thereof, low salaries and demands for even more complex teaching abilities. Such factors have affected the effectiveness of the teachers. Duffrin (1999) cites working conditions as reason for high turnover especially among teachers leaving within the first five years of being in the profession. Chaika (2002) advocates the inadequate school facilities, poor working conditions, poor school management and a growing salary gap between teachers and other college graduates as sources of teacher ineffectiveness. Borsuk (2001) noted that when the teachers who are left are too few, they get too much on their hands thus affecting their productivity and effectiveness.
In Murang’a, academic performance in primary schools has been deteriorating over the years and there is a downward trend in academic performance since 2009 (D.E.O., 2013). Compared to the other divisions in Murang’a, Gaturi division has the greatest downward trend academically. Effective teachers produce results and this is not the case in Gaturi Division. The issue of teacher effectiveness has occupied educational research for several decades, with researchers looking at such factors as school factors, environmental factors, motivational factors and cultural factors (Chaika, 2000; Eshitemi2005; Irumbi, 1990; Kamara, 2002; Kirembu, 1991; Matovu, 2001).
Hence this study will focus on the socio-economic factors influencing teachers’ effectiveness in productivity particularly in Gaturi Division, Murang’a County.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Ineffectiveness among teachers may lead to poor academic performance among learners. Darling-Hammond (2000) noted that teachers’ effectiveness is normally at different levels due to various reasons. Mukumbira’s (2001) survey reveals that in the developing world, teachers’ salaries are generally low and below the poverty datum line or cost of living. Conditions of service are also poor and many schools do not have accommodation, or adequate accommodation for teachers (Mukumbira, 2001). The situation is even worse for unqualified teachers, most of who earn between 40 and 60% of the salary of the lowest paid qualified teacher.
The low salaries and poor conditions of service have contributed to ineffectiveness among teachers and the high level of brain drain. Kamara (2002) explained that such factors are making teachers leave their profession as they seek for greener pastures due to the harsh economic conditions. The teachers who are left are overburdened due to large class sizes especially with Free Primary Education. This affects their effectiveness. In addition, head teachers’ support in terms of availing resources and facilities may affect the way teachers perform. Research consistently shows that teacher effectiveness is a powerful determinant of student achievement gains. It is therefore imperative to carry out a study on the socio-economic factors influencing teachers’ effectiveness in productivity in Gaturi Division, Murang’a County.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate the socio-economic factors influencing teachers’ effectiveness in productivity in Gaturi Division, Murang’a County.
1.4 Objectives of the study
i) To determine how remuneration affects the effectiveness of teachers in primary schools
ii) To establish which school facilities affect the effectiveness of teachers in primary schools
iii) To assess the extent to which the level of training of head teachers in financial management affect effectiveness of teachers in primary schools
iv) To determine how class size affects the effectiveness of teachers in primary schools
1.5 Research questions
i) How does remuneration affect the effectiveness of teachers in primary schools?
ii) Which school facilities affect the effectiveness of teachers in primary schools?
iii) To what extent does the level of training of head teachers in financial management affect effectiveness of teachers in primary schools?
iv) How does class size affect the effectiveness of teachers in primary schools?
1.6 Significance of the study
The study may add on to the knowledge on the factors influencing teacher effectiveness from the results of the study. As a result, the Ministry of Education, TSC and BOG might get to learn other factors which affect teacher effectiveness and hence work to improve on them. This may aid shape the policy formulation activities for the good of the education sector at large.
The head teachers would understand more on where their teachers’ ineffectiveness comes from and this would set the base for what they can do in order to help the teachers and hence improve their effectiveness. Teachers might be reminded of factors which lower their effectiveness and suggest what they wish should be done in order to increase their effectiveness. This may ultimately impact positively on the learner’s performance and raise the academic standards.
The learners might also benefit from the study since teaching would be improved once teachers improve their own effectiveness. Other interested researchers might use this work for further research.
1.7 Limitations of the study
It was impossible to control the attitudes of the respondents. However, the researcher assured the respondents that anonymity would be used to conceal their identity. The researcher also explained to the respondents the importance of carrying out the study in order to change their attitude towards the study. This increased the acceptance of the study and response rates.
1.8 Delimitations of the study
The study was carried out in Gaturi Division, Murang’a County. It was also limited to public primary schools because the education in public schools was more standardized compared to private schools. The study had a focus on the teachers, head teachers and the District Assurance Officer as the respondents.
1.9 Assumptions of the study
The study was carried out on the premise that the respondents were willing to participate in the study and that the data given by the respondents was corrected and accurate for this study. It was also assumed that the sample would fully represent the target population of the study.
1.10 Definition of significant terms
Class size refers to the number of pupils in relation to the number of teachers and theresources available.
Economic conditions: can be considered the economic characteristics that describethe state of an economy.
Effectiveness: teacher performance indicated by students’ performance
Efficiency is the comparison of what teachers actually produce with what they canachieve with the same consumption of resources (money, time and labour)
Productivity: refers to the quality of teachers in being fruitful and giving expected outcome
Salary: amount of money paid to teachers by their employer
Socio-economic factors refer to the societal and monetary issues which may affectthe way a teacher delivers when teaching
Teacher shortage: A situation in which teachers needed cannot be obtained insufficient numbers
1.11 Organization of the study
This study is organized in five chapters. The first chapter: introduction covers background to the study, problem statement, objectives, research questions, significance, limitations, delimitations, assumptions and definition of terms. The second chapter reviews the past literature regarding this topic. It is composed of the past literature on factors influencing teacher productivity, theoretical framework, conceptual framework and a summary of the chapter. In the third chapter, the research design to be used is highlighted. It also outlines the target population, sample size and sampling procedure, data collection instruments, validity and reliability, data analysis and research ethics. Chapter four covers data analysis, interpretation and presentation and summary. Chapter five is composed of summary, discussion, conclusion, recommendations and suggestions for further research