This research attempted to analyse the roles of the head of schools in the achievement of student’s academic performance in community secondary schools in Mbeya Urban. The CSEE results show that performance has been deteriorating each year. Despite the vast research studies done by various scholars, little is known about the roles of the school heads in relation to the students’ academic performance. Various methodologies were employed to gather data. To start with, survey was conducted to sixty (60) students to obtain information on how the school leadership affects academic performance. In addition, thirty (30) teachers were surveyed and interviewed. Furthermore, DEO, ZSCI and six (6) school heads were interviewed to understand how the execution of the school heads roles effects students’ academic performance. Lastly, focused group discussion was conducted to parents to assess their involvement. The results of this study revealed that the school heads are surrounded by many challenges which make the school management to be unbearable. Their roles had been hampered by unfriendly working situations in which schools operate under shortage of teachers, facilities, funds and lack of commitment among stakeholders. This study concludes that the students’ poor academic performance in the context of the roles of school heads prevailing in community secondary schools is a result of an educational system that produces predetermined poor results.















Background to the Problem1

Statement of the Problem3

Objectives of the Study4

Main Objectives4

Specific Objectives4

Research Questions5

Significance of the Study5

Scope of the Study6

Limitations of the Study6

Operationalisation of Key Terms7

School Heads7


Academic Performance8

Community Secondary Schools8

Conceptual Framework9





The Roles of the School Heads12

Strategic Vision of School Development13

School Administration16

Supervision of Teaching Process19

Relationship Between a School and Community22


Research Gap25





Study Area27

Research Design27

Research Methods29



Focused Group Discussion30

Documentary Review31

Sampling Techniques32


Sample Size33

Data Collection33

Primary Data33

Secondary Data34

Data Management and Analysis34

Ethical Considerations34





The Strategic Vision of School Development36

School Vision36

School Action Plan39

Implication of School Motto43

Administrative Roles of School Heads46

School Almanac46

Keeping Students’ Academic Records49

Financial Management51

Supervision of Teaching Process54

Availability and Adequacy of Books55

Presence and Competence of Teachers58

Teachers’ Classroom Attendance61

Lesson Preparation64

Inspection of Classroom Teaching68

Assessment Procedures69

Accountability to the Wider Community73

Accountability to the Wider Community74

Educational Stakeholders80

Students’ Academic Performance82






General Summary of the Study86

Summary of Findings87



Recommendations for Action91

5.3.3 Recommendations for Further Studies 92




Table 4.1: Implication of the School Motto 43

Table 4.2: Preparation of School Almanac 47

Table 4.3: Keeping Student’s Academic Records 49

Table 4.4: Availability and Adequacy of Books in Community Secondary Schools 55

Table 4.5: Preparation of Curriculum Materials 64

Table 4.6: Assessment of Students’ Progress 69

Table 4.7: Certificate of Secondary Education Examination Results (2009 - 2011) . 82


Figure 1.1: Conceptual Model 10

Figure 4.1: Statement of the School Vision 37

Figure 4.2: Preparation of School Action Plan 39

Figure 4.3: Implementation of the School’s Action Plan 40

Figure 4.4: Preparation of School Almanac 47

Figure 4.5: Keeping Students’ Academic Record 50

Figure 4.6: Management of School Finance 52

Figure 4.7: Supply of Books in Community Secondary Schools. 56

Figure 4.8: Presence of Teachers 59

Figure 4.9: Teachers’ Attendance in Classrooms 62

Figure 4.10: Assessment Procedures in Community Secondary Schools 71

Figure 4.11: Conduction of Parents’ Meeting 76

Figure 4.12: Preparation and Provision of School Annual Development Reports 77

Figure 4.13: Students Academic Progressive Reports 79

Figure 4.14: Students' Academic Performance in Form Four National Examinations (2009 - 2011) 83


Appendix I: Duration and Schedule of Activities 98

Appendix II: Research Budget 99

Appendix III: Questionnaire for Teachers 100

Appendix IV: Questionnaire for Students 106

Appendix V: Interview Guide for School Heads 109

Appendix VI: Interview Guide For Teachers 112

Appendix VII: Interview Guide for School CEO and ZCIS 114

Appendix VIII: Interview Guide for Parents 116


CSEO : City Secondary Education Officer

CSEE : Certificate of Secondary Education Examination DEO : District Education Officer

DAS : District Administrative Secretary MOEC : Ministry of Education and Culture

MoEVT : Ministry of Education and Vocational Training NECTA : National Examination Council of Tanzania NGO : Non-Government Organisation

REO : Regional Education Officer REPOA : Research on Poverty Alleviation

SEDP : Secondary Education Development Programme TEN/MET : Tanzania Education Network/Mtandao wa Elimu Tanzania TP : Teaching Practice

UN : United Nations

UNESCO  : United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation ZCIS : Zonal Chief Inspector of Schools




An introduction is the first part of research report which discusses the background to the problem, statement of the problem, objectives, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitations of the study, conceptual framework and operationalisation of key terms (Kombo and Tromp, 2006)

Background to the Problem

Governments in all countries of the world strive to provide education to their citizens with the understanding that it is essential, not only for economic growth but also for social stability (REPOA, 2008). Education is expected to produce graduates who are able to thrive in a fast challenging world, meet challenges and solve problems; be entrepreneurial and create jobs, critical and active citizens (TEN/MET, 2008). Tanzania like many other countries, has radically improved the state of education, particularly in terms of classroom infrastructure and enrolment through the introduction of SEDP in 2004. In enumeration, UNESCO (2011) points out that the rapid expansion of students enrolments, led to inadequate resources which resulted into difficulties in creating expected outcomes. This has made school management to be more complex and difficult enterprise now than few decades ago. The school head is, therefore, in a difficult position, being expected to improve the students’ academic performance in a period of diminishing resources. However, achievement in students’ academic performance in community secondary schools cannot be achieved if schools heads are not in fully committed to play their roles effectively.

According to Coombs (1970) Education consists of two components. He classified these two components into inputs and outputs. According to him, inputs consist of human and material resources and outputs are the outcomes of the educational process. Both the inputs and outputs form a dynamic organic whole and if one wants to investigate and assess the students’ academic performance, effects of one component on the other must be examined. The school heads are the vital input in educational realm. MOEC (1997) points out that their major responsibilities in schools is to provide professional leadership that would lead to the achievement of educational objectives which is revealed in terms of students outcomes (output).

Despite the fact that school heads lead these community secondary schools, students’ academic performance is still very low. For example, NECTA (2009-2011) report shows that national Form Four (SCEE) results in the six sampled community secondary schools declined remarkably. In the year 2009 a total of 310 candidates sat for the Certificate for Secondary Education, 24% scored division one to three while 61% scored division four and 15% scored division 0. In the year 2010, 913 candidates sat for examinations.

In this year, only 11% students scored division i- iii while 45% scored division iv, the remaining larger number of (44%) students failed by scoring division zero. Further, the data revealed that in the year 2011 a total number of 1013 students sat for the examinations in the surveyed community secondary schools. It is only (8%) students who scored division i-iii while (47%) students obtained division IV with the rest (45%) obtaining division zero. Therefore, (92%) students failed.

UNICEF (2001) states that, under poor leadership and administration, children perform poorly in national examinations and leave school ill prepared, lacking necessary skills to thrive in difficult social and economic environment and the capacity to contribute effectively to the society transformation. Such situation is alarming, bearing in mind that these schools were established to serve the social needs. Bennaars, Otiende, Boisvert (1994) point out that, incompetence among school heads is a big problem to the overall administration and management of education. Without proper leadership, which motivates others to accomplish their tasks effectively, high achievement in students’ academic performance cannot be realized in community secondary schools, even if an institution would have all the financial resources to excel.

Statement of the Problem

Despite the considerable effort made by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoVET) to increase enrolment and improve secondary education through SEDP since 2004-2009, it has been discovered that performance in the form four certificate of secondary education examination is in decline each year. Many scholars, policy makers and other researchers have resolved to address problems that hinder students’ academic progress by conducting research on different attributes but still there are serious weaknesses on the students’ academic performance in community secondary schools that require urgent and sustained attention.

However, UNESCO (2011) argues that the rapid expansion of students’ enrolments, led to inadequate resources which make school management a much more complex. In spite of the complexity of problems surrounding the majority of schools heads in

most of community secondary schools, very few researchers and stakeholders have seriously addressed issues relating to their appointment, training and support (Handy, in Dadey and Harber, as cited in UNESCO, 2011).

This study was mainly concerned with the roles of school heads, that is, to assess how the execution of the roles of school heads affects students’ academic performance in community secondary schools. The aim was to find out the strategic vision of school development, to identify administrative roles of school heads, to evaluate the supervision of the teaching process and how the relationship with the community and other educational stakeholders affect the students’ academic performance. The study therefore, was carried out to fill the gap that exists in education context especially on the roles of the schools head in relation to the students’ academic performance in community secondary schools.

Objectives of the Study

Main Objectives

The main objective of this study was to assess the roles of the school heads enhancing students’ academic performance in community secondary schools.

Specific Objectives

(i) Find out the strategic vision of school development in enhancing students’ academic performance

(ii) Identify administrative roles of school heads towards in enhancing students’ academic performance

(iii) Evaluate how effective supervision of the teaching process in the school in enhancing students’ academic performance.

(iv) Determine the relationship between a school and community in enhancing students academic performance

Research Questions

(i) How does the strategic vision of school development contribute to the achievement of students’ academic performance in community secondary schools?

(ii) In what ways do the head teachers’ administrative roles contribute in enhancing students’ academic performance?

(iii) How does the supervision of teaching process contribute in enhancing students’ academic performance in community secondary schools?

(iv) How does the relationship between school and a wider community enhance students’ academic performance in community secondary schools?

Significance of the Study

The undertaking of the study lay on assessing how effective execution of the school heads lead to utilisation of the educational objectives in their respective schools. The study findings were expected to reveal different ways that can be used by the heads of schools in the implementation of curriculum to realise healthy outcomes. Furthermore, other education administrators such as DEO, REO and others would use the findings to improve the supervision of education in Mbeya city.

In addition, the improvement in school administration was expected to create favourable environment for the pupils to learn comfortably and effectively. As a result, quality education would be provided in schools and yield the expected outcome of education. Students would pass their examinations and leave schools well prepared with all necessary skills to enable them thrive in difficult social and economic environment. Also they would be able to contribute effectively in the social transformation and be good citizens. On top of that, the findings of the study could be used by different education stakeholders such as the government, community, influential people, political leaders, teachers and parents to look for solutions that would help to overcome challenges that face our educational system. Therefore, study findings and suggested solutions would be very useful to educational administrators, policy makers, decision makers, community, NGOs and any agencies dealing with education.

Scope of the Study

The study dealt only with the roles of school heads in enhancing students’ academic performance in community secondary schools. Six community secondary schools were involved in the study namely: Nzondahaki Secondary School, Itiji Secondary School, Sinde Secondary School, Wigamba Secondary School, Iwambi Secondary School and Legico Secondary School in Mbeya city.

Limitations of the Study

The researcher encountered various challenges during the research process. They included insufficient funds for stationery, transport and buying other important materials. Also, there was shortage of time because the researcher conducted the

study in selected secondary schools situated far apart from each other, at the same time performing other duties. However, the shortage of fund was solved by receiving assistance from the bank in terms of loan to cover those expenses. This helped a lot since the required data were sufficiently collected and made the research findings of this study more reliable. On the other hand, the researcher had to extend time of conducting research to ensure that time constraint was overcome and the research findings become useful.

Operationalisation of Key Terms

School Heads

A school head is a person who is in charge of a school. Schools like other organizations have objectives to achieve. The main objective of a school is to transmit knowledge, skills and desired attitudes to students. Schools need proper leadership to accomplish the stated objective. In this study, a school head is the one who is responsible in motivating and ensuring other subordinates execute well their roles especially provision of quality Education. A school head is also responsible and accountable to the wider community.


A role is the function or position that somebody has in an organization, in society, or in a relationship with other people. In this study, roles are the expected patterns of behaviours and responsibilities associated with a headship position within a school. A school head that is in charge of the school has a lot of responsibilities to accomplish. For example, developing strategic vision and direction of the school

development, management of staffs, students and finances, supervision of the implementation of school curriculum and developing the relationship with the wider community.

Academic Performance

Academic performance refers to how well or badly a student does in his/her study. Academic performance of students is mostly assessed through tests and examinations during the implementation of the curriculum in the class, at the end of a lesson, at the end of each term, at the end of academic year or at the end of the educational programme. In this study, the student’s academic performance was assessed basing on the final results a student acquired in form four examinations. The students’ academic performance can be good if he or she can not only remember what have been taught but also be able to apply it to solve he everyday challenges. Performance cannot be bad if student perform poorly in examinations and leave school ill prepared, lacking necessary skills to thrive in difficult social and economic environment and the capacity to contribute effectively to the society transformation.

Community Secondary Schools

Community secondary schools are schools established and owned by the local community. Mainly, community schools intend to enrol children within that geographical location. In this study, community secondary schools are all schools established by local community in every ward through citizen’s contribution by building certain percentages while government contributed the remaining percentages and running the school. This study examined the role of the schools

heads in the achievement of student’s academic performance in community secondary schools.

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual framework refers to the tool in research that aims at enabling the researcher develop awareness and understanding of the situation under scrutiny and to communicate it to the reader (Kombo and Tromp, 2006). A well-formed conceptual framework enables the researcher show how the basic concepts and constructs interact with each other in the actual setting and experiences within which the research study is conducted. This study developed a conceptual framework that addresses the interaction and relationship holding between the roles of school heads and students’ academic performance. As shown in Figure 1, students’ academic performance had a great relationship between input, process and output as elaborated in the next paragraphs.

Good students’ academic performance depend very much on the school vision that expresses what should be done, how it should be done, where and when to accomplish the main objective which is to provide knowledge, skills and attitudes to students. The vision should identify the long, medium and short-term objectives. A school head that analyses and plans for future needs, usually secures effective teaching and learning process that leads to improvement of students’ academic performance. On the contrary, lack of vision in a school, make the teaching and learning process in effective because each member would not know what is the intended outcome, how, when and where to accomplish his/her responsibilities.

Also, good students’ academic performance can be realized if there is good supervision of the teaching process. The school head would secure and sustain effective teaching throughout the school by monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and standards of students’ achievements. He or she should organize the implementation of the school curriculum by insisting high learning time, variety of teaching strategies, frequent homework, assessment and feedback. On the other hand, lack of teaching supervision leads into poor quality of teaching and low standard of students’ academic performance. Good relationship between schools with the community creates the favourable environment for teaching and learning process, which results into good students’ academic performance.


⦁ Strategic vision of the school development

⦁ School administration

⦁ Teaching supervision

⦁ Relationship with community

Form Four National Examination Results



Students’ Academic Performance


Teaching and learning process

⦁ High learning time

⦁ Variety in the teaching strategies

⦁ Frequent homework

⦁ Assessment and feedback

Figure 1.1: Conceptual Model

The school head must ensure that parents, students and various stakeholders are well- informed about the curriculum, attainment and progress as well as how to minimize challenges that hinder high students’ academic performance. Nevertheless, poor relationship between school and community lead to poor academic of students. The following is a summary of conceptual model:


This chapter has presented background of the problem whereby a brief overview of the problem was well presented to clarify the need for the study. Also, the statement of the problem revealed how students in community secondary schools perform poorly while the heads of school execute their headship roles. The objectives from which the research questions were designed are also presents in this chapter. The objectives focused on finding out how the school vision, the supervision of the teaching process, school administration and relationship between school and other stakeholders contribute in enhancing of students’ academic performance in community secondary schools.

Furthermore, the significance of the study showed that the study would be beneficial to school heads and other education stakeholders. However, the major challenge that a researcher encountered was lack of money to fund the study. Lastly, the conceptual framework showed that students’ academic performance can best be understood by upraising the relationship between input, process and output.




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