ROLES AND CHALLENGES OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT IN KENYAN SECONDARY SCHOOL

ROLES AND CHALLENGES OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT IN KENYAN SECONDARY SCHOOL

TASK:  discuss the roles and challenges faced by the board of management (BOM) under the new constitutional dispensation in secondary school administration.

The constitution of Kenya 2010 has provided for free and compulsory education as a human right to every Kenyan child. The country is therefore obliged to align education, training and education management to the demands of the new constitution. This means reviewing all aspects of the education system to make it responsive to the new realities. To date, the main focus has been on improving levels of access, retention, quality, equity, relevance and the overall efficiency of the education sector. Vision 2030, launched in 2008, also made it necessary to realign the education sector.

Education management involves the prudent utilization of personnel, funds and equipment aimed at enhancing the efficient delivery of quality education. School management involves the planning, organization and coordination of resources so as to deliver on educational goals. Many educational institutions are grappling with various challenges in regard to management at all levels, Kenyan secondary schools are not spared. Some cases of under performance in examinations, governance issues, financial management concerns, low staff turn-over and infrastructural deficits characterize many schools. Studies indicate a strong positive relationship between quality of school management and the degree of attainment of educational and school goals.

Under the new constitution, education management and governance changed so as to improve the management and governance of individual schools. Now, all secondary schools are managed by a board of management (B.O.M) that includes: the principal of the schools as the secretary of the board, two teachers as members of the board, parents, school sponsor and members of the community. The B.O.M has replaced and usurp the powers of the B.O.G, school management committees and replaced the P.T.A.

The B.O.M as the school governing body would have far more influence and power and make important decisions affecting the quality of education provision in the school. All members will be continuously trained and inducted on their roles and responsibilities.

Some of the responsibilities and roles that are expected of this board includes; providing oversight on management of the school. The board members are expected to meet regularly to deliberate on the management issues of the school. The board also has the responsibility of monitoring curriculum delivery and learning achievement in the school. This is done by the board closely scrutinizing the performance of the student both in national and school examinations. The board also has the responsibility to ensure that the students engage in extra curriculum activities. They also have to ensure the competence of the teachers in delivery of the content of the curriculum. This could be where the board employs additional teachers for the school.

The B.O.M also has the role to develop all institutional policies and ensure accountability and prudent use of institutional resources. The board, thus, has to be vigilant in scrutinizing the books of account and pay its workers fairly to ensure accountability and transparency in the school.

The BOM has the responsibility of mobilizing resources for the institution development based on agreed strategic planning. This means that, the board has to work according to the agreed upon plans. They have to avail, not only financial resources, but also human resource; for example, for the teachers to be motivated to work, the environment should be conducive to them. The board could therefore ensure that the staffroom is comfortable and necessities like lunch provided for the teachers.

The BOM of any given school has the responsibility to promote networking and partnership for the school. This is done through proper uses and utilization for the school resources. This in turn assures the partners of proper usage of their finances if for example they partnered with the school. The BOM members could also, through networking, get not only financial support for the school, but also other important assistance. For example, a local firm or company supports the school football team by giving them uniforms, balls, and other such requirements.

The Board of management has the responsibility to discus and approves comprehensive termly and annual reports and forwards them to the county education board (CEB). The board therefore, has the task of setting goals for the school. They could be a short term or long term i.e. a term, academic year, 4 years etc. they also have the responsibility of proving all the resources required for the attainment of these goals.

To promote quality education and training for all learners in accordance with the standards set under the education acts, national policies, and county government policies is another role that the BOM has to play. They do this by ensuring that the school meets all requirements that would make learning conducive for the learners according to the capacity of the school. This therefore means appropriate planning and budgeting of the available resources.

The BOM in consultation with the relevant agencies has to supervise and ensure quality in curriculum implementation and delivery and oversee the conduct of examination and assessments of school. This ensures that the learners are given standard exams so as to prepare them for national examinations.

They also have the responsibility to ensure and assure provision of proper and adequate proper physical activities as well as teaching and learning resources in order to create an enabling environment for the school community to perform their duties effectively and achieve set objectives of the institution. This therefore means that the board has the responsibility to advice the county education board (CEB) on the resource need of the school. Once the resources are availed, they have to ensure that the priorities are right and basics are provided fast.

It’s also the role of the board to receive and approve the institution’s budget. They should therefore be involved in planning in advance, for example; before the beginning of a term, the board could meet to determine what is needed and that is budgeted for. They also have to receive and discus audited reports of the institution and act as required. This ensures accountability and proper use of finances.

The BOM is also responsible for making recommendation to the CEB on appointments, dismissals or removal of the board’s secretary or manager. This would be based on the performance of the manager. For example, if the principle s effective or efficient, he or she would be recommended to the CEB; but if the opposite is applied, the board could therefore advice the CEB to remove him/ her from office. Last but not least, the board has the responsibility of encouraging the local community, parents, teachers, learners and all the educational stakeholders to actively participate in the development of the school. This could be done by making sure that the school plays its designated role of producing competent and responsible learners and involving the community and stakeholders in its activities.

With the many roles that the board has to achieve, there are many challenges that face any board at any given time. Some of these challenges include; there is no clarity on the roles of parents, communities, civil societies, professional groups, teachers union, sponsors, teachers and other stakeholders in the running of the system. This therefore results in confusions and a situation where there is conflicting interests hence poor or delayed decision making processes.

In Kenya today, we do not have an educational stakeholder’s forum or national educational advisory council, which would ensure that all stakeholders have a voice in the system. This is a challenge to any board, because, though they may be performing their duties, some other aspects of the system may not be functional or if functioning, not functioning well.

Many of the challenges facing BOM has to do with confusion and lack of clarity in the ministry of education headquarters. For example, the sector is governed by many un-harmonized, rules and regulations with a result to conflict of failure to take action. The current management structure within the ministry of education is top-heavy and centralized hierarchal and bureaucratic. This therefore leads to decision making being inefficient with field officers referring matters on top instead of taking action which would result to censure from the ministry. This results in issues raised by the BOM of schools taking long to be dealt with or never being dealt with at all.

Instances of mismanagement of resources and general non-accountability of the same in the sector at all levels, from ministry of education to all schools. For example, funds sent directly to schools and those managed by the ministry of education are not properly used. This is made worse by weak accountable governance structures, monitoring and tracking systems.

There is also the challenge of power. The BOM has no power to make requisite management decisions for proper running and governance of the schools. This in many instances is coupled up by lack of government support, influence from the local community, political influence and uncooperative heads/ principals.

Another challenge is financing. In most cases, schools have very limited money for their daily operations. For example, the government takes very long to disburse funds to the school. The school is therefore unable to carry out most of its plans. The funds are also not enough for the activities and development needs of the school. There are also instances where there are conflicting interests of the BOM members. This could arrive for example, where the school needs to carry out projects such as construction and tendering. The conflicting interests of the members would make the process long and non-competitive. Quality would also not be assured.

In conclusion, the BOM plays an important role in the process of providing quality education for the Kenyan child despite the many challenges that they face in this pursuit. The government therefore needs to streamline structures in the Ministry of Education to ensure accountability, allocate more funds and support the BOM so as to provide quality, accessible and relevant education to its children.

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