Planning skills by heads of science departmentand academic performance in science subjects in public secondary schools in Nandi county, Kenya
Curriculum and instructional planning is important to ensure that academic activities run without interruption in an academic year or term. Heads of departments (HODs of Science) play a pivotal role in implementation of curriculum in secondary schools. Planning is one of the functions vested on HODs to ensure proper implementation of curriculum in their departments. This paper therefore looks at HODs planning skills towards academic performance improvement in three science subjects in public secondary schools in Nandi County, Kenya. The decision to choose HODs of science was due to the importance that is placed on science subject but which has recorded below average performance compared to other subjects in Kenya Certificate of Secondary School. The three science subjects under investigation are; Physics, Biology and Chemistry for secondary schools. The study used mixed method research design. The study had three target populations that comprised of 231 heads of departments, 231 principals and 693 teachers. The sample size of the study was determined using Krejcie and Morgan formulae of determining sample size and comprised of 23 principals, 128 HODS of science and 247 teachers who were selected through stratified random sampling. Data collection was through questionnaires and interview schedule. Analysis of data was performed through quantitative and qualitative methods. The correlation analysis was computed from HODs and science teachers’ data. The study discovered that most of them only planned for science practicals to be conducted on occasional basis by teachers in the department. Moreover, the HODs of Science ensured that the planned activities were conducted as planned. However, the HODs of Science were found not to have proper planning skills on ICT usage, acquisition of instructional material and conducting training needs assessment for teachers. The computed correlation statistics showed that there existed significant influence (p<0.05) between planning skills by HODs of Science and academic performance of students in sciences in public secondary schools in Nandi County. The study recommends that HODs of Science need to be informed by Quality Assurance and Standards Officers (QASOs) that they need to be proactive and not reactive to the responsibilities under their docket. Participatory planning practices needs also to be embraced by HODs of Science for improved implementation and execution of set objectives and targets.
Keywords: Planning, Skills, Quality, Performance, Sciences HODs