Role of Head Teachers in Human Resource Management in Public Primary Schools in Suba Sub County

African Research Journal of Education and Social Sciences, Vol. 2, No. 1,  2015

Author: Hosea M. Mugera, School Director at St. Marks Academy – Kenya.
P.O Box 282 – 00517, Nairobi, Kenya | E-mail:


Best practices in human resource management are the hallmark of success in any progressive organization. However, the extent to which effective practices in human resource management have been employed in schools for quality education remains questionable. The principal aim of this study was to examine the role of Head Teachers in human resource management in public primary schools in Suba Sub County, Kenya. The study used a cross-sectional survey design. The sample consisted of seventy four teachers and ten Head Teachers. Stratified random sampling procedure was used to arrive at the sample of schools, teachers and the Head Teachers who took part in the study. Descriptive statistics were used to present quantitative data while qualitative data were analyzed using content analysis approach. Statistical applications including SPSS and Ms Excel were used to compute statistical summaries for categorical data. From the analysis, the study revealed that Head Teachers acted as human resource managers through monitoring and evaluation of teachers, provision of safe and conducive working environments, development of the human resources through staff motivation, and teacher development through courses and training. The study recommended the Ministry of Education to develop tailor-made in-service programs geared towards the enhancement of school Head Teachers as institutional human resource managers for quality education and school effectiveness.

Keywords: Quality Education, school effectiveness, school human resource management, Head teachers’ role, human resource management practice

Education is a human right. Article 26 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNESCO, 1948), states that “Education shall be free and shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”. At the World Education Forum in Dakar (2000), world leaders of 180 countries agreed that by 2015 all boys and girls of school-going age should be enrolled in school and be able to complete a quality Free Primary Education (FPE). These international agreed upon declarations imply that state’s are required to provide both access to primary education by making it free and compulsory and quality by ensuring education should fully develop learners and strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. The quality of education includes the proper management of resources available in the learning institutions that include human resources.

According to an observation made by Elwood, Holton and Trott (1996) Human Resources Development (HRD) framework views employees, as assets to the organization whose value is enhanced by development. HRD stresses developing individual potential and skills through courses and training to enhance or equip the staff with the relevant skills that lead to improved productivity both in quantity and quality. However, the extent to which effective interventions in human resource management have been employed in schools for quality education remains questionable. The principal aim of this study was to examine the role of Head Teachers in human resource management in public primary schools in Suba Sub County, Kenya.


This study adopted a mixed method design to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The design is useful in describing the characteristics of a large population making use of large samples, thus allowing the results to be representative of the target population even when analyzing multiple variables. Through a mixed methods approach, data was collected through questionnaires for the teachers and interviews for the head teachers. This study consisted of a vast area and a large target population of teachers in public primary schools in Suba District. The design was found appropriate in reaching out to the targeted population through the use of questionnaires and interview. The target population for this study consisted of 400 teachers and 84 head teachers from 84 public primary schools of Suba Sub county of Kenya. Of the 484 people in the population, a sample of 84 teachers and 10 head teachers’ from10 public primary schools were selected. The total sample of the respondents were 90. However, only 74 teachers and all 10 head teaches responded to the research instruments with a 93% response rate.

The study applied both probability and non-probability sampling procedures to obtain the respondents for questionnaire and interviews. The research used simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques. Ten schools were sampled using a cluster random sampling procedure. The schools were first clustered in two divisions, namely Gwassi South and Gwassi North. Five schools were randomly picked from each of the two clusters, giving a total of ten schools. The sample must be as representative as possible of the population from which it is drawn. At least 10% of the total population can be considered as a representative sample (Gay, 1996). Thus, 12% of the accessible population is enough for the sample size. Hence, ten schools out of 84 schools were picked as a representative number. Within the cluster of randomly selected schools, purposive sampling procedure was used to arrive at 80 teachers. The class teachers from the upper classes, namely standards four to eight were selected. The Head Teachers from the 10 sampled schools were selected to participate in the study.

This study employed both questionnaires and interview guides to collect data from the sample populations. The questionnaires were used for soliciting data from the teachers. This is because the questionnaires can collect wide variety of data (Owen, 2002). The questionnaires for teachers were composed of several sections. An introductory section and instructions preceded the first section of the questionnaire. The first part of the questionnaire dealt with demographic characteristics of the respondents, while the other parts solicited information about the role of head teachers in human resource management in enhancing the quality of free primary education in Suba Sub County.

The interviews were used for soliciting data from the head teachers. The interview would give chance to probe for more and deeper information. The interview schedule contained both closed and open-ended questions. The first section of the guide contained the demographic factors of the respondents and then the second section concentrated more on the role of head teachers in human resource management on enhancing the quality of free primary education.

Collected data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative data analysis approaches. Quantitative approach involved the descriptive analyses such as frequencies and percentages. Data from questionnaire were coded and entered in the computer using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) Version 11.5. Data collected through interviews from Head Teachers were analyzed qualitatively. Qualitative data generated from interviews were categorized in themes in accordance with the research questions and reported in narrative form along with quantitative presentation. The emerging themes of concern were integrated within the framework of the quantitative analysis.

3. Results

3.1 Demographic Characteristics

About two third (65%) of the teachers who took part in the study were male while the rest, slightly over a third (35%), were female.  Over two third (68%) of them had an educational level of P1 Certificate, or the minimum recommended level of education for primary school teachers in Kenya. A few of them (19%) were diploma holders. Moreover, 14% were form four leavers and had not attained the recommended level of education for primary school teachers. In terms of teaching experience, 70% of them had a  teaching experience of 5 years and above. Almost a third of them (29%) had a teaching experience of 4 years and below.

3.2 How the Head Teachers Ensured Effective Human Resource Management in Schools

The study sought to examine how the Head Teachers ensured effective human resource management for quality education in primary schools in Suba District. To answer this objective, teachers were asked to indicate whether they Strongly Agreed (SA), Agreed (A), Neutral (N), Disagreed (D) or Strongly Disagreed (SD) with the various statements regarding the role of head teachers on human resource management. The provided Table shows the distribution of the respondents.

Distribution of Teachers on the Role of Head teachers on Human Resource Management

Human resource management roles Agree Undecided Disagree
F % F % F %
Head teacher is involved in monitoring and evaluation of teachers 63 84 3 4 8 12
Head teacher is responsible for provision of conducive working environment 49 65 7 10 18 25
Head teacher engagement in teacher motivation and promotions 31 41 11 15 32 44
Head teacher is keen on teacher development through training 44 59 6 8 24 33

With reference to the role of monitoring and evaluation of teachers, an overwhelming majority (84%) of the respondents were positive about head teachers’ active involvement in monitoring and evaluation of teachers.

In terms of the provision of conducive working environment, two thirds (65%) of respondents agreed to the statement that the head teachers in the schools were responsible for the provision of safe and conducive working environment. This was however not the case among a few of them (25%) who disagreed to the latter.

In response to the question of whether the head teachers were engaged in development of human resource through staff motivation and promotions, 41% of the teachers agree while 44% of them disagreed to the latter.

Data from this study is in conformity with this view. In terms of the teacher development through training, slightly more than half of the respondents (59%) agreed to the statement that the head teachers were keen in teacher development through courses. However, a third of them (33%) were negative to the statement.
Head Teachers were interviewed on their role in human resource management. They were asked to state and explain some of the roles that they played in managing the human resource in their respective schools. Various responses were received. Most of the Head Teachers reported that their duties as human resource managers included the following: monitoring of teachers, providing housing to the staff members and creating conducive working conditions through improved teacher relations. Upon being interviewed one of the head teachers reported that:

Head teachers play critical role in human resource management, which includes not only managing the teaching and non-teaching staff but also students and member of school community in general. The key duty include motivating teachers, developing teachers’ skills and knowledge improvement through further educations, mentoring students, and supporting all members of school community (Sic, Head Teacher 1, 2012).

The Head Teachers further explained that their role as human resource managers was vital in contributing towards enhancing the quality of education despite feeling inadequate as they had not received formal training in human resource management.


The findings of this study indicate that the head teachers are keen in the monitoring and evaluation of teachers with 84% of the respondents in agreement. This is one of the roles in human resource management that is well done across most of the schools. However, the Head Teachers do not do enough in the motivation of the teachers as indicated by the 44% of teachers who disagreed that Head Teachers were keen to motivate staff.

Organizations must optimize the utilization of its resources that include financial, physical and human resources to realize the goals and motivate staff, therefore HRD is a tool every institution must utilize to realize its goals. As indicated in this study, staff motivation is one area that both the Head Teachers and teachers found lacking. 44% of the teachers disagreed with the statement that head teachers are keen in staff motivation, 41% agreed while (15%) were neutral to the statement. This indicates that the line is very thin between the two opinions of those who agree or disagree with the statement that head teachers are keen in staff motivation and could be an area of further interrogation as to how the Head Teachers are motivating the teachers. However, the head teachers indicated they would need training to improve the level at which they were motivating teachers in their schools.

Human Resources Development (HRD) framework according to Elwood, Holton and Trott (1996) views employees, as an asset to the organization whose value is enhanced by development. The employer identifies the skills and potential of an individual and develops them through courses and training. The employees in turn improve their quality of service and productivity.

In this study on the role of the head teachers in development of teachers through training (59%) of the respondents agreed the head teachers were keen while a third (33%) disagreed. However, the respondents indicated that the head teachers were keen only on in-service training organized by Ministry of Education and had no role on teacher’s individual training or study. This was in line with another study conducted to examine the extent school management participated in the development on human resource in public schools by (Mutai, 2003). The purpose of the study was to determine the extent to which school management participates in the development of human resource in public primary schools. The findings indicated that while the head teachers were effective in provision of physical facilities and financial management in their schools, they participated minimal in the staff development through training.
In a research conducted in public primary schools in Kapsabet Division on the factors that inhibit the development of human resource in public primary school in Uasin Gishu Districts (Odhiambo, 2001). The target population included all public primary schools, head teachers, teachers and pupils. Various techniques were used in this study to collect data. Some of them included interview guide and questionnaires. The study found out that the major problem of most of the head teachers was the level of education. He pointed out that majority of school Head Teachers had only the minimum P1 qualification and were not well exposed to strategies and techniques used in HRD. This is not different in this case of Suba District where over two thirds (68%) indicated they had only P1 qualification and had no formal training on human resource management.


The study indicates that the Head Teachers play their roles in monitoring and evaluation of teachers in the curriculum implementation and are keen to create conducive working environments. However, there is a gap in the aspect of staff motivation and promotion.

From the findings of this study, the Head Teachers who are the human resource managers in the schools feel inadequate as they have no formal training on human resource management. The Ministry of Education should organize capacity building sessions for the Head Teachers and their deputies during the school holidays. Teacher training institutions should include human resource management in the curriculum for all teachers.

While this study examined the role of head teachers in human resource management in enhancing quality of education, the aspect of motivation for the teachers in relation to working environment needs further interrogation.


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Odhiambo, D. (2001). Causes of poor examination performance in Kapsabet Division Schools. Nairobi: CUEA.

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