Leadership qualities and school effectiveness: the case of Tanzania secondary schools

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University of Dar es Salaam
The study investigated the extent to which the qualities of leadership among heads of secondary schools contributed to the promotion and enhancement of the teaching-learning process and to good school performance or school effectiveness. Four research tasks guided the study. These looked into the effects of the heads leadership qualities manifested in their leadership and practices, as they fulfilled their leadership roles in the schools. Such qualities included professional knowledge and experience in school management; consideration for staff and students’ welfare; involvement of staff and students in the management of the schools and clarification of educational goals and offering guidance to staff and students on performing school tasks. The review of literature consisted of both theoretical and empirical overview. It enabled the researcher to draw ideas from different leadership theories and models, in order develop an appropriate model for data needs and analysis. The major components of the derived model came from the Ohio State Leadership Studies, Fielder’s contigency Model, dthe PATH- Goal Leadership theory and Daft and Zaltman’s description of the organisations’ external environment. The study was conducted in ten public secondary schools in Tanzania Mainland. The schools were grouped into categories of High performing schools (HPS) and Low Performing Schools (LPS). The HPS included Kibaha, Mazengo, Minaki, Moshi Technical and Umbwe secondary schools. The LPS consisted of Korogwe, Maneromango, Matombo, Mawenzi and Mgeta secondary schools. The study sample consisted of 224 respondents who included the commissioner of Education, the Director of Secondary Education. Chief Zonal Inspectors, school Board Members, Heads and Assistant Heads of secondary schools, secondary school teachers and students. Three main techniques were used in data collection, namely documentary reviews, interviews and questionnaires. The findings of the research revealed that majority of the heads of secondary schools who were appointed to headship positions possessed the required professional qualifications, experience in teaching and in school management, and had undertaken training courses in educational administration and school management. Few heads of schools who did not possess the required academic qualifications were appointed to the headship position on very exceptional criteria. The findings further revealed that the appointment procedures were unclear. The duration of the training courses was too short to enable the candidates to cover fully the technicalities and the diverse responsibilities of the head of school; and there were no pre-service and in-service training courses to update the heads of schools’ leadership knowledge, skills and qualities. According to the research findings, heads of schools showed consideration for their staff and students’ welfare. But their efforts were weakened by the inadequate government funding of the schools; lack of instructional materials; and unmaintained physical plants. The study findings revealed that heads of schools involved their staff and students in the management of their schools. However, it was noted that majority of the heads of school were being blamed by their staff and students for not implementing the resolutions reached by the democratic organs and structures. It was also discovered that heads of schools strove to clarify educational goals and school tasks. They offered specific guidance to staff and students in performing the school tasks. However the low status accorded to the teaching profession and to school headship, the low salaries and allowances given to the heads of schools and the teachers; the poor working conditions and the inadequate provision of services in the schools’ efforts to clarify goals and offer guidance to staff and students. School communities were seen to be highly demotivated, demoralised and frustrated. The obtaining conditions existing in the teaching profession; educational administration and in the government’s handling of students’ welfare seemed to disfavour the efforts of the heads of schools to put their leadership qualities into practice fully, in order to create and enhance good school performance or school effectiveness. It was recommended that the Ministry of Education and culture should revise the criteria for the identifying, selecting, deploying, retaining and developing the heads’ of secondary schools and other educational institutions. The appointment procedures for heads of schools should be transparent and competitive. The government should provide adequate funds to the secondary schools. The government should also try to provide adequate instructional materials and other facilities and equipment to the schools. It should also revise its motivation packages for the teaching professionals. It was recommended further that heads of schools should try hard to implement the resolutions reached by the democratic structures in the schools. Parents should show more concern and interest in their children’s education and general behaviour. This would minimize discipline problems in the secondary schools. Finally, it was recommended that the government should look for ways of controlling the influence of ‘preventive education’ in schools.
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School management and organization, School personnel management
Maro, S. S. A (1994) Leadership qualities and school effectiveness: the case of Tanzania secondary schools, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (