Principals’ Involvement of Students in Decision Making in Relation to Reported Discipline Cases in Public Secondary Schools in Kitui County, Kenya.
Discipline is a pivotal element in smooth operation of Organisation whether public or private. The purpose of the study was to investigate influence of principals’ involvement of students in decision-making on students’ discipline. The study sought to the reported types of student indiscipline in public secondary schools in Kitui County Kenya and to establish the influence of secondary school principals’ levels of involvement of students in decision making on their (students) discipline in Kitui County, Kenya.
The study was guided by participatory theory or “people centred theory” the theory focuses on bottom-up planning and the view that ordinary people have abilities to manage their own affairs. Students were viewed as stakeholders. Descriptive survey research design was used with a target population of 369 Secondary School Principals, 369 Deputy Principals and 76071 students. From the target population, a sample of 110 principals, 110 deputy principals and 440 students were sampled through purposive sampling for principals and deputy principals, stratified proportionate sampling for the students. Questionnaires for students and deputy principals were used and an interview guide used for principals. The return rate was 110 principals 100 per cent, 80 deputy principals (72.7%) and 367 students (83.4 %).
The descriptive statistics indicated that drug and substance abuse (65%), bullying (37%) and property destruction (33.5%) were the most prevalent forms of student indiscipline. Independent T-test was employed to compare means between involvement and decision making (independent variable) with same continuous dependent variable (discipline) to determine whether the mean occurrences of student discipline differed based on principals’ involvement of students in decision making. The study established that schools had different means on discipline based on involvement of students in decision making. This implied that there could have been other factors that influenced discipline in the schools. The average mean for all the schools under study was 3.00 on discipline and 3.40 on involvement of students in decision making as indicated by the students, deputy principals and principals. The study revealed that 10 schools had means of above 4.0 indiscipline and 13 schools had means of above 4.0 in decision making, however majority of the schools indicated higher means of involvement in decision making than in discipline. The study found from 76.0 per cent of the students agreed to have been involved in decision making and this made students more responsible and committed to their work and this impacted positively on their behaviour. From the t-test p-value 0.001<0.005 indicate there is no significant difference between principals’ levels of involvement of students in decision making and students’ discipline. The results concurred with those of 85 per cent of the deputy principals who agreed that the students were involved in decision making to enhance discipline in school. The study concluded that principals involved students in decision making. The study recommends that there is need for principals to hold students responsible of decisions they participated in making especially on discipline issues.