The management and the internal efficiency of private secondary schools in Uganda
This study investigated the relationship between management and the internal efficiency of private secondary schools in Uganda. It particularly sought to determine the effects of staffing, control of admissions, coordination of infrastructure and instructional facilities, school fees budgeting and leadership styles adopted by the administrators of the schools on the internal efficiency with the view of developing strategies for lowering wastage rates and raising the promotion and completion rates in the private secondary schools in Uganda. Media reports and statistical abstracts from the MoES have recently highlighted increasing students’ repetition and dropout rates in schools in Uganda. This is a major pointer to the internal efficiency of the schools and suggests a management lapse since it is the duty of management to ensure the efficiency of a school. This scenario raised concern because it means that resources devoted to education are being wasted on repeaters and dropouts, and this can jeopardize the future of the education system in Uganda as a whole. The study was based on the open systems theory of management which proposes that a school, just like any open organisation, is formed from several different units that must function in unison to produce the desired graduates. Thus, staffing, coordination of infrastructure and instructional facilities, control of admissions, leadership styles and budgeting are all elements that should work together as a system to produce high internal efficiency. The conceptual framework for this study was derived from the systems theory of management. The study was conducted through a cross-sectional sample survey design, using a reconstructed cohort of students who were admitted to S1 in the year 2000. Data was collected between April and June 2004 using interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions and document analysis techniques from 765 respondents in 101 private secondary schools selected from the four regions of Uganda. The data was analysed using means, standard deviations, percentage distribution and ANOVA techniques. The study established that staffing affects the internal efficiency by about 52% while control of students’ admission affects internal efficiency by about 36.8%. The study further established that coordination of infrastructure and instructional facilities affects internal efficiency by about 31.5% while budgeting affects internal efficiency by about 37.4%. Finally, the study established that leadership styles adopted by the management affect internal efficiency by about 50.4%. The study concludes that management directly affects the internal efficiency of private secondary schools in Uganda: the more effective the management, the higher the internal efficiency. Thus, if there is good staffing, good control of students’ admission, good coordination of infrastructure and instructional facilities and good leadership, then very few students will repeat classes or dropout, and many will complete their education cycle within the prescribed period. Basing generalizations on the above findings, the researcher recommends that the MoES should develop and re-enforce clear guidelines on the qualifications and number of teachers that a private secondary school should have. Secondly, the researcher recommends that private schools, just like public schools, should conduct centralised admission of students, based on an agreed criteria approved by the MoES. Thirdly, the researcher recommends that private secondary schools in Uganda be regularly inspected and be required to renew their registrations after every five years to ensure that they keep up-to-date resources. The researcher also recommends that the MoES design and offer school management curriculum and need to ensure that each school-head attends a training session each year. Finally, the researcher recommends that further research be conducted to determine the exact role of the BoGs in the management of private secondary schools in Uganda.