STRATEGIES IN MANAGEMENT OF TEACHERS LEVELS OF ABSENTEEISM IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN KILIFI NORTH CONSTITUENCY, KILIFI COUNTY, KENYA.
MGANDI, PATRICIA NDURYA
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Absenteeism is a major challenge in many learning institutions in Kenya. Kilifi County being one of the regions experiencing this important challenge specifically in public schools. This study sought to assess the rate of teacher absenteeism and the factors that contribute to such rate of teachers’ absenteeism from schools. This was aimed at recommending possible strategies that could be adopted to curb teacher absenteeism in public primary schools in Kilifi North Constituency, Kilifi County. Specifically, the study sought to determine the level of teacher absenteeism, reasons for absenteeism and strategies to curb teacher absenteeism. To achieve this, the study used a survey design that included both qualitative and quantitative data which was statistically analyzed. A sample size of 120 respondents including 90 teachers and 30 head teachers was drawn from 30 randomly selected schools in Kilifi North Constituency. Piloting was carried out in randomly selected schools which were not involved in the main study. A questionnaire was used for data collection. Collected data was analysed using SPSS and presented in bar-graphs, pie charts and frequency tables. Findings of the study indicated a level of 10.8% absenteeism each day. Over half the teachers' sample indicated that absenteeism in school affects the learning process of the pupils. More female than male teachers indicated that teacher absenteeism affected the process of learning. Chi square test (χ = 0.079, p = 0.78) found no significant association between gender and teacher absence. Reasons for rampant absenteeism ranged from sickness, compassionate leave, attending to family matters, seminars/workshop such as Tusome and Pride and attending to other social issues such as funerals. An equal number of female and male teachers were affected by sickness and societal problems. Equal numbers of both male and female teachers fail to attend to classes though present in school and on average, more than half of the teachers can be at school and fail to attend classes. Chi square test (χ = 0.93, p = 0.33) found no significant association between gender and failure to attend to classes even when a teacher was in school. Strategies in place to cover for absent teachers in the schools include other teachers stepping in for them, giving students assignments and group discussions in the classes. Findings therefore point to high level of teacher absenteeism and hence the study recommended closer supervision.