Administrative Stress: Implications for Secondary School Principals
Okoroma, N. S., Robert-Okah, I., Educational Research Quarterly
The school system is a green pasture for inexhaustible investigations for the purpose of enhancing academic achievement. The reason is that factors and variables within the confines of educational activities appear also to be inexhaustible. One such factor that attracted an investigation is 'administrative stress' as it affects secondary school principals. This paper presents the results of a research conducted on the subject Five hypotheses were proposed. The results revealed that inadequate fanding; inadequate school facilities, work overload and poor conditions of service generated administrative stress for principals. The major implication of these results is that educational institutions should be adequately funded as other management variables will thereby be taken care of.
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The school is an organization with a mandate to promote teaching and learning. Its setting is expected to incorporate facilities and other educational resources mat can enhance goal achievements. The delineation of schools into categories of primary, secondary and tertiary is an acknowledgment of the varying learning goals expected to be achieved at the various levels. Secondary education is that which children receive after primary education and before the tertiary stage. Its broad goals are to prepare children for a useful living within the society, and for higher education (FRN, 2004). The goals of secondary schools are facilitated by the principals who are the defacto heads. Certain administrative elements such as a clear understanding of aims and objectives, hierarchy of authority, unity of command, division of labour etc. aid the principal in accomplishing his tasks.
The effective management of human and material resources for goal achievement is the responsibility of the principal. In addition, he must enhance other activities such as staff and students welfare, develop and implement educational programmes, provide proper instruction, school community relations, discipline and proper record keeping. Furthermore, Peretomode (1995) points out even more responsibilities for the school principal such as student's admissions, proper documentation of school finances and the creation of a conducive learning environment. As if these fundamental problems are not enough Ehiametalor (1985) notes that the Nigerian principal is further faced with the problems of large schools that have become complex to manage. He rightly identifies the source of the principals' problems to high school enrolment, poor funding, high costs of education, the impact of modern technology, growing political influence on education, inadequate teaching staff etc. These phenomena put pressure and challenge the effectiveness with which the principal performs his administrative functions. The resultant effect of too much pressure on the principal is occupational stress which Adesope (2000) attributes to as a natural way to cope with challenges in the environment.
A study of 590 teachers and principals in the United Kingdom revealed that salaries, poor human relations among staff, inadequate school buildings and equipment, teaching load, inadequate training of teachers, large classes, status of the teaching profession were the main sources of dissatisfaction (Otamiri, 2000). The source noted also that a study of 445 secondary school teachers and head teachers (principals) in California identified sources of stress to include excessive clerical work, supervisory duties at school, inadequate salary and negative attitudes towards learning.
These revelations show that the subject of stress in relation to the school principal is not new. The present study based on the Nigerian experience is a further contribution to the existing body of knowledge.
The focus of the study is on administrative stress in relation to secondary school principals in Rivers State of Nigeria. To give the study the necessary direction, the following hypotheses are proposed to guide the investigation:
(i) There is no significant relationship between inadequate funding and principals' administrative stress. …