Karin Allik

Doctoral defence: Innocent Kwame Bedi “Determining school heads’ practices aimed at ensuring school quality and the resulting job stress factors: a study of senior high school heads in Ghana”

On 9 December at 10:00 Innocent Kwame Bedi will defend his doctoral thesis “Determining school heads’ practices aimed at ensuring school quality and the resulting job stress factors: a study of senior high school heads in Ghana” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Educational Sciences).

Associate Professor emeritus Hasso Kukemelk, University of Tartu 
Associate Professor Emanuele Bardone, University of Tartu 

Professor Jan Heystek, North-West University (Republic of South Africa)

Unlike the leadership of other sectors with well-defined roles, that of School heads differ. School heads are significant stakeholders in education with irreplaceable duties. Their roles keep evolving as society develops with much complexity. Thus, they are not easily define, and the incidence of job stress affects their performance and satisfaction in improving school quality for quality learning outcomes. The current thesis aims to provide an overview of the practices performed by School heads, the stressfulness of the practices, the factors that affect their job stress and the performance of practices. In addition, the thesis sought to determine the practices perform to improve school quality, the job stressors, and support factors in that regard. Data was first collected from secondary school heads across Ghana for the quantitative part of the study and from Heads in Volta Region for the qualitative study. The results indicated 22 most preferred practices of school heads. The results also indicate that though the practices were stressful, the Heads did not renege on their duties. The result revealed age, school type, and classification affected the heads’ job stress. In contrast, age and position affected the job satisfaction level of schools, with position also affecting the performance of practices. On implementing reforms, the results indicated that Heads perform tasks related to reforms though stressful. With specific reference to quality school improvement, the results revealed among others, that School heads promote professional staff development, and students are also well tutored. However, challenges with supervision, lack of resources and support from teachers and bureaucracy negatively impacted their performance. These notwithstanding, Heads relied on support from experiences from past roles and their academic background to cope with stressful situations. Based on the results, some practical implications were adduced. Further research should test the practices in a bigger sample and develop strategies to support school heads in performing their duties.