HUMAN RESOURCE PRACTICES AND THEIR IMPACT ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN BUNGOMA COUNTY, KENYA
WANYAMA, KADIAN WANYONYI
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Examination results from Bungoma County have shown poor Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) performance in the period of 2002-2012. There is however, need establish the Human Resource (HR) practices in institutions and determine their impact on the academic performance. The purpose of this research was to examine how the human resource practices impact on the academic performance of public schools in Bungoma County. The study was guided by Universalistic, Contingency and Configurational models and the Need Theory. The study adopted descriptive and correlational survey designs with the target population consisting of 1,031 schools and 9,884 teachers and 762 support staff. Simple and proportionate random sampling was used to select 100 schools and 100 head teachers, 130 teachers and 75 support staff. The questionnaires and interview schedules were used to collect the data which was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics, namely, regression analysis and ANOVA. The results of this study show that motivation and performance management as HR bundles have positive and significant impact on academic performance of public schools in Bungoma County while the work environment had a profound negative impact. This was an indication that these HR bundles do have a significant impact on academic performance, though at different levels. Therefore, based on the study findings, the following were study conclusions: HR practices identified in public schools in Bungoma County included training and development, staff appraisal, compensation, rewards and promotion and were being practised to some extent. It meant that strengthening these HR practices in public schools could result in improved academic performance. Motivation as a HR bundle had a positive and significant association with academic performance of public schools. This was an indication that deficiency of appropriate HR bundles of motivation like recognition and rewarding, promotion, training and development, compensation and incentives could reduce employees’ work motivation and job satisfaction leading to poor academic performance. Performance management as a HR bundle had a positive and significant relationship on the academic performance of public secondary schools in Bungoma County. Therefore, if the school management employs communicating feedback and transparency, employee engagement in setting targets and decision making, performance appraisal and evaluation, then, academic performance of their institutions will be enhanced. The work environment negatively affects the academic performance of public schools. This means that improving and closely monitoring the working conditions, staffing levels, physical and instructional materials, teaching workloads and housing facilities could led to improved academic performance in public schools in Bungoma. The results illustrate that striking equilibrium among the HR bundles like motivation, performance management and work environment could have positive and significant impact on academic performance in public schools in Bungoma County. It is recommended that the school management and the Ministry of Education should ensure that HR practices such as staff training and development, performance appraisal, communicating feedback, employee engagement, compensation, rewards and promotion are fully implemented; remuneration and benefits for staff should be comparable with salaries paid in other occupations requiring similar or equivalent qualifications, skills and responsibilities; teaching and learning environment policies and practices should consider learners’ environment; teacher/support staff performance appraisal system conducted regularly, fairly and in a transparent manner to enhance teacher professional competencies. The results will be useful to policy makers, practitioners, professionals as well as stakeholders in the Ministry of Education in Kenya in examining the extent to which HR practices affect academic outcomes in education sector and performance of teaching staff in various public schools.