The role of the school principal in the implementation of education reforms

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Jane Rarieya

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Shelina Walli


AKU-East Africa


This study sought to investigate how school principals implement education reforms in Kenya. It focused on the main roles of school principals in the implementation of national education reforms, the factors that support them during the implementation, and the challenges that hinder them and the strategies they devise to mitigate the challenges.

The study adopted a qualitative approach a case study design. It used a purposively selected sample of 18 participants from two secondary schools in Mombasa County, Kenya. Data for this study was gathered by individual interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. Study findings show that the school principals were implementing several reforms. These are Free Day Secondary Education policy (FDSE), 100 percent policy, ICT integration and National Education Management System (NEMIS).

Findings also show that school principals played varied roles during the implementation of national education reforms. These are; provision and mobilization of educational resources and facilities, playing a supervisory role, facilitating teachers’ professional development and building healthy relationships. The findings also show that several factors support the school principals to implement educational reforms. These are availability of resources and parental support and teachers.

Further, study findings show that school principals were faced with challenges during the implementation process such as inadequate teaching and learning resources, non-supportive parents, increased student indiscipline, late disbursements of FDSE funds and lack of information for reforms and preparation of school principals and teachers. The school principal utilized their leadership skills, leadership styles and creativity to develop strategies to deal with the challenges they encountered in the process. These strategies included; distributed leadership, collaboration and building relations with all stakeholders. In addition, the implications and recommendations for practice and policy are shared.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library