Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Nancy Dishner, Russell F. West


This study sought to examine the factors that inhibited principals and teachers from pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Busia District in Kenya. Up to the mid-1990s, teachers of all professional grades studied for National Examinations as private candidates. Those who met university admission requirements were admitted and the Teachers Service Commission granted each of them a study leave with 80% of his or her salary. Some of those who met university admission requirements were admitted to foreign universities, and the Ministry of Education either granted them study leave with or without salary. On passing their examinations or completion of their studies, they were promoted on academic grounds.

After the mid-1990s, the Kenyan Ministry of Education changed its policy from promotions on academic grounds to “merit promotions”. Merit promotion considered a teacher’s teaching effectiveness, co-curricular activities, community involvement, and the principals’ recommendations. Merit promotion was applied to those in job group M and above after serving in one job group for at least three years. Promotions from job group J, which was a starting point of a graduate teacher, to job group K, and from K to L, were automatic, provided that a teacher had been in one job group for three consecutive years of service. Although copies of academic qualifications were required when applying for promotion, the Kenyan Ministry of Education did not promote teachers from one job group to another on the basis of their attainment of higher academic qualifications. Consequently, teachers did not pursue further studies because they were not going to be promoted. The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that inhibited teachers from pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Stratified purposeful sampling was used to select the participating schools. Thirteen out of 27 high schools were chosen. All teachers in the chosen schools were invited to participate in the study. One hundred thirty-one out of 214 teachers, (61.2% of the total), including principals, completed questionnaires. Nine of the 13 principals invited (69.2%) completed the questionnaire.

Conclusions were drawn from the participants’ responses. There were overwhelming data expressing the views that widespread teachers’ poverty and the policies of the Kenyan Ministry of Education were the major inhibitors of teachers’ efforts to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.