Effects of the School Strategic Plan on pupils' academic performance in selected secondary schools of Lundazi District, Zambia
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of secondary schools strategic planning on pupils' academic performance in selected schools of Lundazi District. In Eastern Province of Zambia, schools have formulated smart mission statements and have three year strategic plans which are guiding the prioritisation of school projects, programs and directing the available resources towards priority targets. District Education Board Secretaries' offices in the province, Lundazi District inclusive, have been organising workshops and seminars for head teachers and other stake holders on how to develop strategies to mitigate the problem of poor academic results in schools. Incidentally, while some schools that have strategic plans are performing better in terms of academic performance, some schools have continued producing poor results despite the strategic plan in place. It is therefore for this reason and background that this study was set to investigate the influence of strategic planning in relation to individual strategic programme areas on pupils' academic performance in selected schools of Lundazi district of Eastern Province. The study had four objectives; to determine the extent to which schools' mission statements influenced pupils' academic performance, to assess how schools' continuous assessment strategy influenced pupils' academic performance, to determine how schools' improving teacher preparedness strategy influenced pupils' academic performance and to establish the extent to which schools' leadership, management and supervision strategies influenced pupils' academic performance in selected schools of Limdazi District. The study was guided by Hergreaves theory of school effectiveness and improvement. The study employed a descriptive survey design targeting head teachers, head of departments, teachers and pupils. The sample had 3 Head teachers, 15 head of departments, 30 teachers and 120 pupils. The research instruments used were mainly questionnaires and interview guide. Qualitative data obtained from the study was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). From the study it was established that; the majority of the schools had a mission statement written on school walls and entrances, however they were not always verbally communicated and explained across the school and as such only influenced pupils' performance to a little extent. Another finding was that, schools that had put continuous assessment programme in place in assessing their pupils' made a considerable progress to their pupils' academic performance. It was further established that improving teacher preparedness was among the various strategies used by schools and this had positively influenced pupils' academic performance. The study further revealed that, leadership and supervision of teaching and learning strategy influenced pupils' academic performance to a large extent. The overall findings indicated that there was a positive and significant influence of the school strategic plan on pupils' academic performance with the greatest influence fi-om teacher preparedness strategy. The following were the recommendations made: School vision and mission statement should be regularly communicated to all pupils in order for them to take ownership of the school improvement. MoGE should engage school administrators in creating alternative strategies to improve pupil academic performance and reinforce the implementation of strategic planning in schools with intensive monitoring and supervision. Further research was recommended on the effectiveness of school leadership in the implementation of strategic plans in secondary schools.