Interest groups in education : teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of the Kenya National Union of Teachers

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The purpose of this study is to explore teachers' perceptions of the effectiveness of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) as a professional organization and trade union championing the interest of teachers. The premise from which the work begins is that KNUT as an interest group organization is guided in its role by the needs, desires and aspirations of teachers, both as individuals and members of the teaching profession. In this regard, its effectiveness (in terms of meeting or fulfilling its goals) is therefore central to the maintenance of its legitimacy among the teaching corps. The study uses questionnaires and interview schedules to collect data from primary and secondary teachers located in the rural and urban regions of Nakuru and Kisumu districts in Kenya. The questionnaire survey consisted of a rating scale, which sought the opinion of teachers on the union's performance in a range of items in the two domains of its professional and socio-economic roles. In all, 224 teachers responded to the questionnaire survey. Using descriptive and relational statistics, the quantitative data from the questionnaire survey were analyzed using the STATA software package to establish the general and specific opinions of teachers on the effectiveness of the union in its various roles. This was then followed by an in-depth unstructured but guided interview, which focused on 14 teachers. The qualitative mode of investigation aimed at complementing the questionnaire data by establishing the underlying reasons for teachers' perceptions of the union's effectiveness. The findings of this work show that on the whole, teachers viewed the union favourably in its role as a trade union organization, but distinctly less so as a professional body. Whereas teachers acknowledged that the union has been effective in ‘pushing' for the improvement of most of their welfare or socio-economic needs, its role as a professional organization was seen to be ‘wanting.' To a large extent, the failure of the union in most of its roles in professional domain was attributed to the structural/institutional factors that are in place and which limit its influence.

Bibliography: leaves 194-206.