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1.1 Background to the Study
Quality education at all levels, primary, secondary and tertiary, is desired of all Nigerians. At the secondary level quality of education is absolutely necessary because it serves as the foundation for tertiary level and for people to provide self employment if they cannot continue with the tertiary level. If that basic foundation is weak it will lead to national catastrophe as progress in the society becomes very difficult. Hence all concerned with secondary education should make their best input in order to ensure that a very solid foundation is laid. Some people may ask what comprises quality education at the secondary level. It is education capable of achieving the general secondary objectives listed in the National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004).
What role is then envisaged of the principal that will help to bring about quality education in the secondary school? The role proposed is that of administrator-leader. This proposal implies that the principal should be both an administrator and a leader two in one. This view may be readily acceptable to Nwagwu (1978) who summarized the role of the principal as managerial leadership and instructional leadership. According to Ozigi (1977:3) an administrator “can be described as an individual who directs the affairs of an organization in such a way as to achieve its primary goals and objectives, and who can get things done quickly and efficiently”. The principal fits well into this description. Hence, he is an administrator. However, the principals’ responsibilities are more than those of administrators. They include those of a leader, a good administrator may not necessarily poses the qualities of a leader; however, a principal needs those qualities in order to perform optimally. Like the term ‘administrator’, the term ‘leader’ can be defined in various ways. However, no attempt will be made to explore the numerous definitions of the term available in literature. Rather only one of the definitions considered simple and good enough for our purpose is given here. Shaw (1971) sees a leader as the member of a group who exerts more positive influence over others than they exert over him. The principal is expected to be a leader; thus he should pose the qualities of a leader including the following, a high level of intelligence, dominance, aggressive, adjustment, emotional stability, activity and non-conformity (Lindgron, 1973). The named allies will be invaluable to the principal not only in administering but leading the school to tremendous heights. Thus, the role of principal in bringing about high quality education in the secondary school is that of an administrator-leader. In playing this role, the principal directs tremendous energy towards the achievement of the school goals and objectives; and in order to achieve the school goals and objectives; he discharges the above specific duties.