USP Theses Collection


close this section of the library Educational leadership | Fiji, Elementary school principals | Fiji, Elementary school administration | Fiji

View the PDF document Primary school assistant headship : an exploratory study
Author: Singh, Rajendra.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Award: M.A.
Subject: Educational leadership | Fiji, Elementary school principals | Fiji, Elementary school administration | Fiji
Date: 2007.
Call No.: Pac LB 2831 .926 .F5 S56 2007
BRN: 1038917
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This research study examines and documents the nature of work carried out by the assistant head teachers (AHTs) in the Fiji primary schools. It also examines the knowledge, skills, successful past experiences and qualifications that collectively contribute to the success of the AHTs as educational leaders. It attempts to understand the work of AHTs from the perspectives of the research informants from the two schools, which include the AHTs, the head teachers, teachers, school management committees and Ministry of Education officials. The research methodology employed in this study was drawn from the phenomenological and qualitative-case study research literature. The data gathering methods included observation, in-depth interviewing and documentary analysis. The study design and the research process are informed by relevant local and international literature and the data received from fieldwork findings. The conceptual framework of the study evolved as the study unfolded. This research study has also benefited from the work of Southworth (1998) that looks at primary school headship. The important findings of the study are: • The AHTs are not well aware of important educational policies. • The rules, regulations and policies are interpreted and translated into action based on ineffective models. • The AHTs employ bureaucratic, collegial, democratic and other leadership styles, including laissez-faire to suit the needs and circumstances. • There is no qualitative data available to gauge the learning outcomes of all the students in the case study schools. • The HTs do not delegate sufficient responsibility and authority to the AHTs. • The AHTs are sandwiched between the HTs and the teachers. • The role of the AHT is considered to be one of ensuring stability and order in the school, a maintenance rather than development or leadership role. They juggle their time between teaching and management roles. • The AHTs, who are mindful of and sensitive to the various functions, concerns and aspirations of the wide range of factors depicting school environment respond positively, receive approval and achieve success. The literature review on educational leadership shows that the schools are known not by lines of authority, but by different forms of agreement and governance. This, in the school context includes: respect, collegiality, co-ordination, partnership, negotiation and love. The study also shows that the success of the school has direct relationship with the quality of leadership. The success of the AHT, among other factors, depends on the appropriate role models and leadership style of the head teacher and the partnership of the HT and AHT. The study recommends to the AHTs to choose successful role models as mentors, acquire high academic qualification and be well versed with educational policies and procedures. The study concludes with important implications for policy makers and practitioners, as well as suggestions for further research.
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