Perceptions of Effective Leadership in Bangladesh Secondary Schools: Moving towards Distributed Leadership?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
Studies on school leadership show that effective leadership is basic to successful school development and improvement of teaching and learning. Secondary schools in Bangladesh depend on principals as their leaders. Since Bangladesh is now facing the challenge of reforms in secondary education, principals need to acquire current knowledge of leadership theory and research to give them the theoretical understandings of leadership approaches that are likely to make their schools more successful. The purpose of this study was to explore how principals of Bangladesh understand leadership theory and the extent to which they use the distributed leadership approach. It also investigated their leadership practice in their school contexts, including how they engage their teachers in leadership activities. The participants in this study were the principals and twenty teachers from four secondary schools in Dhaka city of Bangladesh. The schools were selected from ten upper ranked schools of Dhaka city based on the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination in the academic year 2009-2010. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the principals and a survey was completed by the teachers. The findings show that the principals have adequate experiential knowledge for leading their schools; most of their leadership skills have been developed through experience and are focussed on pedagogical leadership. However, they lack theoretical knowledge of different approaches and concepts of school leadership, as they have not had opportunities for formal leadership training programmes. The survey result indicates that there is some practice of distributed leadership in the schools. The findings of this study have implications for the development of secondary school leadership in Bangladesh. They suggest that professional leadership programmes should be provided for principals of secondary schools and principals should have increased self-management in the administration of their schools. Teachers are keen to broaden their participation in leadership activities. The recommendations from this study could lead to more effective leadership in Bangladeshi secondary schools.