Female Zimbabwean school heads as curriculum leaders in disadvantaged school contexts

Date: September 15, 2014
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Despite women’s status improving remarkably in the 20th century universally, they continue experiencing barriers to accessing positions of power and leadership. However, there has been an increase in the number of women in public leadership positions. In spite of women’s increased entry in leadership positions, those who have managed to break the “glass ceiling” have met with a number of challenges that include negative attitudes and stereotyping. This study focuses on female Zimbabwean school heads leading schools in disadvantaged communities and investigates the challenges they encounter. It also investigates the strategies that these female heads employ for curriculum leadership in their schools. A qualitative research approach was adopted through the use of a multiple-case study method. A purposive sample of 12 female school leaders in their capacities as school heads, deputy school heads and teachers-in-charge was used. Individual in-depth interviews were used as the main instrument for data collection complemented by shadowing, observation and document analysis. This study has established that female school heads encountered challenges such as dealing with negative attitudes and stereotyping. Working in a disadvantaged community was itself a challenge, especially because resources were limited and the communities themselves were poorly educated. The school heads had to work assiduously to improve the academic performance and the schools’ infrastructure. They used collaborative approaches and spent most of their time supervising and directing school activities to ensure the achievement of school goals. The study also establishes that initially the female school heads were not psychologically ready to take up their roles as curriculum leaders. In line with this finding, a headship support model was devised for the Zimbabwean Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture to consider.

Publisher: University of Johannesburg
Year of Publication: 2014
Download : 19476_zikhali,_j.t.pdf

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