The challenges of developing educational leadership in the Lao People's Democratic Republic

Kittiphanh, D 2011, The challenges of developing educational leadership in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The challenges of developing educational leadership in the Lao People's Democratic Republic
Author(s) Kittiphanh, D
Year 2011
Abstract This research focuses on strengthening school leadership capacity in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in the context of decentralization. The research will be significant for the Lao PDR Ministry of Education, and other educational ministries in developing countries, in their quest to develop leadership strategies at the local level. It will also inform bilateral and multilateral donors.

In the Lao educational context it is common for educational development projects to emphasise general management skills as one component of capacity building effort. This emphasis is reflected in the evaluation reports of these projects and more generally in the literature on educational development. However, the importance of leadership at the school and local level where most education policy is transformed into practice is hardly ever recognized. There is debate in the literature about the role of the school principal: manager, teacher or leaders of teaching and learning. This research project will contribute to this debate.

Management and leadership of education in the Lao PDR is characterised by complexity. This complexity emerges from the roles of donors, the changing development ideologies coupled with political developments within the country, poverty and tensions between the centre and the periphery. The complexity is exacerbated in poor districts that are remote from Vientiane. These forces are played out in a cultural milieu where hierarchy is prized and respected, at least officially.

This research project adopts a practitioner action research approach. This approach is consistent with the By Project mode of post-graduate research whose aims are not only to develop knowledge, but to improve the skills of the practitioner and to foster a change in practice. The methods include: interview and individual consultations, community consultations, a research journal, observations/field trips and textual analysis and strategies for sharing data with Lao practitioners. Like so many practitioner based research projects there is a fundamental role conflict - practitioner and researcher. Managing this conflict is paramount.

The research findings will be directly applicable to the management and development of the education sector in the Lao PDR, and will provide recommendations for improving both policy and practice. They will also help policy makers to understand the existing context of primary education management in the Lao PDR and provide important information about current approaches to primary education administration and management strategies. This will enable policy makers to make improvements in these areas. The best possible outcome would that this work might increase the effectiveness of administration and management systems as well as support the work of donors and contribute to more effective teaching and learning in the Lao PDR.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Keyword(s) Schools
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Created: Thu, 28 Jun 2012, 12:33:32 EST by Guy Aron
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