Title

Studying principal’s practices of encouraging students’ active participation in the management of a private secondary school in Gilgit-Baltistan

Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Professional Development Centre, Karachi

Abstract

There is a growing recognition that students' active participation in school management is useful not only for students' own learning and development but also for promoting democratic values, shared leadership, and participatory decision making in schools. As students are an important part of the school, their voices must be heard and taken into account while making decisions about curricular and co-curricular activities as well as other administrative and strategic matters of the school. It is also important to recognize that by actively participating in school management, students develop leadership skills such as self-confidence, critical thinking, making informed judgments, taking decisions, and effective communication skills. However, experience and research insights from around the world show that students' active participation in school management depends largely on the principal's approach to school management. The principal, being the head of the school, can employ strategies, actions, and practices that will encourage and foster students' active roles in, and contributions to, the school management. However, not much is known, especially in the context of Gilgit-Baltistan GB), of principals' practices of encouraging students' active participation in school management. Therefore, this study was conducted to explore how the principal of a private secondary school in GB facilitates students' active participation in the management of the school. Using qualitative research method, an eclectic set of tools including semi-structured interviews, focused group discussions, observations, and document analysis, was used to generate and collect data. The findings of the study identify a number of innovative and contextually relevant strategies used by the principal for increasing students' active and meaningful participation in school management. The study also identified that the principal has a very positive attitude towards students' participation, as he sees students as leaders, major stakeholders, and helping hands in school and community the school serves. The principal has also created certain structures such as committees, clubs, and other bodies led or represented by students. However, the hierarchical structure of the organization often constrains the principal from involving students in key strategic decisions of the school. Therefore, there exists a gap between the decisions taken by higher authorities and the aspirations of the teachers, parents, communities, and students at the school. It is recommended that the principal is empowered and given the autonomy and authority to ensure active participation of students in school management.

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