School leadership in Pakistan: Exploring the headteacher’s role

Tim Simkins, School of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Charles Sisum, School of Education, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Muhammad Memon, Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


There is a good deal of consensus in the literature about the key role of leadership – especially that of the headteacher – in facilitating school improvement. Yet much of the research in this area has taken place in Western industrialised countries. This article explores the issue of headship in the context of schools in a specific developing country context, that of Pakistan. Drawing on 2 studies of the experience of headteachers in Karachi, the article identifies and explores the key variables that may contribute to a sense of personal efficacy for these heads, namely the expectations generated by the national or community culture, the powers and accountabilities generated by the school system in which they work, and their own individual personalities and histories.