Confronting a crisis: How leadership reacted during Covid 19 pandemic: A case of two private schools of Karachi, Pakistan, dealing with the challenges of online teaching and learning

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Corona Virus started in December 2019 from China and quickly became a pandemic. It affected many countries around the world including Pakistan. Countries like Pakistan were not prepared for this condition. However, to reduce the number of covid 19 cases, government had no option except to implement smart or complete lockdown. The pandemic created confusion, chaos, and uncertainty, including disrupting educational processes in the world. The pandemic redefined instruction and learning, restricting the learners to online schooling and distant learning. For school leaders, the pressure was immense, as they were forced to lead through a time of great uncertainty, confusion, and challenges. Leading through uncertainty may be daunting, nevertheless, it distinguishes the effective leaders from the rest of the crowd. Situated in this context, this qualitative study captures the leadership experiences of the two private low-cost schools in Karachi, during the apocalyptic crisis of Covid 19. Lenhoff et al.’s framework of crisis management constitutes the overarching framework for this study. The purpose of this study was to discover how school heads reacted during the crisis phase and how their thinking, practices, and approaches helped them in dealing with the challenges of sudden digital transition in teaching and learning. For this case study, two principals were purposefully chosen representing two private schools, having a low fee structure, and catering to similar kind of clientele. Moreover, the data was collected through interviews, observations, and documents’ review. The analysis treated the case study as a single case design embedded with two similar contextual examples. The whole case findings were presented through continuous comparison and contrast, which served as a respond to the research questions. The findings showed that the preparedness of the schools and leadership is very crucial in dealing with a crisis. During the Covid -19 crisis, technological preparedness and competence were essential. Additionally, leaders’ ability to respond and communicate well on time, intuition and foresightedness, experience and training, good governance, and above all, resilience and trust were some of the major qualities highlighted in the research findings for them to emerge as successful leaders during a crisis. The Covid-19 crisis urged the principals to prioritize their safety and well-being along with taking care of the well-being of other stakeholders of the school community. A need for call to action for equity in teaching and assessment were echoed by the two principals.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library