The role of school headteacher in empowering teachers: A case study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


In the mid-1980s, teacher empowerment emerged as a strategy of school reform for teachers. This notion was a response towards the falling quality of education as a result of changes and demands in the educational field. However, the implementation of teacher empowerment has not been pronounced in the developed countries. This study associated teacher empowerment with teacher motivation, classroom autonomy, and increased teaching expertise. A small-scale case study was conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, to examine the role of the school head teacher in facilitating teacher empowerment in a government school context. A qualitative inquiry was used to seek information from one government secondary school head teacher and three teachers of the same school. This process was done through in-depth interviews, observations, document analysis, and informal conversations. The study found that the contextual realities together with human factors were critical in enhancing teacher empowerment in the school. In this case, the processes involved in enhancing teacher empowerment were constrained by the centralized education system that turned school head teacher an implementer of curriculum decisions made at the state and district level. The results were that the school head teacher remained a government representative in the school in which her leadership strategies were primarily used to control teachers. The prominent feature of the study was the head teachers understanding of educational change process that focus on teacher empowerment for school improvement. Several other factors were found to be critical in realizing teacher empowerment: an atmosphere of support and trust, teachers assuming leadership roles through administrator encouragement, diverse, active, and self directed learning experiences connected to teacher work context and expertise, integration of efforts to improve classroom teaching and learning. The study urges the educational policy to rethink school leadership structures, roles, together with skills and knowledge of school headteachers and teachers in realizing teacher empowerment in schools.

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