Exploring the role of the principal in facilitating students' leadership in secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Students' leadership is one of the fundamental outcomes of schooling, which should be given importance to prepare them for the demanding and challenging futures they face. In the school, the principal plays a significant role in supporting and developing students' leadership skills. It thus becomes the principal's prime responsibility to structure and maintain a positive and enabling environment for the students, where they can recognize their own values, beliefs and strengths and try to define and solve their own problems. Thus, this study focuses on the role of the principal of a private secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan, in facilitating students' leadership skills. Since, this study seeks to explore one principal's role in a particular context, therefore a qualitative approach has been chosen, employing the case study method. The case was the principal, whereas the secondary participants were teachers, students and different teaching and learning programmes in which students were practically engaged to develop their leadership skills.The findings of the study reveal that the principal perceives his school as much more than just a building where students are taught from the textbooks and are only prepared for academic achievement. He rather puts in system and practice an approach that ensures the students' holistic development. He facilitates students' leadership skills by engaging them in purposeful activities through co curricular programmes and through encouraging teachers' professional development. The principal's role in generating resources and looking out for a variety of opportunities and strategies to develop students' leadership skills was also found to be an important area of his role. In addition, it is also observed that to develop students' leadership skills is a collective contribution of principal, vice principal and teachers. The principal does not directly influence students' leadership' skills, but sets the policies and practices that ensure student leadership.This means that no matter what approach a school takes, the willingness, motivation, dedication and commitment of the principal is fundamental to bring forth all the potentials of the stakeholders to create a collaborative learning environment in the school. Thus, the role of the principal is central and evident, for effectively leading a community of teachers, learners and other school community members, in order to students' leadership skills raise student self esteem and to help them succeed as leaders. One very illuminating finding is the selective nature of developing the leadership skills of a few. Other studies to find out how and why only a few are developed as leaders are proposed as this is an important area to explore.It is hoped that the study will potentially facilitate the principals, head teachers, teachers and teacher educators to strengthen their own understanding and beliefs about students' leadership. It will give them some practical knowledge of the different ways in which students are engaged to develop their leadership in a secondary school.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library