The role of head teacher in promoting teacher participation in school-based decision-making in a government secondary school in Karachi

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This research is a case study on the role of head teacher in promoting teacher participation in school-based decision-making (SBDM). The study was conducted in a government secondary school in Karachi, Pakistan. The ultimate purpose of this study was to investigate the role of head teacher in involving teachers' in SBDM. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews, observation, and document analysis. Findings of this study reveal that the head teacher has played a significant role in promoting teacher participation in SBDM. She has employed different ways and strategies, through which the teachers' participation in decision-making was ensured. For instance, teachers' participation in decision-making through different curricular and co-curricular committees, establishment of a mechanism of rewarding the best teachers, and motivating teachers' through verbal appreciation on the occasions of staff meetings and school functions, are some of the strategies of head teacher to involve teachers in SBDM. Data have indicated that because of head teacher's efforts of promoting teacher participation in SBDM, the school has been able to launch several important school improvement initiatives such as: enrichment of curriculum, teachers' professional development, launching English medium classes, provision of more physical facilities in school by involving parents, introducing innovative teaching strategies in class. These are some of the indicators of change towards school improvement. Data show that the head teacher's role is not restricted to a particular style of leadership; rather she plays a multi-faceted role in her school in order to promote teacher participation in SBDM. For instance, she plays the role of a pedagogical leader, a visionary leader, and most significantly of a leader who believes in distribution of power among teachers. However, the findings reveal that the major role that the head teacher plays is that of a facilitator. It is also evident from the findings that teacher involvement in decision-making has promoted among the teachers, a sense of ownership, professionalism, and self-esteem, which in turn has led the school towards effectiveness. The findings of this study challenge the general perception about the failure of government schools in Pakistan because of the hierarchical centralized mechanism. The data indicate that this perception cannot be generalized to all government schools. The case study school confirms that the government school head teachers' can make a difference in terms of classroom teaching and learning, even within the jurisdiction of government educational policies and prescribed curriculum. However, it is evident from the data that change is only possible when the head teacher is professionally developed and is aware of the contemporary notions of school leadership and management. However, the findings also reveal that though the headmistress has involved teachers in SBDM, there are some limitations that may create problems in having an effective mechanism of teachers' involvement in SBDM in this school. The limitations include teachers' limited participation in decision-making, headmistress's support for a small group of senior teachers, teachers' lack of expertise in good decision-making, and time constraint.

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