School principal as a strategic leader: A case-study of a private sector school in District Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK) Pakistan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


School leadership plays a significant role in determining the levels and quality of school improvement process and its outcomes. The position of the school principal is of a door keeper to change that means how he receives the guests and what are the arrangements to welcome and how to please the guests. The school culture, practices and structure mainly revolve around the principals’ qualities, specifically in the private educational systems. The educational reforms and the fast moving technological era demand that the school leaders can only survive if they have strategic leadership qualities. They also require a strong vision for the institution. To achieve this vision, there should be a strong mission with strategic working styles and measures. The leaders should have the vision, the ability to share the vision with people inside as well as outside the organisation and inspire them to work jointly to accomplish the vision. Strategic leaders are those who have different thinking powers than the ordinary leaders and far-sighted lenses and thought processes to any endeavor. They scan the current position of the institution with respect to its internal and external environment, anticipate change proactively, set goals and objectives, align the organisation’s culture to these goals and negotiate across a wide breath of stakeholders for the survival of the organisation and its continuous improvement. They reflect on the strategies used for improvement and sustain the change in the complex and uncertain changing context. The purpose of the study is to explore and understand the principal’s role as a strategic leader. It also aims at understanding the role of the principal’s practices and position with futuristic lens. Moreover, to understand the principal’s powers to compete in a competitive situation in rural private context and the strategies used to sustain in the education market. The study employed the exploratory case study method selecting one school in the rural context of Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KPK), Pakistan. Qualitative data gathering strategies, namely; document analysis, observations, semi-structured and focus group discussions were made use of. The data were categorised and classified on the basis of the themes focusing on the principal’s practices and functions. The study findings reveal that the principal’s role is essential for strategic development in schools and strategic planning is fundamental to move towards the strategic direction. Strategic role of the principals is important for the educational development in far-flung rural areas. This study may help educational leaders to recognise the importance of strategic leadership in the field of education. It may also help the educational leaders, specially the private sector to look before they leap for educational change.

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