EARLY SCHOOL LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES IN KAZAKHSTANI EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT
The importance of the school leadership has increased significantly in the last decades. Leadership, especially effectiveness of the principal may play a key role in the success and sustainability of a school. The aim of this study was to identify the first year principalship challenges in the comprehensive schools of Kazakhstan. The small-scale study conducted in 2011 utilized a blend of qualitative and quantitative methodology approach with mixed-method techniques: the questionnaire and the semi-structured interview. The total number of the participants was 49 (43 questionnaire respondents and 6 interviewees); representatives of rural, suburban and urban schools. While some key findings of the study replicated previous research results, some other findings were indicated as unique to the Kazakhstani context. Specifically, the need for prior and after appointment trainings, especially in budget and finance areas, allocation of teaching hours among the staff and changing parental attitude towards the schooling were the most challenging issues of the principals in their first year of headship. The perceived gap between the government’s desires to integrate into the global educational arena and the schooling status quo demands rethinking and reviewing the current school leadership development. Although the findings are based on a limited sample, there is persuasive evidence for the necessity of a new systematic and strategic approach to the school leaders’ preparation and training which will take into account values of the post-soviet Kazakhstan people and needs of a modernized world.
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