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Leadership practices of Kuwaiti Secondary School Principals for embedding ICT

Al-Sharija, Mohammed (2012) Leadership practices of Kuwaiti Secondary School Principals for embedding ICT. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Globalisation and the emergence of knowledge-based economies have forced many countries to reform their education system. The enhancement of human capital to meet modern day demands of a knowledge economy, and equip the new generation with the capacity to meet the challenges of the 21st Century has become a priority. This change is particularly necessary in economies typical of countries, such as Kuwait, which have been dependent on the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources. Transiting from a resource-based economy to an economy based on knowledge and intellectual skills poses a key challenge for an education system. Significant in the development of this new economy has been the expansion of Information Communication Technology (ICT). In education, in particular, ICT is a tool for transforming the education setting. However, transformation is only successful where there are effective change management strategies and appropriate leadership. At the school level, rapid changes have affected the role that principals take particularly in relation to leading the change process. Therefore, this study investigated the leadership practices of school principals for embedding ICT into schools.

The case study assessed two Kuwaiti secondary schools; both schools had well established ICT programs. The mode of data collection used a mixed-methods design, to address the purpose of the study, namely, to examine the leadership practices of school principals when managing the change processes associated with embedding ICT in the context of Kuwait. A theoretical model of principal leadership, developed, from the literature, documented and analysed the practices of the respective school principals. The study used the following five data sources: (a) face to face interviews (with each school principal), and two focus group interviews (with five teachers and five students, from each school); (b) school documents (related to the implementation and embedding of ICT); (c) one survey (of all teachers in each school); (d) an open-ended questionnaire (of participating principals and teachers); and (e) the observation of ICT activities (PD ICT activities and instruction meetings).

The study revealed a range of strategies used by the principals and aligned with the theoretical perspective. However, these strategies needed to be refined and selectively used to fit the Kuwait context, both culturally and organisationally. The principals of Schools A and B employed three key strategies to maximise the impact on the teaching staff incorporating ICT into their teaching and learning practices. These strategies were: (a) encouragement for teaching staff to implement ICT in their teaching; (b) support to meet the material and human needs of teaching staff using ICT; and (c) provision of instructions and guidance for teaching staff in how and why such behaviours and practices should be performed. The strategies provided the basic leadership practices required to construct a successful ICT embedded implementation process. Hence, a revised model of leadership that has applicability in the adoption of ICT in Kuwait was developed.

The findings provide a better understanding of how a school principal’s leadership practices impact upon the ICT embedding process. Hence, the outcome of this study informs emerging countries, which are also undergoing major change related to ICT, for example, other members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf. From an educational perspective, this knowledge has the potential to support ICT-based learning environments that will help educational practitioners to effectively integrate ICT into teaching and learning that will facilitate students’ ICT engagement, and prepare them for the ICT development challenges that are associated with the new economy; this is achieved by increasing students’ knowledge and performance. Further, the study offers practical strategies that have been shown to work for school principals leading ICT implementation in Kuwait. These strategies include how to deal with the shortage in schools’ budgets, and the promotion of the ICT vision, as well as developing approaches to build collaborative culture in the schools.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 53276
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Watters, James& Hudson, Peter
Keywords: embedding ICT, ICT implementation, information and communication technology (ICT), leadership practices, secondary school, principals, leading ICT change, integration of ict in education, Kuwait, mixed methods
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 23 Aug 2012 11:16
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2012 11:20

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