Aspiring towards principalship: A Pacific Island perspective
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Citation:Auva'a, E. (2008). Aspiring towards principalship: A Pacific Island perspective. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1314
The percentage of Pacific Islanders (PIs) appointed as principals in New Zealand schools increased from 0.6% in 1998 to 0.9% in 2004 (Ministry of Education, 2005); the current figure is 1.1%. The total number of principals in primary and secondary schools in 2004 was 2,700. This research study investigated the conditions surrounding the low number of PIs working towards principalship positions and the impact these conditions have had on their decision making. It involved interviews with one assistant and seven deputy principals (AP/DPs) who were Pacific Islanders, in Auckland schools. The themes isolated from the literature were: • Minority group experiences and representation in educational leadership; • Pathway and career development towards principalship; • Succession planning and leadership development; • Qualities and competencies required for principalship; and • Barriers faced by aspiring principals. These themes guided the development of an interview schedule. An interpretative framework was adopted because it allows and reveals the way people develop their own views of reality within themselves through their social interactions with others. This interpretative view of reality was appropriate for this research as there was very limited knowledge on PI AP/DPs in New Zealand. The primary source of data was generated using structured interviews. From the findings of this study I have concluded that the very low number of PI AP/DPs progressing towards principalship will continue unless they are assisted and supported to overcome two overwhelming sets of conditions that act as barriers towards their aspirations for higher roles. These are personal and systemic conditions. From the conclusions it is recommended that PIs should engage in ongoing studies in leadership development programmes to counter personal conditions, and that research be undertaken on how the PI community can be more supportive of aspiring PI leaders in schools. It is also recommended that a PI-specific programme for principals be developed, together with a study of successful PI leaders in principalship roles in New Zealand to learn more of their experiences.