Comparative Education
Online ISSN : 2185-2073
Print ISSN : 0916-6785
ISSN-L : 0916-6785
Headteachers’ Role in Participatory School Management from the Viewpoint of Relational Trust: A Case Study from Ghana
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2019 Volume 2019 Issue 59 Pages 46-68


  This study analyzes from the viewpoint of relational trust what roles headteachers play to enhance school enrollment in relationships with guardians/community members and teachers through a case study of the Akatsi South District, Ghana.

  Literature has revealed such challenges of participatory school management as conflicts among school-level stakeholders. It is still unknown how managerial activities are related to pedagogical activities in participatory school management. Also, it remains to be solved what roles headteachers in developing countries, who have limited mandates and capacities, should play.

  This study is significant because literature has pointed out the rapid expansion of marginalization within and beyond communities in developing countries. Even though households live in the same geographical boundaries, those who are relatively rich tend to choose quality schools beyond such geographic boundaries to join new school communities. The vulnerable are left behind within such fragile geographical communities and disparities between the rich and the vulnerable have become more evident. Thus, this study has its significance for such vulnerable households and geographical/school communities. The author believes that school enrollment is an important indicator that community members and guardians can use to assess the extent of school management. It is because guardians can choose schools regardless of their geographical boundaries and schools compete for greater enrollment.

  This study asks: how does relational trust, where headteachers play a pivotal role, influence school enrollment? The author pays attention to “school community-school relational trust” and “headteacher-teacher relational trust.” If “communications, consultations, and decision-making” are conducted to solve certain issues, the author regards it as the expression of expectations. Then, if resource mobilization is made to execute such expectations, the author views it as the conduct of obligations. Relational trust analyzes the following factors in school management: school finance, school environment, support for teachers, and pedagogical activities. The realization of relational trust between school community and school, headteacher and teachers, is judged by looking at whether expectations are met with obligations in the above-mentioned factors affecting school enrollment. Data collection methods include interviews with school-level stakeholders and documentary reviews of the past minutes of the School Management Committee (SMC) or Parent Teacher Association (PTA)’s general meetings. The author conducted field study in January and September 2017, and September 2018, adopting the qualitative case study of two schools that have suffered from low enrollment.

  As the result of the above analysis, the study found the following. Regarding school community-school relational trust, at School A, with the headteaher’s strategies to address low enrollment, decision-making as the expression of expectations in terms of school finance (PTA levy mobilization), school environment (school feeding program and construction of a junior secondary school), and support for teacher (deployment of practicing teachers) were associated with resource mobilization as the execution of obligations. Thus, relational trust between school communities and school was realized. On the other hand, School B has a history of community dispute over the location of the school between two geographical communities. School environment (construction of a kindergarten classroom) and support for teacher (payment for kindergarten teachers) were discussed to solve them. However, school community-school relational trust was not realized due to low collective participation and lack of school finance. School B could not receive practicing teachers as geographical communities (View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)

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