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School leaders’ experiences and perceptions of school reform in KSA: autonomy, accountability and decision making

Almalki, H. (2019) School leaders’ experiences and perceptions of school reform in KSA: autonomy, accountability and decision making. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00084891


Improving educational attainment is a key issue worldwide, with many nations undertaking major educational reform in order to ensure their students can effectively compete in an increasingly global marketplace. Saudi Arabia’s education system has traditionally been centralised and tightly controlled by the Saudi Ministry of Education, while people essential to the educational process, such as school leaders, have historically had relatively little influence on the process. However, recent educational reforms suggest that Saudi Arabia may be moving towards a decentralised system of education, which would involve the transfer of decision-making powers to local governments and schools. The vast majority of the literature on school autonomy, however, has been investigated and considered in a Western context, and accordingly there appears to be very little research that has been undertaken in the Arabic context. Thus, this thesis aims to fill the associated gaps in the literature, in this instance with regards to school autonomy in Saudi Arabia. The main purpose of this study is to explore school leaders’ perceptions of their capacity to work more independently in the context of national school reform as Saudi Arabia shifts from a centralised to a more decentralised system. This study adopted an explanatory sequential mixed method. Data collection comprised three phases: the first was a questionnaire that targeted male and female school principals from which there were 146 responses; the second part comprised of interviews with ten school principals; and the third phase involved interviews with five educational experts. The findings from this study suggest that principals currently have the ability to lead their schools autonomously and make their own decisions, but overall, they recognise that to successfully adapt to a decentralised education system they would need additional and continuing professional development and training. The findings reveal that by giving principals greater autonomy, accountability and decision-making powers, a significant positive change in school management, student achievement, teacher performance and school environment would result.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Goodwyn, A., Jones, K. and Floyd, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:84891
Date on Title Page:2019

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