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The leadership practices of Anglican school leaders in the Solomon Islands: leading for social justice

The political, economic, social, cultural and religious characteristics of the communities shape how school leaders undertake social justice leadership practices. Leading to address injustices which stem from these characteristics can create tensions for school leaders as they seek to serve their communities and lead for educational equity in schools (Bakalevu et al., 2015; Lopez, 2015; Santamaria, 2014, Thaman, 2015). Supporting leaders to lead for social justice requires consideration of the contextual needs and theorising in ways that is cognisant of the cultural context. With literature on leadership for social justice stemming predominantly from Western developed countries with limited attention paid to the Pacific Islands especially Solomon Islands, it is timely to consider ways leadership for social justice is conceived and enacted in these contexts. This study was designed to explore how Anglican school leaders lead for social justice in the unique Solomon Islands context. The aim of the study was to examine the values, beliefs and understandings of the school leaders and seek to understand how, these influence their practice in pursuit of educational equity. Qualitative research using talanoa/tok stori, participant observation and document analysis were employed to generate data. The research used the interpretivist approach and culturally responsive framework Anglican pillars of education, True Religion, Sound Learning, Useful Industry (Anglican Church of Melanesia, 2018) and Thaman’s (1988) Kakala notion with critical theoretical perspectives for data analysis and theory formation. Key findings demonstrated that tensions arose for the school leaders when it came to aligning the Anglican values of education with the contextual needs and realities of leading for social justice in their schools. The study also revealed that cultural competence was critical but had both positive and negative aspects when examined more deeply. There were also many challenges involved in leading for social justice leadership undertakings which makes leading for social justice complex. This made some leadership practices normally associated with socially just leadership in other contexts difficult to enact in the Solomon Islands cultural context. Overall, the lack of a cohesive and strategic vision which integrated Church and government policy continues to hinder the work of educational leaders seeking to provide access to holistic and quality education. The study has implications for improving the Anglican school leadership practices in the Solomon Islands, and thus, has potential to impact on student achievement and educational success. The thesis argues that leading for social justice in this cultural context can be enhanced through the holistic and bottom up fenua communal leadership model. It can encourage inclusive participation of all stakeholders through shared learning and leading to enhance social justice in the education system using an indigenous communal lens from within the unique Solomon Islands context. The fenua model has the potential for interrogating, initiating and developing educational development processes to be more responsive to the educational needs of students and communities in the Solomon Islands locally, regionally and globally.
Type of thesis
Memua, J. (2020). The leadership practices of Anglican school leaders in the Solomon Islands: leading for social justice (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13793
The University of Waikato
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