Educational management and administration in St. Lucia : policy, practice and challenges for small education systems
The administration of education in St. Lucia has recently come under increasing scrutiny and criticism in the attempt to improve the quality of education as increasing demand for secondary education, and selection, which pervades the education system have increased pressures for improved student performance. Policymakers and practitioners believe that improved management of the education system is the key to improving performance. Consequently, there has been a raft of policies aimed at improving the management of the education system. The central argument of this dissertation is that poor policy analysis, inappropriate strategies such as decentralisation, outdated management practices and inappropriate training of educational administrators, combined with the impact of scale, isolation and dependence, adversely affect the ability to meet the challenges of effective and efficient management of the education system. It charts the development of education from PreEmancipation to contemporary times. It critically examines the factors that influence educational policy and practice and examines contemporary educational policies to assess their ability to meet the challenges of a modem education system The study is based in part, on original fieldwork data collected in St. Lucia. The approach is essentially narrative, and uses both qualitative and quantitative data, gathered from a questionnaire survey and interviews with senior education officials. The findings confirm that the operation of policy and practice is problematic, and unlikely to achieve improvements in the performance of the education system without major reforms. The analysis contributes to improved understanding of the complexities of educational administration in a small state, and shows the need for significant changes in the organisation of the education system and in policy analysis, especially policy implementation. An organisational and policy framework is proposed, to respond to the challenges of educational management and administration in St. Lucia.