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Title: Challenges to shared decision-making in Egyptian schools : a study of teachers in general secondary schools in Damietta County
Author: Hammad, Waheed
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 3803
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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Shared decision-making (SDM) arose as one of the most popular themes associated with the school restructuring 'movement of the late 1980s. It is widely considered to be an effective way to improve the quality of education through engaging stakeholders at the school level in school decision-making processes. The rationale underlying SDM has always been that better educational decisions can be made if those closest to the students are involved in the process. Yet, despite its popularity as a theme on the reform agenda of many countries, studies carried out in other countries reveal that implementing SDM as a management strategy has often proved to be problematic. In Egypt, evidence from previous research shows that SDM is seldom practised in Egyptian schools. However, there is no empirical investigation into why this is the case. In the meantime, SDM is being promoted as part of the current decentralisation movement in Egypt. Given the ambiguity surrounding the area of SDM in the Egyptian context, it remains unclear whether implementing such a policy in Egypt's schools will be successful or not. Hence this study constitutes an attempt to unravel this ambiguity. It examines barriers that might impede successful implementation of SDM in Egyptian schools. It seeks an in-depth understanding of these barriers by exploring the perceptions of eighty-five research participants from nine general secondary schools in Damietta governorate. Therefore a qualitative research design was chosen for the study where individual interviews were used as a primary data collection method. Document analysis was also employed to gain further understanding of some issues under investigation. The findings indicate that many factors interact and hinder the engagement of school staff with SDM processes. Centralised control was perceived by many participants as the most powerful impediment to SDM. While not surprising, this finding is disconcerting, given the prominence of devolution and community participation in the current educational reform debates. Centralised control was perceived to hinder SDM in two ways. First, it prevents stakeholders at the school level from making decisions that they regard as significant to them. Second, it encourages head teachers to adopt autocratic decision- making approaches in schools. The study also reveals that the culture prevailing in the visited schools is not favourable to SDM. Unwillingness to engage with the process arose as a major cultural barrier. Head teachers' unwillingness seemed to be triggered by concerns over accountability. Teachers' unwillingness was strongly linked with concerns about poor work conditions and the consequent involvement of most teachers in private tutoring as an alternative to compensate for their low salaries. Other cultural barriers include lack of interpersonal trust, unfamiliarity with SDM practices, fears of potential involvement problems and the perception of seniority as a prime requirement for decision-participation. Besides determining the barriers to SDM, the study also explores the extent to which recent structural changes (Le. Training and Evaluation Units and Boards of Trustees, Parents and Teachers) endorse SDM within schools. The data reveals that the impact of these innovations on SDM is generally insignificant. The study concludes that under the existing organizational and cultural conditions, SDM may not be appropriate as a form of management in Egyptian schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available