Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: School improvement in Tanzania : school culture and the management of change
Author: Van Der Steen, Niek
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 9772
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
From a critical humanist perspective I explore why and how under adverse material and social conditions some Tanzanian state primary schools manage to improve their educational provision. I focus specifically on the influence of staff attitudes and behaviours on the change management process, as school culture is thought to affect school improvement success, and change is prerequisite to improvement. Fieldwork took place in Dodoma from August 2003 to May 2005 in two urban primary schools, considered locally to be improving. I combined two methodological approaches: action research in the context of case study. Collection of mainly qualitative data focussed on the societal and systemic influences that shaped the schools' organisational cultures, and on the reciprocal relationship between these cultures and the way staff managed self-instigated and externally imposed improvement initiatives. Action research enabled my involvement in the change processes, contributing to concrete improvements, generating process knowledge, and supporting staff. Achievable school improvement depended crucially on limited available space for change, the core of which was insufficient staff motivation and capabilities. Under hierarchical conditions and in accordance with local perceptions of relevance, successful management of change required a combination of dependable leadership, cooperation, communication and close staff supervision. However, the improvements remained limited to incidents of enhanced effectiveness, compatible with, if not consolidating, the existing school cultures. No space was created for more comprehensive transformations, requiring fundamental organisational and attitudinal change. The quality of school management and pedagogy therefore remained severely under-developed. Even though systemic endorsement of school autonomy and enrichment of school conditions are unlikely to happen soon, committed school managers can expand existing space for change through concentrating on their school's cultures. They can challenge existing pedagogical and managerial values and practices, and entrust collaborating staff with genuine freedom and responsibility to enhance the school's quality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available