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Title: Muslim headteachers' religion in their professional role : a comparative study in state schools in England and Pakistan
Author: Iqbal, Asima
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 6578
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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This cross-national research is a comparative study of Muslim headteachers working in state schools in England and Pakistan. The primary focus of this research is to explore the role of religion in Muslim headteachers' professional practice; how it influences their leadership actions, the principles underlying these actions and the different sources from which the headteachers seek guidance while leading their schools. Bearing in mind the importance of context, this research considers various factors operating at the micro (personal), meso (institutional) and macro (national) levels and which influence the way Muslim headteachers in both countries perceive religion in their leadership role. Within the multi-level contextual framework, this thesis focuses on those factors which are particularly related to the Muslim headteachers’ religion and to the place of religion in the public spheres of England and Pakistan. The main participants of this research were Muslim headteachers selected from ten state-maintained schools (primary and secondary); five each in England and Pakistan. A qualitative approach was adopted using semi-structured interviews with the Muslim headteachers and focus group interviews with pupils and teachers in their schools. The interviews from Muslim headteachers provided insight into the influence of religion on their leadership principles and actions. The focus groups elicited the perceptions of teachers and pupils of their experiences of the headteachers’ religion in a leadership role. Key findings of the research have revealed that while the need to act professionally in a state school is somewhat similar between Muslim headteachers in both countries, the religion of the headteachers plays out very differently in the two countries. In England, the Muslim headteachers expressed their religion in a covert way although they acknowledged that religion was at the base of most of their leadership principles. The language/discourse of leadership principles used by these headteachers was mostly secular and reflected their consciousness of the need to conform to professional expectations as well as to the multi-religious and multi-cultural environment in the selected schools. In Pakistan, the Muslim headteachers viewed religion as the primary source of guidance for their personal as well as professional actions. Although the language/discourse of the leadership principles used by these headteachers was quite similar to their counterparts in England, they emphasised the religious foundation of their principles and guidance. By demonstrating the impact of (a) the individual contexts of the schools and (b) the place of religion in the national context on the different ways in which the religion of Muslim headteachers is played out in their leadership, this research has made an original contribution to knowledge in England and Pakistan. Considering the historical weakening of the public expression of religion in England, this study on Islam in education and educational leadership has the potential of offering insights into how a minority religion in a Christian-majority country can be considered influential in the face of growing apprehensions about religion in general and Islam in particular. In Pakistan, while acknowledging the dominance of Islam in the public sphere, the findings of this research can contribute to wider debates about the role of Islam in education and its possible implications on issues pertaining to religious minority students.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LC Special aspects of education