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Headteachers in Ghana have traditionally been appointed on the basis of their seniority and received little in the way of professional development. The role of headteachers has often been viewed as one of a ‘custodian’ (e.g. responsible for guarding resources, monitoring attendance etc) and more akin to an office-based administrator than school leader. The importance of overcoming this perception in order to improve the quality of education in Ghana has been previously identified (Oduro 2008; Zame, Hope and Repress 2008).
Building on the framework developed through the Carpe Vitam project, the LfL Ghana programme aims:
- To strengthen the leadership capacity of headteachers in Ghana,
- To improve the quality of learning through school/classroom leadership,
- To influence policy and make leadership development a condition for appointing Basic school (i.e. primary and junior high) headteachers
Click here for a short video that demonstrates the context in which LfL is operating in Ghana.
Before it was possible to put a professional development programme for headteachers in place, a cohort of committed professionals – 15 Professional Development Leaders (PDLs) – was recruited by the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA) at the University of Cape Coast. These PDLs had expertise in professional development and would spearhead the programme. The PDLs completed an introductory three-day workshop in Ghana, a period of individual study and a ten-day summer school in Cambridge to prepare for their role. They were awarded the Certificate of Professional Studies from the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge.
In 2009 the PDLs (aided by the Cambridge research team and the IEPA) planned and led three residential workshops for 124 headteachers in Ghana. Workshops were also held for the headteachers’ Circuit Supervisors and District Directors. This initial cohort of 124 headteachers termed themselves ‘School Transformational Leaders’ (STLs). The STLs were in effect a cadre of ‘early adopters’ who promote the programme and act as critical friends to other headteachers in Ghana. The schools to which the STLs belonged reflected the full geographical and social diversity of the country: urban and rural, coastal and inland, forest and savannah, predominantly Christian and predominantly Muslim, relatively well endowed and extremely poor. The STLs reconvened at additional workshops in 2010 and 2011 to share their experiences and to support each other. In March 2013 Ghana’s 175 District Training Officers (DTOs) attended additional workshops aimed at further promoting LfL.
Outcomes and Research
The expectation that the STLs would share their enthusiasm for LfL has been realised as the principles have been introduced to colleagues outside the initial cohort of 124. Because of this, and in addition to multiple Ghana Education Service (GES) initiated workshops, the programme continues to grow. In just over three years it is estimated that 3000 headteachers have attended sessions on LfL throughout the country. A locally based co-ordinator continues to provide administrative and other support. Networking activities, through the production of regular newsletters and the sending of SMS text messages, ensures continued support and encouragement for LfL in Ghana.
Research is an integral part of the LfL Ghana programme. Data have been collected using questionnaires, interviews, observations and other sources while a range of participants have been involved. This has allowed for the collection of a large body of rich information. A number of reports, evaluations and articles have been disseminated. For details of these see the ‘Resources’ section.
Oduro, G. (2008). Promoting Learning in Ghanaian Primary Schools: the context of leadership and gender role stereotypes. In J. MacBeath and Y.C.Chang (Eds.) Leadership for Learning: International Perspectives. Rotterdam: Sense Publications.
Zame, M.Y., Hope, W.C. and Repress, T. (2008). Educational reform in Ghana: the leadership challenge. International Journal of Educational Management, 22 (2) 115-128.