Challenges for Rural School Leaders in a Developing Context: The Case of Solomon Islands
Thirty-eight rural school leaders in Solomon Islands responded to a questionnaire aimed at identifying their perceptions of work challenges. The data analysis points to an overwhelming percentage of school leaders feeling they face multifaceted problems in their work settings, including such challenges as untrained teachers, lack of funding, limited learning and teaching resources, and land disputes. The latter in particular is beyond the school leader’s jurisdiction; addressing it needs urgent attention from the principal stakeholder(s). Such challenges, seemingly tangential to the business of schooling, inadvertently affect the provision of good-quality education. The findings demonstrate that contextual challenges raise questions about what powers leadership at school level has to deal with some of them. The suggestion is advanced for the significant place-conscious leadership development to help address some community and cultural challenges. Implications of this paper are likely to be relevant to other similar contexts in the Pacific region and beyond.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1090514Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 4344
 Beeson, E., & Strange, M. (2003). Why rural matters 2003. Washington DC: Rural School and Community Trust.
 Browne-Ferrigno, T. & Allen, L. W. (2006). Preparing principals for high-need rural schools: A central office perspective about collaborative efforts to transform school leadership. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 21 (1), 1 – 16.
 Clarke, S., &Wildy, H. (2004). Context counts: Viewing small school leadership from the inside out. Journal of Educational Administration, 42(5), 555 –572.
 Halsey, J. (2011). Small schools, big future. Australian Journal of Education, 55(1), 5-13.
 Masumoto, M., & Brown-Welty, S. (2009). Case study of leadership practices and school-community interrelationships in high-performing, high-poverty, rural California high schools. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 24(1), 1-18.
 Starr, K., & White, S. (2008). The small rural school principalship: Key challenges and cross-school responses. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 23(5), 1-12.
 Arnold, M. L., Newman, J. H., Gaddy, B. B., & Dean, C. B., (2005). A look at the condition of rural education research: Setting a difference for future research. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 20(6), 1 – 25.
 Semke C. A., & Sheridan, S. M. (2011). Family-School Connections in Rural Educational Settings: A Systematic Review of the Empirical Literature. School Community Journal, 22(1), 21 – 47.
 Herzog, M. J., & Pittman, R. (2003). The nature of rural schools: Trends, perceptions, and values. In D. M. Chalker (Ed.), Leadership for rural schools (pp. 11-23). Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
 Lewis, A. C. (2003). Rural schools. The Education Digest, 68(8), 69 – 71.
 Corbett, M. & Mulcahy, D. (2006). Education on a human scale: Small rural schools in a modern context. (Report No. 061). Municipality of Cumberland County.
 Chalker, D. M. (Ed.) (1999). Leadership for rural schools: lessons for all educators. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Technomic Publishing Company Inc.
 Johnson, J. & Strange, M. (2007). Why rural matters 2007: The realities of rural education growth. Washington, D. C.: The Rural School and Community Trust.
 Mackety, D. M. & Linder-Van Berschot, J.A. (2008). Examining American Indian perspectives in the Central Region on parent involvement in children’s education. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
 Monk, D. (2007). Recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers in rural areas. Future of children, 17 (1), 155 – 174.
 Howley, A., Rhodes, M., & Beall, J. (2009). Challenges facing rural children: Implications for gifted children. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 32(4), 1 – 23.
 Oakes, A., & Maday, T. (2009). Engaging Native Ameri¬can learners with rigor and cultural relevance (Issue Brief). Washington, DC: The Center for Compre¬hensive School Reform and Improvement.
 Tavola, H. (2000). Secondary Education, in Report of the Fiji Islands education/commission/panel. (Suva, Fiji: Government Printer): 93-116.
 Epstein, J. L. (2001). School, family, and community partnerships: Preparing educators and improving schools. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
 Robinson, V., Hohepa, M., & Lloyd, C. (2009), School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why. Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES). (Wellington: Ministry of Education).
 Cruzeiro, P., & Morgan, R. (2006, Spring). The rural principal’s role with consideration for
 Jimmerson, L. (2005). Special challenges of the ―No Child Left Behind act for rural schools and districts. The Rural Educator, 27(2), 1-4.
 Narsey, W. (2004). Academic outcomes and resources for basic education in Fiji. Suva: Institute of Education, University of the South Pacific.
 Lingam, G. I. (2012). Preparing teachers for rural schools: An empirical evidence from a Fiji case. Greener Journal of Educational Research, 2(2), 001-012.
 Howley, A., Woodrum, A., &Pendarvis, E. (2005). The rural school principalship: Promises and challenges. Charleston, WV: ERIC Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools.
 Weeks, J. (1994). Lifelines for the isolated: The supply, training and professional support of educational personnel in multi-island situations. Report for the Commonwealth Secretariat, London.
 White, S. (2010). Creating and celebrating place and partnerships: The key to sustaining rural education communities. Paper presented at the Society for Provision of Education in Rural Australia Conference, Sippy Downs. Queensland.
 Howley, A., & Howley, C. B. (2005). High-quality teaching: Providing for rural teachers’ professional development. The Rural Educator, 26(2), 1-5.
 Starratt, R. J. (2004). Ethical leadership. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
 Horst, M. D., & Martin, B. N. (2007). A case study: Leadership and its effect on achievement of children from poverty in a rural setting. The Rural Educator, 28(3), 33-40.
 Evans (2004). The environment of childhood poverty. American Psychologist, 59 (2), 77-92
 Wallace, A., & Boylan, C. (2007). Reawakening education policy and practice in rural Australia. In N. Rees, D. Boyd & E. Terry (Eds.), Collaboration for success in rural and remote education and training: Proceedings of the 23rd National Rural Education Conference (pp. 15-29). Perth: Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia.
 Riley, K. A. (2013). Walking the leadership tightrope: Building community cohesiveness and social capital in schools in highly disadvantaged urban communities. British Educational Research Journal, 39(2), 266 – 286.
 Bauch, P. A. (2001). School-community partnerships in rural schools: Leadership, renewal, and a sense of place. Peabody Journal of Education, 76(2), 204-221.
 Burke, W., Marx, G. E., Knowenstein, E., (2012). Leading, leadership and learning: Exploring new contexts for leadership developments in emerging school environments. Planning and Changing, 42(1), 113 – 126.
 Sherman, W. H. & Crum, K. S. (2009). Designing the internship in educational leadership as a transformative tool for improved practice. International Journal of Educational Reform, 18 (1), 63-81.
 Yukl, G. A. (2002). Leadership in organizations (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New York: Prentice-Hall.
 Stanley, D. (1993). South Pacific Handbook. (California: Moon Publication Inc).
 Maebuta, J., Dorovolomo, J., & Phan, H.P. (2010). Examining the quality of Practical Learning in Secondary School Technical and Vocational Curriculum in Solomon Islands, The International Journal of Learning, 17(5), 11 – 23.
 Moore, C. (2004), Happy Isles in Crisis: The Historical Causes of a Failing State in Solomon Islands, 1998-2004. Canberra: Asia Pacific Press.
 ESCAP (2004). Review of Pacific sustainable urban management and poverty issues and introduction of the Pacific urban agenda framework. Presented at the eighth session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Shanghai, China.
 Ramo, W. (1991). Solomon Islands. In M. Bray (Ed.), Ministries of education in small states: Case studies of organisation and management (pp. 265-283). London: Commonwealth Secretariat.
 Sanga, K. F. (1992). Meeting the Administrative Needs of Schools: South Pacific (The Solomon Islands). Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration (Newsletter), 9(3): 3-4.
 Ruddock, J. (1993), The Theatre of Daylight: Qualitative Research and School Profile Studies, in Schratz M (Ed.) Qualitative Voices in Educational Research (pp. 8-23). London: Falmer Press.