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School leadership practices in high performing rural primary schools in Lesotho: a case study.

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The purpose of the study was to explore leadership practices in high performing rural primary schools in Qacha’s Nek district. The duty of the principal is to provide every learner in the school with access to education and to develop the learners’ leadership potential. It is therefore vital to find out how the principals in high performing, rural primary schools enact leadership, and how they utilise their leadership experiences to create a learning environment that is conducive for teaching and learning. The study was theoretically envisaged in transformational and instructional leadership theories, in order to explore the leadership practices of the principals. The study used a qualitative case study design within the interpretive paradigm. Qualitative research seeks to explain and understand social phenomena in its natural settings. It concentrates on the meaning people have built concerning their world and the researcher is viewed as the primary tool for data generation and analysis. Telephonic semi-structured interviews were employed to generate data. A sample of twelve participants from the four selected high performing rural primary schools was purposefully chosen, which constituted the research participants. These participants consisted of four principals and eight teachers. Ethical considerations, including confidentiality and anonymity, were maintained throughout the research study. The study reviewed related literature from Lesotho and international perspectives on leadership practices, in order to understand how principals, maintain high performance in rural primary schools. The research findings have revealed that principals play an important role in transforming their respective schools into learning environments that are conducive for teaching and learning through their leadership. The rural school principals considered leadership as a collective effort and practised collaborative decisionmaking. Moreover, the principals’ leadership understanding, and experience enabled them to build good interpersonal relationships with members of staff and other stakeholders. Hence, for the school to perform well academically, it is very important to motivate the members of staff and supervise their work frequently. The study has also identified several challenges pertaining to leadership and rurality, which include excessive workload, lack of resources and limited official visits. This study presented the recommendations for practice and for further research.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.