Challenges and Prospects of PGDSL Training in Ethiopia. The Case of Dilla and Harayama Universites

Academic Paper, 2016

36 Pages


Table of contents


Table of Figures

1. Background of the study
1.1 Statement of the problem
1.2 Objectives of the Study
1.3 Significance of the study

2. Review Literatur
2.1 Basic concepts of School leadership
2.2 Developing School Leadership Skills
2.3 Successful School Leadership Training
2.4 The Postgraduate diploma in school leadership
2.5 Challenges of post graduate diploma in school leadership training

3. Research Design and Methodology
3.1 Research Methodology
3.2 Sample and Sampling Technique
3.3 Data gathering tools
3.3.1 Questionnaire
3.3.2 Interview
3.3.3 Documents
3.4 Methods of data analysis

4. Results and Discussion

5. Conclusion

6. Recommendation




The purpose of this study was to investigate the challenges and prospects of postgraduate diploma in school leadership training at Dilla and Haramaya Universities. Mixed research method was employed to conduct the study. Accordingly, descriptive survey research design was applied. Concerning to the samples of the study, 80 school leader trainees were selected trough simple random sampling technique. Moreover, 22 instructors of the PGDSL training, 2 college of education deans and 2 PGDSL program coordinators of the sampled universities were selected using availability sampling technique. Questionnaire, interview and documents were used as data gathering tools for the study. The finding of the study revealed that PGDSL program is less effective in preparing school principals who pursue for their professional development, for administrative leadership and for instructional leadership. Lack of awareness among stakeholders, low motivation of the trainees, less quality of teaching-learning materials, less benefit after graduation, less support provision of the program from training universities and ministry of education were among the challenges in offering the training. Creating awareness among stakeholders about the program; relating PGDSL training with incentives; inviting scholars to review the training modules; and reconsidering the relevance of the program were recommended.

Key words: Post graduate diploma, School leadership, Training

Table of Figures







1. Background of the study

School leadership process involves defining the school vision, values and direction of the school, improving conditions for teaching and learning, redesigning the organization, aligning roles and responsibilities, enhancing teaching and learning, redesigning and enriching the curriculum, enhancing teacher quality, building relationships inside and outside the school community, and placing an emphasis on common values (Day & Sammons, 2016; UNESCO, 2005). On top of this, school leadership is demanding which needs various related skills, knowledge and abilities and it is getting an education policy priority around the world. Tucker, MS. & Codding, JB. (2002), argued that “principalship requires significant investment in knowledge and skill development to become proficient.” In this regard, there is much room for professionalization of school leaders and to make school leadership an attractive career for future candidates. The study finding of Shantal,A.,Montua,K., Halttunen,L.& Pekka,K. (2014), also shows that since society is living in dynamic environment which is changing fast and principals need new knowledge and skill for those changes occurred training of school principals to improve their skills or practices is needed.

Similarly, in Ethiopia due emphasis is given to promote effective leadership, management and governance at all levels of education in order to achieve educational goals by mobilizing and using resources efficiently (MoE, 2015). Since the introduction of the education and training policy in 1994, various strategies and mechanisms have been implemented to improve the management and organization of education in general and schools in particular. The new education and training policy also recognized that change in educational organization and management is one of the priority areas (MoE, 1994).

The Undergraduate degree in educational planning and management has been used for so many years in preparing school leaders for various levels of the education system in the country. Since 2007 E.C summer another training program PGDSL was introduced and school principals are expected to attend postgraduate diploma in school leadership training to improve their knowledge and skill (MoE, 2013).

As stated in the ministry of education MoE (2013), national curriculum framework for the postgraduate diploma in school leadership document the objective of the PGDSL program is to empower school leaders to:

develop school vision, lead teaching and learning activities in schools, manage effectively and efficiently various school resources, supervise and support curriculum implementation, coordinate and mobilize school community, develop and follow up teachers’ professional learning and growth, manage educational change and innovations, design appropriate instructional practices, engage in continuous improvement and professional development activities through reflecting on one’s practice

The PGDSL program is geared towards assisting school leaders to develop a sound understanding of educational organizations and prepare them to acquire basic competencies in a variety of areas in management in order to improve their managerial decision making abilities. It is also intended to improve the practice of management and leadership in the schools. It is directed towards persons who hold educational management responsibilities within educational institutions.

However, the PGDSL program suffer from poor interest of trainees who joined the program, time limitation to complete the courses especially distance courses due principals have many duties and responsibilities during wintertime, less awareness among stake holders towards the program, lack of incentive to PGDSL trainees after completing the program and lack of consistency among the training universities in implementing the program.

1.1 Statement of the problem

In the Ethiopian education and training policy attention is given to the overall professional training of school principals and teachers as part of the Education Sector Development Programs (MoE, 1994). The program is aimed to achieve decentralization of management through upgrading the existing skills and competencies of individual officers with the provision of support and guidance materials (MoE, 2010; MoE, 2015).

Yet, school principal’s lack of appropriate experience and training to their profession. Accordingly, the ministry of education conducted different researches to improve the problem and suggested different training programs with different fields related to the education sector. (MoE, 2003).

Similarly, the current PGDSL program intended to prepare competent principals by faculties of education in universities which was developed drawing on the knowledge base of school leadership and the actual contexts of Ethiopian school to set an exemplary scenario in designing preparation process that emphasizes competence development rather than mere increment in the number of principals enrolled in the program.

With respect to the ineffective implementation of PGDSL training program stated in MoE (2016), document the problems were “less discussion between stakeholders, less awareness of trainees with regard to the program, little motivation and incentive provision to the trainees, the criteria’s set by MoE to be employed in selecting candidates were not properly used, negative attitude of trainees towards certificate nomenclature, insufficient time to deliver courses and using of poor instruction methods.”

In light of the above issues the researcher initiated to conduct research with reference to Dilla and Haramaya Universities. Thus, to address the existing challenges of PGDSL training in the sampled universities the following key research questions were formulated which the study were tried to answer:

1. To what extent PGDSL training is effective in achieving its goal?
2. How is the training universities capacity to train school leaders appropriately?
3. How the courses designed are relevant to the program?
4. What are the Challenges of the PGDSL Program?

1.2 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to explore the challenges of post graduate diploma in school leadership training in Ethiopia and to recommend possible solutions to the problems. The study also has the following specific objectives:

1. To find out the extent of PGDSL training effectiveness in achieving its goal.
2. To assess the training universities capacity to train school leaders appropriately.
3. To explore the relevance of the courses designed for the PGDSL program.
4. To investigate the Challenges of the PGDSL Program.

1.3 Significance of the study

This study will be important for the following reasons: First, it would help school principals, ministry of education officials working at teachers and educational leader’s development directorate, trainers and PGDSL program coordinators in different universities to be aware of the challenges of PGDSL training face and to find solution to the problem. Secondly, it will serve as a source of information for educational officials at different levels of the education hierarchy. Thirdly, the study may contribute to the future quality of school principals training. Finally, it may serve as a stepping-stone for those who want further in-depth study on the research problem.

2.Review Literatur

2.1 Basic concepts of School leadership

Different scholars define leadership differently from their own perspective. However, most definitions of leadership imply that intentional influence is exerted by one person or a group, over other people or groups, to structure the activities and relationships in a group or organization. Moreover, leadership concepts differ in terms of who exerts influence, the nature of that influence, the purpose for the exercise of influence and its outcomes. Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal ( Northhouse, 2016). Educational leadership is usually associated with formal organizational position in schools (Yukul, 2010).

To Pont et al., (2008), leadership is a broader concept where authority to lead does not reside only in one person, but can be distributed among different people within and beyond the school. Accordingly, school leadership can encompass people occupying various roles and functions such as principals, and assistant principals, supervisors, leadership teams, school governing boards and school level staff involved in leadership tasks.

Besides, school leadership distributed among different people within and beyond the school, there is an effort to professionalize the process in different countries of the world. Accordingly, professional school leadership is described as firm and purposeful, sharing leadership responsibilities, involvement in and knowledge about what goes on in the classroom. That means that it is important to have decisive and goal-oriented participation of others in leadership tasks, that there is a real empowerment in terms of true delegation of leadership power, and that there is a dedicated interest for and knowledge about what happens during lessons (Huber, 2004).

Thus, school leadership is a major factor for the improvement of school and quality of education. Accordingly, appropriate professional training provision to school leaders using varieties of training modalities to develop their professional skills is vital for the advancement of the school leadership process.

2.2 Developing School Leadership Skills

School leadership preparation and development is one of the ‘hot topics’ in both the practice and scholarship of educational leadership, management and administration (Eacott & Asuga, 2014). As Yukul, (2010), states “ the increasing rate of change in the external environment of organizations and the many new challenges facing leaders suggest that success as a leader in the twenty-first century will require a higher level of skill and some new competencies as well. As the need for leadership competencies increases, new techniques for developing them are being invented, and old techniques are being refined."

Since we are living in a complexity where the only stable factor is constant change school leaders will need to operate in an era that is becoming increasingly more turbulent and less predictable, and where paradox, ambiguity and uncertainty are becoming the norm. Thus a need to recruit and develop a new generation of school leaders with the knowledge, skills and dispositions best suited to meet the current and future needs of education systems (Pashiardis & Brauckmann, 2009).

Developing school leaders also requires clearly defining their responsibilities, providing access to appropriate professional development throughout their careers, and acknowledging their pivotal role in improving school and student performance (Schleicher, 2012).

Various countries in the world have focused on providing appropriate training and professional development opportunities to aspiring and practicing school leaders. Increasingly, international studies reveal a number of patterns or tendencies in providing school leadership development around the world. On the whole, it seems that those in charge of preparing professional development programmes are aware that schools are not static organizations that need to be administered but learning organizations that require continuous development (Pashiardis & Brauckmann, 2009).

Generally, developing school leadership skills is necessary and it has to be done in linking with the school environment both internal and external, it also needs clear responsibility. Moreover, it requires appropriate training using various teaching methodology and continuous development programs.

2.3 Successful School Leadership Training

Effective leadership creates motivation, and it is expected the educational leader to be optimistic, good-natured, with a conscience and ethical, with a developmental orientation that enables improvement and it has to be contextually literate, organizationally practicality and leadership smart(Mulford, 2008; Peleg, 2012).

Research evidences show that various kinds of principal training, capacity building and work experiences have positive effects on education quality. Research on principal preparation and development programs also suggests that certain program features are essential in the development of effective school leaders. Evidence indicates that effective programs are research-based, have curricular coherence, provide experience in authentic contexts and are structured to enable collaborative activity between the program and area schools (Davis et al., 2005).

In view of the ever-increasing responsibilities of school leaders for ensuring the quality of schools, school leadership development has recently become one of the central concerns of educational policy makers. At first sight, there may appear to be an international consensus about the important role of school leaders and their development. On looking more carefully, however, it is apparent that a number of countries have engaged in this issue more rigorously than others (Huber, 2004).

Effective leadership development planning practices that include recruitment, selection, and induction are the essential components in comprehensive systems that train, obtain, and retain the most capable school leaders (Hart in Normore, 2007).

Finally, successful school leadership training is essential for properly maintaining school management, to bring change and improvement in the school system, to bring quality of education, to prepare relevance curriculum to the education sector but for this to be true it has to be research-based, have curricular coherence, provide experience in authentic contexts and are structured to enable collaborative activity between the program and area schools

2.4 The Postgraduate diploma in school leadership

In Ethiopian education policy implementation different professional development programs were designed to upgrade the existing skills and competencies of school leaders at different times which go beyond the one-off training courses which integrate a varied set of workshops, courses and other training related events together with the provision of support and guidance materials (MoE, 2010).

The PGDSL program is one of the programs currently used to train school principals in Ethiopia. The training is offered to working school leaders more than 15 months which cover two summers and the two semesters in between. The duration and the course contents were reduced significantly compared to the former winter time training program (MoE, 2013). Even though, different Universities in Ethiopia tried to offer the training with the stated time by MoE they cannot use the allotted time since the two summers and the two winter tutorial is too short.

With regard to learning resource as clearly indicated in the ministry of education PGDSL curriculum document the PGDSL trainees should be provided with adequate learning support during the workplace-based phase, individually or in cluster-based groupings. Both peer-assisted support and tutorials would be appropriate (MoE, 2013). Accordingly, the trainees were provided with training modules and other learning support for the courses school leadership and management, instructional leadership, leading continuous professional development, education policy and contemporary issues in Ethiopia, management of educational change, school resources management, school improvement planning and school culture and school–community relations. Moreover, instructors of the training universities were participated during face to face and tutorial session to help the trainees.

2.5 Challenges of post graduate diploma in school leadership training

A study finding of Yan and Ehrich (2009), show that, lack of suitably qualified trainers, limitation of resources, old fashioned methods that continue to be used, assessment process used for initial principal preparation of principals relies on written papers and due that less transfer of training into the position are the problems of principal training programs.

In Africa principals are usually assigned without specific training, receive little or no induction, have limited access to suitable in-service training and enjoy little support from the local or regional bureaucracy. Moreover, most countries have very limited educational budgets and head teacher preparation is seen as a low priority. Donor countries and international agencies have introduced training initiatives but these are rarely sustained beyond the initial funding period (Bush, 2006).

In the case of Ethiopian context the study finding of Tekleselassie (2002), on the deprofessionalization of school principals revealed that, “irrelevant and repetition of curriculum, unresponsive and ill- prepared trainees, incompetent trainers, lack of nexus between the training and the kind of profile the ministry of education seeks and short duration of training are the limitations of principal training in the country.” With regard to the current PGDSL training problems as clearly stated in Analysis of educational management and leadership training practices in Ethiopia (MoE, 2016),

The program was launched without adequate preparations and the fulfillment of the necessary preconditions and infrastructures. The findings also show that the selections of trainees were not made as per the guidelines of the MoE. The national professional standards for school principals are very general. The PGDSL curriculum, courses, contents and objectives are aligned with the generic standards. The coordination among different stakeholders in the process to run the programs both in campus and out of campus is not adequate and the PGDSL training programs in school Leadership is held during the summer programs which may compromise the quality of education.

Thus, the current PGDSL school principal preparation challenged with lack of qualified trainers, limitation of resources, passive method of teaching used during the training, budget and time constraint to the training program, use of inappropriate selection criteria to select trainees and using too general standards.


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Challenges and Prospects of PGDSL Training in Ethiopia. The Case of Dilla and Harayama Universites
Addis Ababa University
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challenges, prospects, pgdsl, training, ethiopia, case, dilla, harayama, universites
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Tigist Metaferia (Author), 2016, Challenges and Prospects of PGDSL Training in Ethiopia. The Case of Dilla and Harayama Universites, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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