Contributor: Maroof Ahmed | Editor: Supriyono
On June 20, 2023, the Faculty of Education (FoE) at Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia (UIII) hosted an online lecture delivered by Dr. Donnie Adams, Chair of the Centre for Research in International and Comparative Education (CRICE) at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The lecture focused on the development and challenges of Malaysia's school leadership policy.
Dr. Adams commenced his talk by providing an insightful overview of the school system in Malaysia, emphasizing the significance of its multicultural nature. He stressed that school leadership is context-sensitive, with leaders' actions influenced and shaped by social processes and cultural factors. Understanding this cultural context becomes essential for effective school leadership.
Transitioning to the roles and responsibilities of Malaysian Principals, Dr. Adams highlighted their crucial tasks, including implementing educational programs stipulated by the Ministry of Education, supervising the teaching-learning process, monitoring discipline, overseeing co-curricular activities, and engaging with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and School Board of Governors.
Furthermore, Dr. Adams emphasized that effective school leaders are not just managers but also instructional leaders who can transform their school environments. He explained that they must skillfully manage and lead their schools while balancing the numerous, often conflicting demands of this highly complex role.
Addressing the importance of principal preparation programs, Dr. Adams pointed out substantial evidence indicating that school principal leadership significantly impacts organizational capacity and student outcomes. However, he noted that Malaysian principals often face the burden of heavy management duties, such as administrative work and meetings, which can adversely affect their primary focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning in classrooms.
Dr. Adams provided a historical perspective on principal leadership preparation programs in Malaysia, highlighting that the country had no national principal preparation program until 1999 when it adopted the NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) adapted from England's NPQH (Page 13). This program underwent several revisions and was later renamed the National Professional Qualification for Educational Leaders (NPQEL) in 2008.
Moreover, Dr. Adams emphasized the Malaysian Education Blueprint's (MEB) ambition, which aims to equip every public school with high-performing school leaders possessing the capacity to enhance student outcomes. This vision is explicitly outlined in Shift 5 in the MEB.
To achieve this goal, the Ministry of Education in Malaysia has taken various measures, including refining and clarifying the selection criteria, nurturing a pool of potential future school leaders, improving preparatory and continuous professional development programs, and implementing a performance and competencies-based performance management approach. Dr. Adams' talk offered a comprehensive and valuable insight into the school leadership policy in Malaysia, its development, and the challenges it faces.