Principals' perspectives regarding their role as leaders of curriculum reform in Lesotho
Ralebese, Moeketsi David
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The present study explores the perspective of principals regarding their roles and responsibilities in the implementation and leadership of the new integrated curriculum at primary level within the context of Lesotho. This country is currently in the process of implementing a new primary school curriculum. However, it is no secret that many of the principals who lead these reforms have minimal or no prior training in educational leadership, yet their role is crucial for reform implementation. The sense-making theory was used to shed light on how principals interpret and understand their roles and responsibilities as leaders of curriculum reform. Using the concurrent mixed methods design, a questionnaire collected quantitative data from 83 principals on their beliefs, views and understandings regarding their roles. Semi-structured interviews with six principals were conducted to gather qualitative data regarding the challenges and opportunities they encounter in their role. The SAS program was used to generate descriptive statistics. The interview data was deductively analysed based on three main priori codes. The two datasets were then merged to establish convergence and/or divergence. The participants for this study were primary school principals. They were purposively drawn from Maseru, Lesotho to provide rich data because they currently lead the implementation of curriculum reform at this school level. The main findings indicate that principals in this study have positive views regarding their leadership of the new curriculum. However, inadequate in-service training and insufficient knowledge/information on the new curriculum compromise their leadership. As a result, contrary to the sense-making theory adopted in this study, it is the sense-making of teachers that drives the implementation of the new curriculum. In spite of this, principals rely on subtle strategies, such as collaboration and teamwork, to execute their role. Therefore, this study recommends an in-depth in-service program for principals to equip them with curriculum knowledge/information and change management skills. This study is intended to provide valuable insights on how principals view and make sense of their new roles during curriculum reform. It will shed light on challenges and opportunities that principals currently face. It will offer an opportunity for the principals to reflect on their work for possible growth.