Academic journal article International Journal of Doctoral Studies

Designing an Indonesian Leadership Training Program: Reflections upon Decisions Made

Academic journal article International Journal of Doctoral Studies

Designing an Indonesian Leadership Training Program: Reflections upon Decisions Made

Article excerpt

Introduction

Merriam (1998) suggests that planning a research project has similarities to planning a yearly vacation trip. Before embarking on any vacation much thought must be given to factors such as the destination, the cost, the method of travel, and the length of stay. These same decisions apply to undertaking a research project. In June 2004 I commenced a doctoral research project in Central Lombok, East Indonesia to explore issues of school leadership within three impoverished rural school communities. From the outset this was designed as qualitative research, which was intended to explore the meaning, to understand the manner in which a specific group of individuals had constructed their world and the way in which they related within their social setting. Gillham (2004) notes that qualitative methods are designed to generate evidence that extracts meaning from events as they unfold.

The research conducted considered what changes occur within school communities when they are offered an initial leadership training program followed by a six month supported period of practice within the school and community environment. In particular it considered what changes occur in the perceptions of leadership for teachers, principals and school community members. It also considered how such changes impacted on the dynamics of school operations within the school community. The research reflected on how experiencing a distributed shared model of leadership would impact upon the manner in which school community stakeholders carry out their roles within a newly decentralized education system.

Indonesia formally decentralized education through Indonesian Law 22/1999 and Government Regulation No. 25/2000 in January 2001 (Jalal & Mustafa, 2001). Within any decentralized system there is a strong need for leadership at a local level so that communities may thrive through self-management. However Indonesia is still moving through a difficult transition stage: "Indonesia is having to face the growing pains associated with this national learning process ... paternalistic behaviour left over from centuries of centralistic policy making on the one hand, and the extreme dependency of some areas, on the other, can be hard to change simply by edict" (The World Bank, 2005, p. xi). Aid projects are a primary means of introducing educational reforms and significant educational concepts throughout Indonesia. While many Aid projects within Indonesia address the issues of school based management in general, they do not provide specific input to assist school communities in embracing the necessary change from the top down leadership style of the centralized system to the shared or distributed style of leadership required within a decentralized system. Thus this research gauged what form leadership training could take in the future as an inclusion in Aid projects.

Indonesia has a population of more than 215 million people. Indonesian education therefore serves an enormous school population, estimated at 25,400,000 persons (Muslim, 2002). Since decentralization Indonesia has tried to increase its education budget. In the late 1990s Indonesia was ranked as having the lowest spending amongst its Asian neighbours "with just 1.4% of its GDP on education in comparison to 4.7% in Thailand and 4.6% in Malaysia" (The World Bank, 2005, p. 18). However the Government of Indonesia's 2006 budget allows an allocation of less than 10% of total spending to education, well below the 20% originally mandated in the constitution of 1945 (Hudiono, 2005). What this means in terms of education throughout the country is that even the most basic resources are scarce and in many cases below standard or non existent as noted in The World Bank (2003) report; "In poor and disadvantaged areas, too many schools are badly in need of repair; too many teachers do not meet the minimum qualification for teaching, and too many are not motivated to do their best in the class-room" (p. …

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