THEORITICAL PERSPECTIVE ON MANAGING
DISADVANTAGED SCHOOLS: A CASE OF REMOTE
Prof.Dr. Ramlee Mustapha
Norwaliza Abdul Wahab
• Along with the rapid progress of the country to pursue
Vision 2020, awareness of the importance of
educational knowledge is increasing, especially among
the present generation.
• Thus, society has placed educational institutions as
formal institutions that are responsible in providing the
best education for their children.
• Hence to achieve excellence in a school, school
administrators were identified playing a role in
ensuring the success of the organization. Efforts to
pursue and achieve excellence in education lies in the
hands of school administrators ( Hussien,1993)
• Researches and writings in the field of administration, have shown
that the leadership of school administrators is very important in
ensuring a smooth, efficient, and effective management of
organizations, particularly schools (Edmonds 1979 & Sergiovanni
• National schools and Indigenous schools have undergone many
changes in curriculum, teaching methods & pedagogy, and cocurricular activities in order to meet the increasingly challenging
expectations of the community and the nation.
• All this caused school administrators, especially those working in
Indigenous schools to face greater challenges and to be sensitive,
creative and innovative in dealing with various problems in their
daily management due to environmental and cultural difference
compared to the environment of other communities.
• In our country, Educational Review Committee at the
schools reported that school administrators are responsible
for the achievement of their students. According to the
Committee, school administrators need to be efficient;
...and spent much time organizing learning activities in
schools, maintains the school supervision in an effective
manner, acting as a consultant, advisor and coordinator of
teaching and learning program in schools, and should
spend more time in professional activities of teachers and
students, rather than just working solely as an
administrator who is confined to a room in giving out
instructions and letters.
(Ministry of Education Malaysia)
Role of Principal
• Research and literature have established a significant
link between the leadership style of the principal,
school climate and culture, and increased student
learning (Glassman, 1984; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Kelly
Thornton, & Daugherty (2005).
• Huffman (2003) noted that one of the most crucial
steps that administrators must ponder as they lead
their schools through the processes of reform is
establishing a shared vision that has at its core the
shared values of all stakeholders.
• As a leader or manager of the school, particularly in
Indigenous schools, school administrators are expected to
play a role:-
a. providing incentives in disseminating information,
b. conducting staff development activities
c. build good relationships between schools and
d. develop a happy school environment that can receive,
nurture and support changes from the outside (Ibrahim,
• The role of school administrators is seen as a determinant
of success and failure in the implementation of education
programs in schools in particular.
RESEARCH & PROBLEM BACKGROUND
• Indigenous students' achievement levels in education
should be given more attention. Studies conducted by
JAKOA found the lack of involvement of Indigenous
students at both secondary schools and also in higher
education is due to the low level of schooling (Nicholas,
2006). One hundred Indigenous students entering year one,
only six students who will be graduating up to Form 5. 94%
of these students cannot be traced either graduated or not.
• This situation is due to the school environment, community,
family and teachers, including school administrators that
less supportive about excellence in education of Indigenous
students and lead to dropout in primary and secondary
school levels (Hassan Mat Nor 1997).
• There are indications that show a significant drop out during standard 4
and 5 at the level of primary school (Crooks, Hamilton &Caygill 2000;
Wylie, Thompson &Lythe 1999). Among those aged 7 to 12, the number
not attending school rose to more than 2,700 in 2010, up from 1,962 in
2007 (Human Rights Commission in Malaysia, 2012)
• Among the factors that caused this drop out is the limited educational
facilities such as computers, internet and specialized training of teachers
in improving education levels of Indigenous students (Hasan Mat Nor
1997) and the quality of teaching and pedagogy of teachers is a very
significant influence towards the achievement of students
(Bosker&Witziers 1995; Cuttance 1998) is still at the same level.
• The study presented by Alangui (1997) and Branchov (1994), found that
the curriculum and pedagogy that are not compatible with Indigenous
culture is also an important factor causing the Indigenous students’ lack of
interest in the process of learning in the classroom.
• The lack of innovation and knowledge of teachers
and school administrators about Indigenous
culture causes less interaction and discomfort
exists between teachers and pupils (Mohd Kamal
& Abdul Rahman,2007)
• Abdullah Hassan (1969) describes teaching a
second language to non-native students need
careful consideration, planned and implemented
in a natural and not too formal and this aspect
should be considered by school administrators of
Model for Indigenous Students
GPILSEO Model (Bishop & O’ Sullivans 2005)
focuses on the 7 aspects (Goals, Pedagogy,
Institution, Leadership, Spread, Evidence &
Ownership) to enhance the education of
Indigenous students with emphasis on the
administrators , parents and the community
(Okagaki, 2001; Bishop & O 'Sullivans 2005) in
raising educational achievement of students
other than the role of schools and classrooms.
• Empirical studies spanning multiple decades have revealed
various models of school leadership behaviors as applied by
school principals. Two of the foremost researchers and
writers in the field of educational leadership, Leithwood
and Duke (1999), listed and defined four styles of
leadership as applied in government, business, the military,
and in schools: instructional, moral, transactional, and
transformational. The following are definitions of these
• Instructional leadership centers on the daily practices,
methods, and behaviors of teachers as they engage
students in efforts to increase student learning.
• Moral leadership involves values and ethics of the leader in
general as well as in the decision making process.
• The constructs of transactional leadership
proposed by Bass (1985), includes 3 constructs:
contingent reward, management-by-exception,
and laissez-faire leadership. These constructs
were part of seven constructs of leadership which
were separated into transactional and
transformational leadership behaviors.
• Transformational leadership raises the level of
commitment of members and empowers them to
affect positive changes in the organization.
Transformational leaders are described as
exhibiting charismatic leadership behaviors.
The conceptual framework adopted from the Model of GPILSEO (Bishop
• This study uses the qualitative method using a case study. Data obtained
in this study was gathered through semi-structured interviews, which took
1.5 to 2 hours.
• The researcher has selected the school administrators who are the
Headmaster (HM1) and Senior Assistant Teacher (SAT1) who are teaching
in Indigenous students’ school. The research participants were selected
using random purposive sampling method, a technique of recruiting
participants by taking into account certain considerations.
• Sample selection criterion is based on the criteria that the school
administrator who worked at the Indigenous students’ school consist of
male and female aged between 35 to 45 years and has worked in
lndigenous school for at least three years. Location of this study involves
two primary Indigenous schools consisting of a suburban school and a
rural school located around the state of Pahang.
FINDINGS & DISCUSSION
PERSPECTIVE OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
a. Based on objective
• Two Indigenous school administrators, a HM and a SAT who became the
samples, did not set a target of high academic achievement for their
school. They agreed that school’s performance target is to enable students
to master the Reading, Writing, Counting and Thinking skills, as per the
school’s Vision. Mission, vision and direction for both the schools is
recorded as follows;
• School’s Mission: To provide effective education to students
through proper teaching methods and encourage students to be
interested in attendingthe school’
• School’sVision: Develop the students’ skills so that the students
can read, write, count and think'
• School’s Direction:
1.To increase the number of students who can read, write and
count, and ii.
11.Produce students who are knowledgeable and has good
b. Performance target
Both the samples target for the achievement
of each subject to increase by 10% and HM1
expects two students to get 5As in the
upcoming UPSR. SAT1 said that
"Since 2007 this school has achieved a good
percentage of the UPSR for Indigenous
school. In 2010 we received 10% passing rate
and is expected in 2011 will have students
who may score at least 3A".
Perspectives of school administrators based on
a. Supportive teaching method
• The interview data showed that HM1 and SAT1 viewed that
Indigenous students need a fun form of teaching and
• "...with these students, if we are angry, they will not come
to school...must always give encouragement and show that
we understand them" (SAT1)
• 'I have been here for a very long time ready, I understand
their behaviour well.I always advise all my teachers here to
teach in a way that can excite the students.They quickly get
bored ... "(HM1)
Perspectives of school administrators based on
a. Facilities available in schools
Both school administrators said that the facilities at
the school are adequate for the purpose of teaching
and learning-tables, chairs, blackboard, small library
"these facilities are basics and its important for the
Recorded observations showed that in the
headmaster’s office and general office, there are
facilities such as computers, LCD, fax machines and
internet to "facilitate the relationship, especially with
the education office"
Perspectives of school administrators regarding
a. Periodic monitoring of school administrators
• Both respondents said that the monitoring of teaching and learning
are conducted by school administrators periodically. However, the
frequency will depend on the requirements, because according to
Headmaster and Senior Assistant Teacher, it is more important to
monitor the students’ attendance to school.
• "The school and I are monitoring of students’ attendance. It is
different here compared to outside schools. As long as students'
attendance is good, we already feel successful because they can
• "Here we are more concerned with students' attendance. There
were times when teachers have to go to students’ homes. That is
what we often monitor "(HM1)
Perspectives of school administrators
based on spread
Activities carried out for students and the local community
Various activities were carried out for the Indigenous students to improve
their educational development. Additional classes will be held for
students who will be sitting for the UPSR examination and to help
students improve their proficiency in all subjects.
“the classes will start after school hours..start at 2-3pm, rest about half
an hour then start again from 3.30-4.30pm”.
They are also exposed to the progress taking place in Malaysia by taking
them for visits to places as Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan and Tioman Island for
a field trip which the indigenous students love to do. This could indirectly
open the minds of Indigenous students so that they are not left behind in
the modernization cent and brave enough to face the new environment.
To foster a culture of reading, the school organized a reading program in
b. Assistance received
Many Indigenous students receive educational assistance
from the government in the forms of pocketmoney, free
books and school uniforms.
“ Yes. Like books, school begs, uniform” (SAT1)
Indigenous communities also receive assistance from
JAKOA ,banks, NGO’s.
To foster interest in reading, the NST newspaper also
provides newspapers on weekly basis reading materials
for the Indigenous students :“I would prefer they donate Malay papers instead because
my students don’t understand english yet alone to read it”
Perspectives of school administrators based on
• In terms of evidence in education,
• “the record for student who scored 5As was broken by an
Indigenous student after 15 years” (HM1)
• “Actually this school already won a national awards in 2007
as an Excellent Indigenous Primary School under Ministry of
• “we conducting exams 4 times a year” (HM2)
Perspectives of school administrators based on
a. Contribution to school
• Both the school administrator who was interviewed supported that
their school teachers show high level of commitment in educating
Indigenous students. They are willing to sacrifice their time for the
success of Indigenous students. Teachers always try to give
assistance and encouragement to the students.
• "Some teachers are willing to sleep in the school when we have
programs; they are willing to sacrifice their time and energy" (HM1)
• "my teacher did not go home since yesterday because we have a
program with the students and parents" (SAT1).
• Based on the role and perspectives of school administrators as discussed
indicated that there are some elements that may be associated with the
achievements and problems of education of Indigenous students.
• Views of different groups of respondents indicated education of
Indigenous students have the potential to achieve better progress. Among
the school administrators, they have a very positive outlook on education,
especially in terms of goals. However, information from the various
categories of respondents and the observations also showed that there
are some situations that can be improved.
• For example, elements related to pedagogy, teachers’ leadership,
perfection and functionality of available facilities, willingness of students
to stay in hostels, and support of various parties need to take place or be
provided in the form that can assist the students so that they will not drop
out of school and get more satisfactory results.