Teachers’ Roles in Shared Decision-Making in a Pakistani Community School




Salim, Zainab

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Over the past two decades, teacher participation in school decision-making has emerged as a significant theme in education reforms, gaining the attention of researchers and practitioners across different education contexts both in developed and developing countries (Lee & Nie, 2014). A supportive and participatory culture typically does not exist in Pakistani schools catering to the underprivileged. Instead, the existing hierarchical public education system promotes multi-layered power structures in which authority flows from the top to the bottom (Khalid, 1996; Tajik, 2008). Inadequate attention has been paid to the participatory activities of informal teacher leaders in developing countries such as Pakistan, and existing research predominantly examines the perceptions of formal teacher leaders such as principals and head teachers about their involvement in shared decision-making. Yet, research indicates that against all odds, a few private, low-cost community schools in Pakistan have adopted the idea of involving teachers in decision-making within and beyond the classroom. The purpose of this qualitative single case study is to explore the perceptions of Pakistani teachers about their roles in shared decision-making in a reputationally, effective, low-cost community school in Pakistan. Multiple data sources were used to ensure triangulation. These included a survey on shared decision-making for all 34 community school teachers; informal observations, field notes and semi-structured interviews of 22 purposefully selected community school teachers. Standard survey analysis, emic coding, and constant comparative analysis were used to identify common themes across survey and interview responses. Findings suggest that a majority of the Pakistani community school teachers were positively inclined toward the process of shared decision-making, preferring it over the traditional decision-making model. While they believed that the decision-making process in their school was collaborative, more than half the teachers did not feel empowered to make decisions because their input, though sought out by the management, was not incorporated into final decisions. Findings also identified intrinsic and extrinsic factors within and outside the school that impacted Pakistani community school teachers’ willingness and agency to participate in the shared decision-making process. It is concluded that Pakistani community teachers feel ready to assume shared decision-making responsibilities, but they need relevant knowledge and skills to meaningfully participate in the process and take charge of their professional landscape. The study findings have implications for practitioners, policy makers and teacher educators.



Education, Teacher education, Shared decision-making, Teacher education, Teacher leaders, Teachers' perceptions