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Educational Leadership: an Islamic perspective

By Saeeda J. A. Shah


This is the author's final draft of the paper published as British Educational Research Journal, 2005, 32 (3), pp. 363-385. The final version is available from Doi: 10.1080/01411920600635403Ethnocentric concepts, theories and practices in education, predominantly embedded in western philosophy and values, tend to ignore the growing multicultural nature of educational institutions. This article draws attention to the knowledge gap in mainstream literature regarding diverse perspectives of educational leadership—an issue which is foreseen as gaining higher significance with the fast-changing societal structures in Britain. Having worked as a Muslim woman educational leader/manager in higher education in an Islamic state for more than two decades, and now working at a British university, positioned as a non-White woman Muslim, the author endorses the need to move beyond ethnocentrisms and to work towards developing complex theoretical constructs to reconceptualise educational leadership, drawing from perspectives held by diverse ethnic groups—students and communities. How learners from diverse philosophical and ethnic backgrounds conceive and perceive educational leadership, and how they receive it, is bound to interact with their learning experience and performance. This article briefly introduces leadership as a concept formulated in context. It presents philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of these conceptualisations from an Islamic perspective, and highlights the interplay between knowledge and leadership. The article deliberates how these discourses interact to formulate 'educational leadership' in Muslim societies, and explores the implications of these constructions with a focus on the British context, where Muslims are in a minority, pointing to the significance of understanding philosophical diversity for embracing population diversity

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/01411920600635403
OAI identifier:

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