University of Sussex
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A study of the role and professional identity of district directors of education (DDES) in Ghana

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posted on 2023-06-09, 00:17 authored by Hilda Eghan
A major vehicle for the decentralized implementation of education policies in Ghana is the district education office, the head of which is the district director of education. This study offers an understanding of the position of district directors of education (DDEs) and demonstrates the complex dynamics inherent in their work. It critically analyses the directors’ rank and role as policy actors and their power to act. It also provides an informed view of how DDEs negotiate the challenges associated with the contexts within which they work. This study further examines the mechanisms for the DDE’s identity construction and capacity to provide appropriate leadership and management. Adopting a social constructivist philosophical stance this research is framed in terms of narrative and case study. The data set comprises interviews with six DDEs studied as a single holistic case and a participant observation of a conference of directors. Additionally my personal experience as a district director provided deep insight complemented by a reflective research journal which documented my own biases, feelings and thoughts. The findings of the study suggest that policy formulation and implementation in Ghana does not seem to promote devolution of power from national policy actors to local-level actors in a manner that enables influence from DDEs. It illustrates that specific socio-cultural and organizational contexts have enormous influence on the professional identity formation of DDEs. The study concludes that an understanding of the complex contexts of the district director is critical for developing appropriate leadership and management practices. This study is pertinent to my own professional identity as an education administrator and a researcher. Fundamentally, this research has changed my perspectives on what it takes to be a district director and has enhanced my understanding of the research process. Its contribution to scholarship is the systematic re-examination of the district director position enabling a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. It is particularly relevant not only to my colleague directors, but also to senior education administrators in the GES and policy makers in the Ministry of Education.


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University of Sussex

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