Educational leadership in Singapore: tight coupling, sustainability, scalability, and succession

Dimmock, C. and Tan, C.Y. (2013) Educational leadership in Singapore: tight coupling, sustainability, scalability, and succession. Journal of Educational Administration, 51(3), pp. 320-340. (doi:10.1108/09578231311311492)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09578231311311492

Abstract

<br>Purpose – While Singapore's outstanding educational achievements are well known worldwide, there is a disproportionate paucity of literature on school leadership practices that contribute to and support pedagogical initiatives that – along with socio-cultural factors – are normally considered responsible for its educational success. The aim of this paper is to explicate system-wide school leadership factors that contribute to Singapore's educational success.</br> <br>Design/methodology/approach – The paper includes critical discussion, review of literature and conceptualization.</br> <br>Findings – It is argued that three unique features of Singapore school leadership, namely – logistics of a small tightly-coupled school system, human resource policies that reinforce alignment, and a distinctive “leader-teacher compact” reflecting the predominant Chinese culture – account for the extraordinary level of tight coupling and alignment of leadership across the school system. In turn, these unique features bring synergies of sustainability, scalability, succession, and high performance across the entire Singapore school system.</br> <br>Research limitations/implications – Unique features of Singapore school leadership must be examined in conjunction with pedagogical initiatives and socio-cultural factors for a more complete and nuanced understanding of educational success in Singapore.</br> <br>Practical implications – Tightly coupled mechanisms of leadership underlie the success of Singapore education. Government needs to consider whether such tightly- coupled leadership will continue to serve it well in future, given the demand for twenty-first century knowledge based skills.</br> <br>Social implications – The influence of socio-cultural factors (e.g. leader-teacher compact) on educational success merits inclusion in any explanation.</br> <br>Originality/value – This paper addresses an important gap in the literature by promulgating crucial features of school leadership that contribute to Singapore's educational success.</br>

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dimmock, Professor Clive
Authors: Dimmock, C., and Tan, C.Y.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Professional Learning and Leadership
Journal Name:Journal of Educational Administration
ISSN:0957-8234

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