An inquiry into the selection and spiritual formation of Catholic public school lay principals in Ghana
The teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the role of the laity in the Church has re-awakened a renewed participation of the laity in the evangelizing mission of the Church. The lay faithful are now occupying a number of significant positions in the Church and are playing various leadership roles once exclusively played by the clergy and members of the religious orders. One of the challenges that most of the lay leaders in Church-related institutions face is that, they are occupying and playing roles in the Church that they were not necessarily trained to occupy or play. ^ This study investigated issues relating to the selection and spiritual formation of the lay principals in Catholic public schools in Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. The study specifically examined how the principal participants were selected and appointed to their present positions in Catholic public schools in the region. The study also examined formal spiritual and educational orientation and professional development resources that prepare these lay school leaders to exercise all the three dimensions of their leadership roles—managerial, educational and spiritual—effectively.^ The study specifically investigated the challenges the lay principals in Catholic public schools face in exercising the spiritual dimension of their leadership. The study further delved into how the lay principals cultivate, sustain, and promote the Catholic identity and culture of their school communities. ^ Using qualitative methodology of purposeful sampling, the researcher interviewed eight lay principals in Catholic public schools in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana on how they were selected and appointed to their present positions, and how they learned about the vision, mission, and philosophy of Catholic education. In addition to these eight principals, the researcher also interviewed two key informants who hold vital information pertaining to the selection and spiritual formation of Catholic public school lay principals. ^ The study revealed conflicting reports on how these principals were selected and appointed to head Catholic public schools in the region. While some of the principals claimed they were appointed by the Regional Manager of Catholic schools, others said that they were appointed by the District Director of Education. Investigating further to resolve these conflicting reports, the study discovered that the Regional Manager of Catholic schools in the region does not have ultimate decision-making power to appoint principals for Catholic public schools. The Regional Manager only recommends possible candidates to the District Director of Education who then makes substantive appointment. ^ The study further discovered that the three Catholic Dioceses in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana do not provide adequate spiritual orientation nor professional development programs for the lay principals in Catholic public schools in the region. The newly appointed principals to Catholic public schools are left on their own struggle to learn about the visions, mission and philosophy of Catholic education. While several of the principals rely on their local pastors to be initiated into mission and goals of Catholic education, others depend on their colleagues to learn about the rudimentary elements of Catholic education and how to run a Catholic public school. ^ Due to the inadequacy of formal spiritual and educational orientation and professional development resources to initiate the newly appointed principals into Catholic literacy, and its philosophy of education, most of the principals find it difficult in articulating the mission and goals of Catholic education to their staff, their students, and the Parent-Teacher Association. ^ Notwithstanding the aforementioned inadequacy in spiritual and professional development programs, the principals had embarked on systematic programs which aim at cultivating, sustaining and promoting the Catholic identity and culture of their schools. ^ The researcher concludes the study by making recommendations pertaining to the issues raised in the study to help enhance educational practice in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana. He further offers recommendations for future research on Catholic schools in Ghana. ^
Education, Leadership|Education, Policy|Education, Administration
"An inquiry into the selection and spiritual formation of Catholic public school lay principals in Ghana"
(January 1, 2011).
ETD Collection for Fordham University.