University of Leicester
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Education system in times of long lasting uncertainty : the role of a director of a municipal education system on the professional-political continuum during a crises

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:43 authored by Ruvie Rogel
Management of a Municipal Education System in times of long lasting uncertainty is an autoethnographic report of the events in a small city on the Golan Heights in Israel, at the time that the future existence of the city was negotiated upon, as part of a peace treaty between Israel and Syria for the third time in less than a decade. The threat for the residents was a forced evacuation from their city, homes, work places, social circles, and their way of life, values, and beliefs. The Psycho-social processes which were associated with the situation were described by me, a participant observer, in my role as the city's Director of Municipal Education System.;The purpose of the autoethnography was to describe the human aspects of such a unique situation and touch on the implications of a recurring uncertainty on a community, the needs, and ways to relate to those needs, and the relationships between professionals and political leaders in reference to such a process. Another purpose was to bring the issues upfront, to a level of discussion, since population evacuation was, and still is, in the heart of a political debate in Israel, and educational leaders should be ready to take a stand and act for the benefits of their communities when the need arises.;The main aim of this research is to analyse the management of a municipal education system in times of long lasting uncertainty. The research question at hand is what were the professional-political perceptions of the role of a director of municipal education system in the Golan Heights during a major political crisis?;As ethnographies often do, it took me to several treks: the first was a somewhat philosophical-theoretical journey into the concepts of ethnography and autoethnography, social time, and educational management theories. The second journey took me into some background materials on the evacuation from Sinai- a precedent that served to study the possible ramifications of forced uprooting, and an overview of the role of a municipal director of education. The third journey was into stress, coping, and resiliency as the manifestations of psycho social behaviour in a crisis, and the issue of emergency preparedness. These journeys were followed by a methodological section, the data presentation and analysis, a discussion and conclusions. The time that passed since the beginning of the writing process allowed me as the autoethnographer to witness and participate in similar incidents, and actually use knowledge, which was accumulated during the process of writing, in future events. It also offered me a unique opportunity to take the later knowledge and infer it, through the writing, on past experience. The event also helped enhancing the need to deal with the narrative of communities in prolonged uncertainties, and strengthened the level of trustworthiness and authenticity (validity and reliability) of the thesis.;Conclusions were drawn out of a model that was created through the thematic analysis of the data. The model offered a distinction between professional community orientation which is external and relies on a humanistic approach, and a political community approach, based on political ideology. In a case of a political campaign- the two sides may find themselves on the extreme of this continuum. The role of director of education is to lead the professional humanistic approach. Three main recommendations came out of the conclusions;;1. To create a national multi disciplinary agency that would intervene in situations where the professional and political clashes interfere with the benefit of the community. 2. To negotiate a working paradigm well in advance as part of preparedness plans. 3. To recognise the central place of schools and the entire education system as "islands of resiliency", and use them to work with the entire community. 4. The role of the director of education is a leadership role, and the director is expected to be active in taking this leadership.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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