University of Leicester
2023SahaSedD.pdf (1.62 MB)

Primary Education Management in Bangladesh: A Qualitative Exploration to Understand the Roles and Practices of Upazila (Sub-district) Education Officers

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posted on 2023-08-10, 08:52 authored by Somnath Saha

Researching Upazila (Sub-district) ' roles and practices is important for managing local primary education in Bangladesh. However, little is known about how they perceive and practice their roles. This study explored the perspectives of a group of Upazila Education Officers about their roles and practices. It also identified their challenges, strategies to overcome them, and their views on improving the practices. This study used a qualitative approach and collected data from twelve Upazila Education Officers using semi-structured interviews and one focus group discussion with the same interviewees. Collected data were analyzed thematically, focusing on the research questions. This study highlighted that the roles of the Upazila Education Officers are multifaceted, including academic, administrative, and financial management. They practiced their roles under a centralized system in a complex setting, and there was consistency between their expected and enacted roles. The Upazila Education Officers emphasized the notion of power-sharing, working closely with their Assistant Upazila Education Officers and delegating some roles to them. In addition, they perceived themselves as collaborative and consultative with a participatory management style. The findings also identified that the Upazila Education Officers faced multiple challenges due to their heavy workload, time constraints, and lack of expert and legitimate power. Additionally, a shortage of qualified human resources, including teachers and assistant education officers, the inactiveness of the school management committee, and the weak leadership of some Headteachers created management problems, as perceived by the Upazila Education Officers.

Although they were not in a position to address all the challenges, they applied some coping strategies. These included discussion, communication, and stakeholders' involvement in solving problems. In addition, they perceived that more autonomy, resources, and expert power would be helpful for them to improve their role practices. Finally, some policy and practice implications are presented, and suggestions for further research are proposed to develop the roles and practices of the Upazila Education Officers.



Joan Woodhouse

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Education

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • EdD



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