School leadership preparation in Malaysia: Aims, content and impact

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the preparation of school principals in Malaysia, and the aspiration of the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013–2025 to ensure high-performing school leaders in every school. It reports on the principal preparatory programme, the National Professional Qualification for Educational Leaders, which is mandatory to those who aspire to be school principals. Documentary analysis was undertaken on materials used for leadership training programmes by the National Institute of Educational Management and Leadership or Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB), which is the country’s main leadership training and development centre, equivalent to the National College for Teaching and Leadership in England. Eight primary and secondary schools, chosen by stratified purposive sampling, were selected for the study. Interviews were conducted with principals and assistant principals of the eight schools, to establish how they were selected and prepared for their leadership roles. Interviews with Ministry of Education and IAB officials offered a provider perspective while an interview with an education minister clarified the policy and political contexts of the study. The findings of the study draw attention to the need to refine the selection criteria, with a focus on higher entry standards to ensure excellent leadership in schools, an emphasis on instructional leadership to improve student learning in schools, the conflict between central direction and the importance of situational leadership, and the political imperative for programme outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1019
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Leadership
  • Malaysia
  • instructional leadership
  • leadership impact
  • leadership preparation
  • student outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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