Contribution of District Transformation Program and Change Commitment toward Development of School Leaders Capacity and Quality of Teaching

Abstract

The Ministry of Education Malaysia has launched the Regional Transformation Program to work with the District Education Offices to develop leaders’ professionalism in schools and quality of teaching to improve the nation’s education performance. This research is conducted to identify the level of implementation of the District Transformation Programme, level of change commitment and impact on Leadership Capacity Building in Schools and quality of teaching. A descriptive survey study was used to collect information on the three dimensions of PPD transformation implementation and change commitment while the inference from the survey study was used to identify the impact of PPD’s transformation on the development of school leadership capabilities and the impact of change commitment on the quality of teaching. A total of 400 respondents consisting of education service officers from 13 PPDs in Malaysia were randomly selected. The findings show that the three dimensions of PPD transformation implementation and change Commitment are at a very high level. The findings also show that the implementation of this district transformation program is very relevant to help improve leadership capabilities in schools when the Re-Enculturation contributes 19.6% (β = .291; t = 5.759; p = .000). Furthermore, the Guidance and Mentorship Management accounted for 5.1% (β = .221; t = 4.294; p = .000). Meanwhile, the restructuring dimension contributed by 1.6% (β = .138; t = 2.967; p = .003). Change commitment is very relevant to improve the quality of teaching, affective commitment contributes 15.7% (β = .307; t = 6.228; p = .000), normative commitment contributes 3.4% (β = .198; t = 4.026; p = .000) and continuation commitment contributes .9% (β = -.096; t = 4.026; p = .033). Nevertheless, research on the quality of school leadership is yet to be implemented to ensure that the government’s aim to place high quality leaders in every school in Malaysia is realized.

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Azmi, A. , Hamzah, M. and Nor, M. (2019) Contribution of District Transformation Program and Change Commitment toward Development of School Leaders Capacity and Quality of Teaching. Creative Education, 10, 2631-2639. doi: 10.4236/ce.2019.1012190.

1. Introduction

Countries all over the world are becoming practical to transform the education system. Malaysia has also performed several transformation programs in the education system. To date, the Malaysian Education Development Plan (MEDP) 2013-2025 is established to transform the country’s education system. The plan comprehensively covers important changes in the ministry in order to meet new demands and high expectations of the public, and inspire as well as support the transformation of the civil service (Ministry of Education, 2013a). In addition, based on the contents outlined in the MEDP 2-13-2025, education transformation is able to change the pattern of social organization (Mohammed Sani & Mohd Izham Mohd, 2012). The implementation of this transformation program has placed high hopes for changing the patterns and boosting excellence in social organization. Due to that, the society demands attention of the concerned parties which have introduced and implemented the changes to ensure its success.

District Transformation Program (DTP) is one of the programs implemented in dictating education transformation. In implementing the DTP, the District Education Office (DEO) has promised to assist in improving the understanding of the schools in facing challenges and investigating the main cause of the challenge. They have also promised to be a corporate mediator by contributing ideas to solve these problems (Ng Kee et al., 2016). In addition, they also assist by providing support and targeted resources to all schools to address the challenges. The supports provided by the DEO directly assist schools from administration workload, so that teaching and learning performance of the school can be improved. Besides, in the implementation of the DTP, the DEO identifies and recognizes the best practices in the school and are followed by all the schools in the district (Ministry of Education, 2013b).

2. Research Objectives and Hypothesis

2.1. Research Objectives

This study aims to identify the implementation of PPD transformation and commitment change practices and impact on the development of school leadership capabilities and teaching quality. The objectives of the study are:

1) To identify the stage of implementation of the PPD transformation.

2) To identify the level of change commitment.

3) To identify the contribution of the transformation of implementation of PPD toward development of school leadership capabilities.

4) To identify the contribution of change commitment practices toward quality of teaching.

2.2. Research Hypothesis

The first and second objectives were analyzed using descriptive statistic, meanwhile the third and fourth objective were analyzed using stepwise multiple regression and need a hypothesis to prove it. The research hypothesis for the third objective is as follow:

Ho1: There is no significant contribution of the implementation of the PPD transformation toward development of school leadership capabilities.

The research hypothesis for the fourth research objective is as below:

Ho2: There is no significant contribution of the change commitment toward the quality of teaching.

3. Literature Review

The District Transformation Program (DTP) is under the sixth agenda of MEDP 2013-2025 and aims to improve school performance by empowering the State Education Departments, District Education Offices and schools. School Management Division (SMD) is the owner of the program recognized by the Ministry of Education as one of the key initiatives for the implementation of the Malaysian Education Development Plan (MEDP) 2013-2025. Four key elements underpin the implementation of the DTP, namely the changing role of State Education Departments and District Education Offices, introduce new employment (SISC+ and SIPartners+) in the District Education Offices, focus on Dashboard and Scoreboard, and finally implement the performance dialogue at school, district and state level (Ministry of Education, 2013b).

The first phase of DTP has been implemented in two stages. In 2013 till 2014, the DTP has appointed and launched the SISC+ and SIPartner+ as well as the interventions developed by the DTP. In addition, DEO also issued a dashboard report, implemented performance dialogue, built capacity of DEO’s leader and increased the number of DEOs in East Malaysia. Meanwhile, the second phase of DTP also took place during the year of 2015 to 2016. At this stage, DEO implemented new scaling of SIPartner+ and SISC+ by including four subjects in all schools. DEO also implemented restructuring, redefined, and improved the power supply to increase the capacity of the DEO (Ministry of Education, 2013b).

According to Lambert (2010), leadership ability means the involvement of a leader in a wide scope and skilled in leadership roles. Jamelaa Bibi (2012) categorized educational leaders who are experts in the task of leadership as an effective educational leader. The features of an effective educational leader are smart, honest, has integrity, has strong momentum and high level of self-confidence, and creative (Baharom & Mohamad, 2009). Effective educational leaders are needed to encourage subordinates to implement the changes. In addition, it is also necessary to promote changes to the organization for survival in parallel with the circulation and progress demands. The leader is considered successful if he is able to encourage, persuade and influence others to give commitments in achieving a certain objective (Resi, 2011). This means the leader refers to the nature of an individual’s ability to lead a group of people by ensuring that all of them are motivated and committed to implement the changes and move towards excellence.

Mohammed Sani & Jamalul Lail (2012) stated the ability of a leader is not only focusing on improving organizational performance alone, but also on developing commitment, abilities, motivations, and values among subordinates. The Malaysian Ministry of Education categorized leaders as outlined by Fatemeh & Khadijah (2013), as professional educational leaders. Such leaders are needed in the education sector because they are not only able to play the role of a manager or administrator alone. In fact, their role as educators to students and subordinates, mentor to other teachers who are under their leadership and influence to play a role in increasing the loyalty of teachers to be more committed and productive in order to uphold the nation’s education (Fuziah, 2011).

4. Methodology

This study comprised of 400 education service officers from 13 District Education Offices (PPD) nationwide who were selected randomly.

A five-point Likert scale questionnaire comprising relevant items was employed to measure the level of implementation of PPD transformation and change commitment practices, and the impact on the development of school leadership capabilities and teaching quality.

The instrument of this study is reliable as the Cronbach’s alpha of this instrument is .915. The instrument was validated for content validity by three content experts. The data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23. This study employed the mean average score interpretation that was modified from the original interpretation based on the study by Jamil (2002) to indicate the level of implementation of PPD’s transformation.

Meanwhile, stepwise multiple regression analysis was used to identify the impact of the implementation of PPD’s transformation and change commitment practices on school’s leadership development and teaching quality.

Prior conducting multiple regression analysis, the researcher ensured that some pertinent measures were strictly observed, whereby the distribution of the study was normal and there was a correlation between variables.

5. Results and Findings

The descriptive analysis of this study includes the result of mean values and standard deviations of the components on the implementation of PPD’s transformation. The results of the analysis are as follows.

Based on Table 1, the implementation of PPD’s transformation for the dimension of restructuring, guidance, and mentorship management as well as

Table 1. Mean and Standard Deviation of components on the implementation of PPD’s transformation.

re-enculturation are at the highest. The dimension of guidance and mentorship management showed the highest score (min = 4.43; SD = .26), followed by the re-enculturation dimension (mean = 4.41; SD = .23), and lastly the restructuring dimension (mean = 4.36; SD = .22). Specifically, the researcher found that the level of implementation of PPD’s transformation in Malaysia was overall high with a mean score of 4.39 (SD = .19).

This study found that the dimensions of guidance and mentorship management is high and these findings reinforce the initial expectations in Preliminary Review of the School Improvement Specialist Coach Plus (SISC+): Development, Challenges and Expectations conducted by Ng Kee et al. (2016). Furthermore, this study reports high restructuring level and Ng Kee et al. (2016) also reported that Education District Officials (PPDs) who are the prime movers of the District Transformation Program (DTP) in their respective districts, show high level of perception toward the existence of the new designation, which is SISC+.

This study also reports high level of re-enculturation, and this finding is supported by the findings of Zakaria et al. (2014) titled Pre and Post Attendance Assessment of School Improvement Partners Plus at a Low Performance School in the district of Tuaran, Sabah: Tuaran District Education Office’s Assessment Study, found a 50% improvement on teacher’s quality and 37.5% increase on leadership quality after adopting a new working culture in conjunction with the district’s transformation program.

Conclusion, this analysis shows that PPD personnel in Malaysia are implementing the relevant transformation in PPD.

Next, this study discusses on the mean values and standard deviation of the components of change commitment practice through the dimensions of affective commitment, continuity commitment and normative commitment. The results of the analysis are as follows.

Based on the results in Table 2, practice of commitment change for dimensions of affective commitment, continuation commitment and normative commitment is at the high level. The affective commitment dimension shows the highest score (mean = 4.42; SD = .33), followed by the dimension of normative commitment (mean = 4.29; SD = .35), and the dimension of continuation commitment (mean = 4.14; SD = .42). Particularly, the research found that the level of practice to change as a whole is at a high level with mean score of 4.29 (SP = .22).

Table 2. Mean score and standard deviation of practice of change commitment components.

This study also found that the dimension of affective commitment is high, and proves that the level of willingness, attitude and emotions of PPD officers are high as well as responsible toward the organisation. Furthermore, this study also reports that the level of continuation commitment is also high and proves that the PPD officers are not concerned on the rewards in performing the tasks. This study also reports that the dimension of normative dimension that is associated with the level of to the organisation is also high. These three dimensions are high and the findings strengthens the results of the study by Anuar (2013).

Conclusion, this analysis indicates that the officers at PPDs in Malaysia employ commitment towards change.

Subsequently, multiple regression analysis was used to test the following hypotheses:

Ho1: There is no significant contribution to the implementation of PPD transformation in the development of school leadership capabilities.

The findings of the analysis indicate that all the dimensions of the PPD transformation show that there is a correlation and a significant contribution (p < .05) to the development of the school’s leadership capabilities. The results of the stepwise statistical analysis are shown in Table 3.

The dimension of re-enculturation is the highest contributor to the development of the school’s leadership capacity with a contribution of 19.6% (β = .291; t = 5.759; p = .000). Furthermore, the guidance and mentorship management is the second highest contributor with 5.1% (β = .221; t = 4.294; p = .000) and the restructuring dimension contributes as much as 1.6% (β = .138; t = 2.967; p = .003).

Thus, this hypothesis is rejected, whereby there is a significant contribution of the PPD transformation dimension toward the development of school’s leadership capabilities. The findings of this study supports the report on the impact of implementation of SIPartenrs + 2014’s visitation and mentoring by Shamsudin (2014) that posits on the benefit and mentoring by SIPartners+ and the positive impact on the school management, as well as improve the performance of school leadership, school administration and further improve personal professionalism among trained officers.

Conclusion, the PPD transformation dimension is contribute toward the development of school’s leadership capabilities

Subsequently, multiple regression analysis was used to the below hypothesis:

Ho2: There is no significant contribution on the practice of change commitment on the development of school leadership capabilities.

The findings of the analysis indicate that all the dimensions of change commitment illustrate that there is a correlation and significant contribution (p < .05) on development of school leadership capabilities. The results of multiple regression analysis (stepwise) is shown in Table 4.

The overall contribution of change commitment to teaching quality is 20 percent. The contributor dimension of affective commitment is the highest at 15.7%, followed by normative commitment of 3.4% and normative commitment of .9%. Thus, the hypothesis is rejected. Therefore, there is a significant contribution of the practice of change commitment to the teaching quality. The findings of this study supports research done by Hairani (2006), found that there was a significant relationship between in-service training and teaching quality. Whereas, Arsaythamby & Mary (2013) find that commitment to manage clinical supervision also helps teachers in improving teaching quality.

Conclusion, the change commitment dimension is contribute toward the teaching quality.

6. Conclusion

The research implication is to assist in the development of modules, courses and training to enhance the professionalism of educational leaders to manage change of education. The findings also help education leaders to clearly set goals, manage change effectively, promote a comfortable work climate and create a friendly and supportive workplace environment among the employees in the institution.

Table 3. Multiple regression analysis (stepwise) on the contribution of implementation of PPD transformation toward the development of school leadership capabilities.

Table 4. Multiple regression analysis (stepwise) of the contribution dimensions on the practice of change commitment toward teaching quality.

In addition, this research forms the basis for future research on the impact of change management and commitment on change.

The District Transformation Program has empowered PPD in being responsible for developing school leaders’ professionalism and teaching quality by providing support and resources in the form of information sharing as well as guidance and mentorship to meet the challenges in uplifting the nation’s educational performance. This capacity must be strengthened to enhance the educational excellence of the nation. However, further research on quality of school leadership needs to be conducted to ascertain that the government’s aim to have quality leaders in every school in Malaysia is realized. Thus, students’ achievement and the quality of the education rendered are also enhanced.

Acknowledgements

The researchers would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) for the financial funding of this research through Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FGRS) [code: FRGS/1/2016/SSI09/UKM/02/9], Research Grant FPEND 1 (GG-2019-031) and PP-FPEND-2019.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

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