Purpose – The purpose of this research is to look at the development of schools in their communities and the tension within it. Existing theories in social development and school administration suggest that community is a place where individuals construct identity, and that a school needs to form partnerships with its community, so that together, they work to improve educational effectiveness. However, current education policies have forced schools to compete among each other for survival in the community. Design/methodology/approach – The case study method is employed, and the sample is two subsidized schools in Hong Kong, one primary and one secondary. Findings – Findings in the present study suggest that there exists a tension between schools and their community. Pressure to survive has forced schools to try various means to promote their image in order to attract students. This pressure has also forced schools to change from their detached attitude towards the community, to a concern about how to develop productive relations with it. Research limitations/implications – This paper provides a conceptual framework for the sustainable development of schools. Practical implications – School administration needs to give balanced attention to two needs – an internal need for program differentiation and an external need for integration into the larger community. These two needs can be mutually enhancing. Originality/value – This paper provides empirical evidence to a framework of school development which involves the external community as a critical factor.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 22, 2007
Keywords: Schools; Community relations; Community development; Hong Kong