Challenges and Strategies of Educational Leadership to Sustain the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) in a Malaysian Premier Public School

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Satinah Awang
Kenny Soon Lee Cheah
Yan Piaw Chua


The IBDP is known worldwide as a high-standard diploma programme that aims to cultivate students with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills of the 21st-century education. In the education management aspect, this programme requires extensive planning, organising, sound leadership, and monitoring of the schools’ systems to meet the standards set up by the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO). Due to the challenges that persist in each of the management functions, sustainability of the IBDP requires the exploration of both challenges and strategies from the perspective of leadership in relation to the context. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore and explain how educational leadership is practised to sustain the IBDP in a Malaysian premier public school. An in-depth qualitative approach was carried out to explore two major areas that consist of strategies and challenges, while semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants comprising of top-level leaders and experienced teachers in the public IB school. These interviewees were chosen due to their instrumental roles as pioneers and leaders since the establishment of the programme in the school. Data analysis through open-coding, axial coding, and selective coding revealed that top-level leaders and experienced teachers of various subjects face various internal and external challenges in maintaining the sustainability of IBDP, such as student-related challenges, teacher-related challenges, teaching and learning processes, external assessments, school facilities, financial problems, and human resource management. Findings also listed various strategies taken by the principal to sustain the IBDP in the Malaysian premier public school. For the purpose of transferability and implication to the context of IB in a Malaysian premier public school, future leaders who are taking over the helm of leadership in the organisation would need to learn from both failures and successes of strategies in relation to their internal and external challenges to continually sustain and thrive in the future.


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