Innovation Efforts in Education and School Administration: Views of Turkish School Administrators

Dr., Gaziosmanpasa University.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2016.63.14


Problem Statement: In the current information era, nearly all organizations make efforts to make innovations in the fields of information, communication, technology, etc. Educational organizations are no exception to this trend. Moreover, it can be argued that educational institutions make a particular effort to rapidly keep pace with change. In recent years, the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) has demonstrated efforts to actualize many innovations in Turkey. However, these innovation efforts have been intensely criticized by students, parents, teachers, and even educational administrators. Many implementations are removed from the system after a few years or a shorter period, and subsequent implementations that again only last for a few years are introduced to replace them. Some implementations that require very radical changes are incomprehensible to teachers and administrators and thus are impossible to spread. In-service education designed to actualize the innovation efforts have also been exposed to criticism in terms of their quality.

Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this research is to determine the opinions of school administrators about the innovation efforts of MoNE in Turkey that have gradually increased over recent years.

Method: This research used qualitative methods, and data were collected through the form of semi-structured interview. The interviews were conducted with 25 school administrators working in elementary, secondary and high schools. The data were analyzed by content analysis.

Findings and Results: According to the findings, school administrators believe MoNE doesn’t consider the criteria of relative advantage to old implementation and the compatibility of new implementation to the Turkish education system when it puts innovation efforts into practice. Moreover, the participants specify that the innovation efforts aren’t sufficiently tested and sufficient notification or training has not been conducted in relation to these issues. While the participants have found the performances of school administrators in actualizing the innovation efforts sufficient, they specify that the innovation decisions should be made via wide-based participation in order for MoNE’s innovation efforts’ success.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Consequently, school administrators have negative opinions about the manner in which innovation implementations by MoNE are realized. MoNE should consider the compatibility of the innovation efforts with the existing education system, and it should improve its pilot studies. For the innovation to spread, innovation decisions should first be made via extensive participation, and in-service training relevant to innovations should be made more suitable for its purpose.

Keywords: Turkish educational system, educational administration, school administration, innovation in education.