School leaders’ perceptions of religion and spirituality in Bangladesh: leadership in English Medium Schools

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    Concerns with how religion is placed in education has garnered considerable attention in the past fifteen years, due in large part to heightened politics and social agendas to strengthen community cohesion. This paper addresses the need to better understand how school leaders are internalising such discourses on religion and spirituality. A qualitative case study of school leaders situated in English Medium Schools in Bangladesh, involved observations across five schools and semi-structured interviews with 54 participants. Theoretically informed thematic analysis revealed that while some school leaders consider religion and spirituality to be connected and integral to their leadership practice, others were equally firm in their perceptions that religion is an entirely personal practice separate from professional work. These contradictory perceptions are discussed in relation to local and global tensions on religion and secularity. The paper makes an empirical contribution to considerations of religion and spirituality within school leadership.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-318
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2022


    • Educational leadership
    • critical spirituality
    • globalisation
    • English medium schools
    • Bangladesh
    • case study

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