Southern Filipino school leaders and religious diversity: a typology

Melanie Carol Brooks (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, Australia)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Publication date: 12 June 2017



The purpose of this paper is to explore how school principals in Southern Philippines approached issues related to religious diversity because of its long history of ethno-religious conflict. Religion has particular importance in the field of education, since how and in what ways religion is included in formal and non-formal curricula can have large bearing on student learning and engagement.


Data for this exploratory qualitative case study were collected over five months in Cagayan de Oro, located in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. The interview sample included 42 principals. School site observations took place in 23 public schools. Data were analyzed and sorted using an inductive and iterative process that thematically coded the data that focused broadly on leadership and religiosity.


The presentation of findings is organized by leadership typologies that emerged through the analysis of the data. Findings suggested that school leaders approached religious diversity in one of five ways, namely, as evangelical leaders, devotional leaders, separational leaders, respectful leaders, or uninformed leaders.


This study is a unique contribution to understanding how principal spirituality informs leadership, especially in the non-western cultural contexts where there is need for a localized leadership inquiry.



Brooks, M.C. (2017), "Southern Filipino school leaders and religious diversity: a typology", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 646-660.

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