Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr L.H. King

Second Advisor

Dr N.H. Hyde

Third Advisor

Dr Sybe Jongling


The main aims of this study were to investigate and identify the perceived professional development needs of the school principals in Tonga in relation to the current situation. The inquiry was designed to provide a description of the understanding and perceptions which the principals and educators held concerning: I. The familiarity of principals and educators with the professional development issues and provisions made for the professional development of school principals . 2. The perceived professional development and training needs of school principals. 3. The extent to which the current provisions offered for professional development of school principals meet the needs of the principals. Data sources included senior personnel from the Tonga Government, Tonga Ministry of Education, representatives of various school systems, ten primary school principals and ten secondary school principals; and documents relating to the work of principals in schools. Interviews and questionnaire techniques were used for data collection. The Interview data were analyses using Helder's (1958) attributional analysis methods and Morris, Fitz-Gibbon's (1978) content analysis methods. The questionnaire data were coded, collated and analysed using the SAS PC+ WRITE computer package. The findings were similar In many ways to the findings of certain. Australian studies, namely, Chapman's (1986) study of Victorian primary school principals, Harvey's (1987) study of the newly appointed principals In Western Australia. Hyde’s (1988) study of the principals In remote area schools In Western Australia. The study found that the needs for professional development among the school principals in Tonga were related to knowledge and skills in four broad areas, namely: I. Management of the Human Resources at the School Level 2. Management of the Curriculum 3. Management of the School's Physical Resources 4. Leadership and Entrepreneurial ship of Human Resources both Internally and within the School's External Environment From these, and In consideration of the current changes In the Tonga education system these findings confirmed that professional development is context bound and a complicated process which occurs In different contexts and for different purposes. In this regard one, emphasis in the determination of professional development needs of principals appears, to be shifting from a central level to the people most directly involved in that process, the principals themselves. The evidence from this study suggested that, for the issues of professional development of principals to be addressed properly, there must be a move away from the notion of principals and educators as master implementers of policies and programmes to a broader perception wherein leadership Is a primary focus.