Laisa Elisha is from the Solomon Islands where she has been a secondary school teacher of geography, biology and social studies for five years. She has also held leadership roles as the head of department for Social Studies and a senior secondary teacher at her two previous schools.
Living in New Zealand is a new experience for Laisa who is enjoying the culture of the country. Laisa is married to a Papua New Guinean and they have one daughter.
About her research: In the Solomon Islands today, there is a growing concern that women are not fairly represented in the work force of government and non-government organisations particularly in schools organisations. In the education sector of the country, particularly in a school context (primary and secondary) more males hold principal positions than do women. For her research Laisa is interested to see what teachers working under female principals have to say about the leadership of women as principals. She believes there is a need to explore the perceptions that teachers have of women principals in the Solomon Islands. From other international studies conducted on the perceptions and attitudes of teachers towards female principals, they cite that principals’ leadership is a crucial factor towards the school performance in shaping the attitudes, beliefs and work behaviour of teachers as well.
For her research Laisa is interviewing nine participants (both male and female teachers) in four urban schools in Honiara the capital of Solomon Islands. These four schools are led by female principals.
Laisa says pursuing research enables her to study a subject of interest while developing her academic writing skills. Research insight, also gives her a better understanding of the existing problems and challenges back home and how best to solve them. Thus, ultimately this will help her home country.
Her goal is that her research will become a useful source for other students interested in researching women in educational leadership roles, aspiring women leaders, education authorities in the Solomon Islands and the Ministry of Education who are responsible for identifying, selecting and developing future educational leaders.
Why Waikato? “I would recommend Waikato since this university gives a chance for educational masters students to pursue research in their field of interest.” She adds there is also the opportunity for Masters graduates with good grades to pursue doctoral study in the future.
Scholarships/Study Awards received: NZAID scholarship.