Analysis Of Official Documents Regarding The Role Of Inspectors- The Israeli Case

Abstract

School inspectors around the world are facing increasing demands for leadership and facing economic challenges as well as changes in the political climate as a result of the emergence of new trends and reforms.  Inspectors must meet existing requirements while simultaneously dealing with future demands.The expectation is that school inspectors will effectively manage the school system and at the same time act as strong teaching leaders, people with much knowledge about the best teaching practices and which practices are capable of promoting significant change in schools. Hence the necessity of adjusting their role to the new reality. In Israel, the historical definition of the role of the inspector has been legislated as, inspector procedures in 1956. In 1996, an amendment was made to that law, which created a large number of duties for the inspector and created a significant gap between the tasks imposed on the inspector and the Law. Discussions about the roleof inspector in Israel have been taking place in the education system since the establishment of the state. But no decision was reached regarding the redefinition of the role. This article presents a perspective which criticizes the role of the educational inspector in Israel as perceived in the analysis of five official documents. This serves as the basis of the doctoral thesis of the researcher: Inspector's role in leading education staff towards promoting school educational policy and values.

Keywords: Inspector's roleEducational Leadershipeducational policy

Introduction

In recent years, the role of inspectors has been discussed around the world and in Israel. Recognition that inspectors have become a significant player in implementing educational policies creates many expectations about their influence on school principals and achieving education system aims. Inspectors who constitute part of educational leadership must lead and implement changes being undergone by the education system. Roles such as training principals, supporting core teaching, and training role-holders have been added to the regulatory role of inspectors (Shaul & Barak, 2016).

The purpose of the article is to investigate the definition of the functions of the overall school inspector in Israel as perceived by official documents of organizations in the State of Israel. The five documents selected to analyze the school inspector's role are accessible documents published by official organizations in the country relating to the role of the General Inspector in Education.

1. Supervision Regulations 1956- The functions of the school inspector were defined in the State Education Regulations (Supervision Procedures) 1956 by law.

2. The Supervision of Schools Law 1996- amending the Law, which detailed the roles of the school inspector. (Ministry of Education, 1996).

3. The role of the General Inspector in the "New Horizon" reform 2009 (Ministry of Education, 2009).

4. Recommendations to the Minister of Education, Mandel School of Leadership, 2013.( Mofet Institute, 2013).

5. The State Comptroller's Report 2017.

This article presents a critical analysis of the functions of the school inspector as they appear in the above documents.

Problem Statement

This article presents a critical analysis of the functions of the school inspector as they appear in the above documents.

Research Questions

To examine the inspectors’ role in leading the educational Policy of principals and educational staff, using the official documents of Israel

Purpose of the Study

This article presents a critical analysis of the functions of the school inspector as they appear in the above documents.

Theoretical Background- Changes in educational systems

Education systems around the world have undergone significant changes over the last hundred years. They grew, developed, and changed, and have undergone a process of democratization of education (Zohar, 2012). The systems are trying to improve the quality of the schools (Björk, Johansson, & Bredeson, 2014; Paz, 2014).

The changes affect the educational goals in various parts of the world. Therefore, there is a need to rethink the goals of education and to examine the need for changes in the components that affect the organization at the systemic level, such as: changes in positions and changes in the training of teaching staff. At the school level, changes are required in resource pooling, re-organization of learning, and measurement and evaluation processes.

Zohar (2012) notes that one of the essential changes is in defining the roles of educational leaders.

School inspector's role in education

Many educational systems around the world, including those in Israel, have led changes in recent years to the definition of the overall school inspector's role and his status as an educational leader. The purpose of the changes is to equip the school inspector with tools that will enable him to support the professional-pedagogical development of the managers under his responsibility (Paz, 2014).

In recent years, policymakers have become increasingly aware of the importance and contribution of school inspectors to achieving the goals of the education system, and the result is a change in the role of the school inspectors. These changes are reflected in the strengthening of the partnership between the school inspector and the school principal, the guidance and support of the school inspector in pedagogic leadership in the schools, and the activities that school inspectors are not necessarily used to or trained in, such as direct support for core teaching and learning and responsibility for the professional development of the principals.

Since school inspectors are still required to carry out regulatory actions, their work becomes complex, and requires broad and up-to-date knowledge and possession of more varied skills than in the past (Shaul & Barak, 2016). The role of the school inspector has become complex and characterized by many contradictions. The school inspector deals with inspection and evaluation, and at the same time is responsible for the professional development and accompaniment of the people he visits and evaluates (Ben-Asher, 2013; Day & Smethem, 2009).

The role of the General Inspector in Israel

The role of inspectors in Israel was first defined as part of the Education Act in the Government Education Regulations Ministry of Education in 1956. There, clear roles were defined to represent the Ministry of Education's educational policy in supervision, evaluation and inspection - a role that is primarily regulatory. Inspectors must be people who represent the Ministry of Education to principals and local authorities, confirming implementation of the Ministry's educational policies and instructions such as: curricula, standard hours and more; evaluating and inspecting institutions and providing feedback on the quality of management, extent of pupils' success, educational climate at institutions and more; helping in developmental processes and guiding principals; participating in decision making with regard to the role of principals and evaluating teachers at principals' request (Ministry of Education, 1956).

Since the school inspector's functions were defined, the education system has expanded and become more complex. Changes such as decentralizing powers to local authorities, autonomy for school principals, an increase in the number of players operating in the field of education as well as reforms in teaching and learning processes have all occurred in the system. However, the school inspector's job was not redefined or changed in accordance with the changes (State Comptroller Report, 2017).

The Education Ministry does not have a document that regulates the entire school inspectory doctrine and serves as a clear framework for activity for school inspectors. This situation makes it difficult for school inspectors to be familiar with all the knowledge, expectations and skills required of them and to act accordingly, and may even cause contradictions and duplication(State Comptroller, 2017).

In addition, the relationship between the head office and the school inspectors are not structured and no single entity has been determined as an integrator acting directly with the school inspector. This situation creates a lack of coordination among the various units regarding the provision of instructions to the school inspector. The school inspector finds it difficult to fulfill his role in the school efficiently and in accordance with expectations of him (Paz, 2014).

Research Methods

In the qualitative study, five documents of official organizations were studied in order to analyze the role of the general school inspector in Israel. These documents were published by official organizations in the country and relate to the role of the general school inspector in education. The documents are written text and were studied using content analysis. The concept "text" has many meanings and is an uninterrupted tool for measuring data based on records from various sources (Schwandt, 2007).

The researcher studied the documents using content analysis - a method of research that deals with texts rather than people. In actuality, questions are asked of the text, like other methods of collecting information. Here, too, there is a need to formulate a hypothesis that stems from the theoretical material. It is important to define the unit of analysis (Shkedi, 2011).

Later the content analysis was divided into categories - a process of coding. The coding compels the researcher to examine the meanings and to link texts (Ryan & Bernad, 2000). In addition, there was a process of finding subjects - themes.Subjects- themes in the text that are theoretical structures were identified before, during, and after the selection of data (Shkedi, 2011).

Research process Data analysis

The initial analysis included a division of topics that constituted the components of the role of the school inspector, into categories, which were given names, and comprised the purposes of the school inspector's role. All this was done after careful examination of the data provided by the five documents analyzed (Shkedi, 2011).

The mapping analysis focused on examining the relationships and contexts between the categories found. This enabled a thorough and focused analysis of the information from the documents. During the analysis, information items were formulated to create a coherent explanation of several main categories, which were divided into subcategories (Shkedi, 2011).

At the end of the in-depth analysis of the above stages, four themes were defined according to the main categories that were identified:

A) Pedagogical development; B) organization and management; C) feedback, monitoring, control and evaluation; D) Development of human resources. Such schematic representation enables us to demonstrate the set of relationships between the themes (Shkedi, 2003).

Table 1 below presents the category schema of the research findings regarding the role objectives of the school inspector in accordance with the role components of the five analyzed documents.

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

Findings

An analysis of the data shows that it is very difficult to define the role of the school inspector from among the five documents analyzed. It is clear that there is a multiplicity of roles for the school inspector in all the documents, and the official definition of the job does not allow for efficient performance in practice. Whilst looking at the many roles of the school inspector. The question arises, what is the real focus in the work of the school inspector?

The components of the role of the school inspector, in relation to the objectives of the position, with regards to the findings of the studyare presented below according to the four themes found.

The components of the role of the school inspector (Themes)

Pedagogical development: The school inspector is responsible for improving teaching processes, learning and evaluation in schools in order to promote the improvement of schools and to bring innovation and entrepreneurship into the system. The school inspector serves as a professional guide for the school principal. He must nurture the professional ability of the principal through professional development processes and learning of knowledge and skills. This component also includes the process of improving the pedagogical knowledge of the school.

Organization and Management: This field of activity relates to the implementation of the Ministry's policy, the formulation and implementation of school policy, the collection and optimal utilization of resources, while constantly improving work processes at the school. In addition, the school inspector has the responsibility for recruitment and placement of teachers and principals and to examine the course of their ongoing work in the school.

The school inspector is in a position where it is possible, and even obligatory, to coordinate between the various entities, manage resources, and ensure that they are directed according to the ministry's policy and local needs (Specter-Lieberman, Wolfensohn-Shwiki, & Horowitz, 2007).

School inspectors are perceived as leaders of educational leadership and part of their role is to implement a new ministry policy during periods of change and reform (Avidov-Ungar & Reingold, 2016).

The school inspector is authorized to work with the school's people and supervise the processes. In this context, the school inspector examines the hour's allotment, the distribution of teaching hours and the role and operating license for schools.

Feedback, Control and evaluation: This characteristic of the school inspector's role is expressed on two levels: firstly, pedagogical and administrative control. In this framework, the school inspector examines and supervises what is happening in the school in the aspectof learning and teaching, evaluation of projects, educational initiatives and school climate. Secondly, supervising the quality of school management. The school inspector assesses the principal's performance in terms of promoting school management processes, promoting school achievements and fostering climate (Ben Asher, 2013; Day & Smethem, 2009).

Development of human resources (support and accompaniment): For the school principal, the school inspector acts as a professional guide. He must develop the professional abilities of the principal and his staff through his training. The school inspector supports and accompanies school principals who are often in professional isolation. He assists school principals in coping with work pressures, strengthening personal and professional identity, and providing feedback and support. In addition, the school inspector is responsible for leading and empowering the middle leadership in the school (Shaul & Barak, 2016).

The findings of this study indicate a multiplicity of functions for the school inspector. The complexity of his job and the great variety of partners for performance creates a multiplicity of roles and heavy workloads (DeKruyf &Pehrsson, 2011; Paz, 2014). It is clear that the dominant and predominant element is the bureaucratic component of the role-Organization and management. It creates a load of actions that the school inspector must perform and causes the other components of the job to remain unanswered due to lack of time.

These findings reinforce the view that the school inspector's role should be redefined and adjusted between the regulatory role and leadership roles. This is necessary for the school inspectors educational leadership to be effective and to have a good influence on the school leadership, leading to the necessary changes in the education system.

Conclusion

A review of the documents discussing the role of the school inspector from 1956 shows that over the past six decades there have been attempts to define the school inspector's role and adapt it to changing realities. A comparison of the school inspector's job description in the 1956 document and the 1996 document shows a downward trend in administrative roles. At the same time, it is evident that in the later documents, there is a trend of expansion in the role of the דupervisor in the field of educational leadership, a trend which has increased the role of the school inspector. Hence, although the documents show a trend and desire to lead the school inspector to the status of educational leaders, in practice there is no reduction of roles. On the contrary, the school inspector is obliged to carry out all regulatory tasks, on which he is measured, and there is no time left to perform the other functions required in the new and changing reality of the education system. This trend was referred to in a criticism of the system by the State Comptroller in a report published in 2017 (State Comptroller, 2017).

It seems that the contradictory trends in the ministry's policy, between the need for the role of the school inspector in general and the need for a substantive change in the definition of his functions, cause a feeling of discomfort. In today's reality, the school inspectors are still acting by law according to the 1956 job definition. Over the years, considerable efforts have been made to redefine the school inspectory functions; none of the descriptions were accepted and the recommendations of the various committees that were active were never implemented (Specter-Lieberman, Wolfensohn-Shwiki, & Horowitz, 2007). Therefore, there is no single definition of the role of the school inspector and this lack of clarity affects the role and expectations of the school inspector in the field.

Summary

From the findings of the analysis of the documents, questions arise about the functions of the school inspector that reflect the basicquestions facing the education system. Should the powers and responsibilities of the inspector be reduced? Is the emphasis on the role administrative or pedagogical? Is there a need for a fundamental change in the way education is regulated in Israel?

The vague and contradictory policy of the Ministry of Education in Israel regarding the role and status of the school inspectors has a significant contribution to their difficulty in fulfilling their duties. On the one hand, they talk about the importance of their work and the enormous responsibility placed on them, and on the other hand, the definition of the job has not changed since 1956 (Glick, 2008).

At a time when Israel and the world are understanding that school leadership must be nurtured, strengthened and further developed the need for a clear definition of the role of the school inspector is essential (Southworth, 2009).

References

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Publication Date

25 June 2019

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Future Academy

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63

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Teacher, teacher training, teaching skills, teaching techniques, special education, children with special needs

Cite this article as:

Ilona*, S. (2019). Analysis Of Official Documents Regarding The Role Of Inspectors- The Israeli Case. In V. Chis, & I. Albulescu (Eds.), Education, Reflection, Development – ERD 2018, vol 63. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 123-130). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.06.16