The clergy and Catholic educational leadership in Nigeria: The case of Awka diocese

Augustine Amamchukwu Okochi, Fordham University


Education is a very important aspect of the mission of the Catholic Church, and the Catholic school is the arena where the church works to realize its educational vision of forming young people to face the challenges of life. The quality and effectiveness of the educational leadership of Catholic schools therefore, is a matter of grave concern to the church. The parish priest is at the heart of educational leadership of Catholic schools located within his parish. This study examined the educational leadership practices of parish priests who run Catholic schools in the Catholic diocese of Awka, Nigeria. The research aimed at discovering the priests' comprehension of the role of parish priests in Catholic schools, the leadership strategies they employ in generating funds for the running of the schools, maintaining the Catholic identity of the schools and recruitment, motivation and professional development of staff. Using qualitative research methodology of purposeful sampling and key informant interviews, this researcher reached the conclusion that transformational leadership strategies like persuasion, striving for all to have a shared vision, good communication, working to gain the trust and loyalty of staff and students, and striving to inspire by personal example, are valued and deployed by the parish priests in their leadership of Catholic schools. The study also concluded that the parish priests of Awka diocese accept and make efforts to employ collaborative leadership practices in the leadership of Catholic schools under their care. Educating the young, they believe, must be the joint effort of the parents, the church, the teachers, the government and the community, hence the need to work closely together for the benefit of the students and pupils of the Catholic schools under their care. A further conclusion of the study is that the clergy educational leaders of Awka diocese recognize that they are well prepared for parish leadership right out of the seminaries, but believe that they are inadequately prepared for Catholic school administration which most engage in a few years after ordination when they become parish priests. They therefore advocate the inclusion of educational administration in the seminaries' formation programs.

Subject Area

Clerical studies|School administration

Recommended Citation

Okochi, Augustine Amamchukwu, "The clergy and Catholic educational leadership in Nigeria: The case of Awka diocese" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361373.