An investigation into the impact of COVID-19 on school leadership in Dubai

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The COVID-19 pandemic was a historic global event, which impacted the education sector at all levels and directly affected more than 90% of students around the world (Al Darayseh 2020; UNESCO 2020 in Flack et al. 2021). Within the context of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the 8th of March 2020, every single school in Dubai was mandated to close by the government, and all pedagogical practices transitioned to an online, virtual environment (Abdelaziz & Elsheikh 2022). School leaders were caught in these chaotic circumstances and their leadership roles were increased exponentially as they were required to adapt school policies, protocols, and procedures in order to provide a safe, compliant, and satisfactory educational experience for their students (Harris & Jones 2020; Masoud & Bohra 2020 in Moussa 2021). In an attempt to gain an insight into their experiences, the aim of this small-scale research project was to explore the challenges that principals have encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic and the solutions they made to overcome these challenges. This was deemed significant because authors such as Alfalasi et al (2021) highlight the fact that very little research has been conducted specifically about this topic in Dubai, UAE; and the findings could be informative for future educational leaders in the region. In order to collect meaningful data, semi-structured interviews were conducted with school principals (Cohen, Manion & Morrison 2017); their responses were transcribed, and a thematic analysis of their comments led to several key findings, which are presented and discussed in this paper.
leadership, COVID-19, principal, challenges