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Resource Library

School leadership is a critical lever in strengthening education systems, yet much remains to be studied, especially in developing countries.  The resources listed below highlight our research and thinking that has shaped our work. 

PULS Survey Report, 2022

(Promoting Understanding of Leadership in Schools) 

In August 2022, Global School Leaders (GSL) conducted our third annual pulse survey,
Promoting Understanding of Leadership in Schools (PULS) with a total respondents of 2,646
school leaders from 11 countries.

The Promoting Understanding of Leadership in Schools (PULS) Survey aims to inform policy- and decision-makers about the on-the-ground reality of and the support needed by school leaders in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Annual Pulse Survey Report, 2021

In July 2021, Global School Leaders (GSL) completed its second Annual Pulse Survey. A total of 11,667 educators from 24 countries self-selected to participate in the survey. The survey aims to identify what educators find to be the most pressing issues and what support they need, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing impact on education. This report focuses on the analysis of responses from 3,763 school leaders. 

End Of Year SL Survey Report (June, 2021)


Despite the enormity of the role of school leaders in education systems, school leadership remains underutilized and under-researched. We set out to understand how leaders are performing on some of the core actions that empirical research suggests are required to improve school quality and student learning.

Kanya Baseline Report

The ​Kanya Pilot Program was launched in November 2020 by Global School Leaders (GSL) along with our Indian and Kenyan partners, Alokit and Dignitas respectively, to train 224 government school heads that lead over 4,000 teachers and serve over 93,000 girl students. ​Kanya​ aims to prepare school leaders on gender-inclusive approaches to school re-enrolment and continued education of girl students.

Media featuring GSL

How Teacher Expectations Empower Student Learning

Brookings Feature: Sameer Sampat and Niharika Gupta discuss teachers' perception that students from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot learn.

Transforming the Education Workforce and COVID-19: Leadership

An Education Workforce Initiative brief from the Education Commission

3 Recommendations to Support School Leaders During the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Top 20 of 2020 blog for the Global Partnership for Education

The New Normal: Online Professional Development for School Leaders

An article in the WISE Special Edition e-book, "Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined"

Why invest in School Leadership (Devex)

We discuss why the selection, training, and accountability of school leaders is a key reform measure to improve education systems in developing countries (Oct., 2017)

Global School Leadership Ecosystem

In order to accelerate progress toward the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), it is vital to create global networks, particularly including countries from the Global South, that share learning across borders (Nov., 2017)

National Education Policy: Train principals to lead the change (Deccan Herald)

A call for India’s Draft National Education Policy to have a specific focus on school leaders (June 2019)

New research holds lessons in school leadership for the global south

A reflection on the need for investment in leadership in the education sector, especially for school leaders in the Global South. (Sept 2019)

Evidence Review Report 2020

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This report is a review of the empirical research done on school leadership in the Global South. The questions it seeks to address are:

  • Is strong school leadership important for improving student outcomes in the Global South?

  • What is the current status of school leaders in education systems?

  • What do we know about how to improve school leadership quality?

Impact Report 2019

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We gathered and analyzed information from our partner organizations’ programs in India, Indonesia, Kenya and Malaysia regarding their impact on school leaders, teachers and students, and captured their learnings about effective professional development for school leaders.  This is preliminary research, and there is a long way to go in establishing an expansive knowledge base on this issue. Our hope is that this report sparks a conversation within the education community about investing in school leaders.

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