Historical analysis of two contemporary issues at the International Community School of Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire: Local-hired and overseas-hired teacher relationships. Community perceptions of the United States Embassy at ICSA

Ronald Stephen Knapp, Florida International University


This study was a qualitative investigation to ascertain and describe two of the current issues at the International Community School of Abidjan, examine their historical bases, and analyze their impact on the school environment. Two issues emerged during the inquiry phase of this study: (1) the relationship between local-hired and overseas-hired teachers in light of the January 1994 devaluation which polarized the staff by negating a four-year salary scale that established equity, (2) the school community's wide variance in the perceived power that the U.S. Embassy has on school operations based on its role as ICSA's founding sponsor. A multiple studies approach was used in gathering data. An extensive examination of the school's archives was used to reconstruct an historical overview of ICSA. An initial questionnaire was distributed to teachers and administrators at an educational conference to determine the scope of the 1994 devaluation of the West and Central African CFA and its impact on school personnel in West African American-sponsored overseas schools (ASOS). Personal interviews were conducted with the school staff, administration, school board members, and relevant historical participants to determine the principal issues at ICSA at that time. The researcher, an overseas-hired teacher, also used participant observations to collect data. Findings based on these sources were used to analyze the two issues from an historical perspective and to form conclusions. Findings in this study pertaining to the events induced by the French and African governments' decision to implement a currency devaluation in January 1994 were presented in ex post-facto chronological narrative form to describe the events which transpired, describe the perception of school personnel involved in these events, examine the final resolution and interpret these events within a historical framework for analysis. The topic of the U.S. Embassy and its role at ICSA emerged inductively from open-ended personal interviews conducted over the course of a year. Contradictory perspectives were examined and researched for accuracy and cause. The results of this inquiry presented the U.S. Embassy role at ICSA from a two-sided perspective, examined the historical role of the Embassy, and presented means by which the role and responsibility of the U.S. Embassy could best be communicated to the school community. The final chapter provides specific actions for mediation of problems stemming from these issues, implications for administrators and teachers currently involved in overseas schools or considering the possibility, and suggestions for future inquiries. Examination of a two-tier salary scale for local-hired and overseas-hired teachers generated the following recommendations: movement towards a single salary scale when feasible, clearly stated personnel policies and full disclosure of benefits, a uniform certification standard, professional development programs and awareness of the impact of this issue on staff morale. Divergent perceptions and attitudes toward the role of the U.S. Embassy produced these recommendations: a view towards limiting the number of Americans on ASOS school boards, open school board meetings, selection of Embassy Administrative Officers who can educate school communities on the exact role of the Embassy, educating parents through the outreach activities that communicate American educational philosophy and involve all segments of the international community, and a firm effort on the part of the ASOS to establish the school's autonomy from special interests.

Subject Area

School administration|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Knapp, Ronald Stephen, "Historical analysis of two contemporary issues at the International Community School of Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire: Local-hired and overseas-hired teacher relationships. Community perceptions of the United States Embassy at ICSA" (1998). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI9901937.