Research Article: 2018 Vol: 22 Issue: 2
Sedem Nunyuia Amedome, Ho Technical University
Leadership school climate, Study population, Leadership style.
Background to the Study
All over the world, educating a nation remains the most vital strategy for the development of the society throughout the developing world (Aikaman & Unterhalter, 2005). Studies have shown that the human resource of a country ultimately determines the pace of its economic and social development and not it’s natural or capital resources. Although several social institutions, such as the home, the church and the mass media, engage in the socialization process at various levels, according to Nsubuga (2003), the most important institutional set-up for developing human capital is the formal education system of primary, secondary, and tertiary training (Nsubuga, 2003). The crucial role of formal education to developing human resources for personal fulfilment, social and economic advancement cannot be overemphasized. Stressing this point, Aboagye (2002), said that “the ultimate goals of the Ghanaian educational system are the passing on of the cultural values and practices of a society to the younger generation to ensure cultural continuity, and preparing them for useful roles in society”. The realization of these goals of education however, depends extensively on the leadership structures, styles and subsequently, the climate surrounding the institutions that provide them.
The organizational structure of Senior High schools in Ghana has the headmaster/Headmistress as its leader who directs the actions and opinions of teachers and students. How well a school performs therefore, depends to a large extent, on the leadership. The effectiveness of these leadership styles, may impact positively or otherwise on the climate of the school and students’ performance (Yıldız et al., 2014). Positive school climate requires leadership roles that bother on accountability by creating and sustaining a competitive school, empowering others to make significant decisions, providing instructional leadership and developing and executing strategic plans. Successful leaders should be proactive in promoting school quality, equity and social justice. Leadership style has so much potential influence on institutions or organizations that it should be considered seriously in all aspects of administrative behaviour. This study therefore, seeks to examine the leadership style and the potential influence on the climate of selected Senior High Schools in the Hohoe Municipality in the Volta Region of Ghana.
Statement of the Problem
Ineffectiveness of Senior High Schools in Ghana has been attributed to several factors which include teachers, parents, socio-economic and school managers’ leadership style. Studies have shown that the leadership style of Headmasters/Headmistresses and management influence school climate tremendously (Mwape, 2012). Many high school Heads do not provide instructional leadership, discriminate among teachers and do not involve their subordinates in day-to-day administrative duties and as a result do a lot of things themselves. The effects of such leadership behaviours are detrimental.
To enhance the capabilities and the leadership skills of heads of second-cycle schools in Ghana, various institutions and organizations such as the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary School (CHASS) have often conducted training and capacity building workshops. In spite of all these efforts it has been observed that most schools’ climate is still not conducive and teachers’ morale waning. Such a situation is undesirable bearing in mind that school climate plays an important role in enhancing teacher performance, promotion of higher morale and improvement of student achievement (Mwape, 2012). Also it is observed that, the climate in recent times has not been congenial resulting in under-performance of students in the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), lukewarm attitude of teachers towards work, and high rate of indiscipline among both staff and students. The question of interest then is what might have been the cause of these negative attitudes? Hence, this study was designed to investigate the heads and management leadership and their influence on the schools’ climate.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of leadership on school climate in selected senior high schools in Hohoe municipality.
The specific objectives of this study were to:
(1) To identify the dominant leadership styles exhibited by the heads in the selected senior high schools.
(2) Find out how teachers perceived the leadership style of the heads in the selected senior high schools.
(3) Evaluate the organization climate of the selected senior high schools.
(4) Establish the relationship between leadership styles and school climate.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.
(1) What is the dominant leadership style exhibited by the heads in the selected senior high schools?
(2) How do teachers perceive the leadership style of the heads in the selected senior high schools?
(3) What type of organizational school climate is present in the selected senior high schools?
(4) What is relationship between the leadership styles employed by the heads and the school climate?
The Concept of Leadership
Leadership is a word that is broadly utilized as a part of ordinary life and in business yet which fits fluctuated definitions. However, majority of the definitions concur that leadership is an affecting procedure where an individual alluded to as the manager has the capacity to impact a team of individuals to accomplish common goals. In organizations leadership is the procedure of impacting the conduct of people or team towards the accomplishment of institutional objectives, (Furnham, 1997). Further, according to Kotter (1990), leadership is an arrangement of procedures that makes organizations in any case or adjusts them to essentially evolving circumstance.
The study of school climate in the Western world dates back in history. More than 100 years back, Perry (1908) was the first educationist to unequivocally expound on how school atmosphere influences the teaching and learning process of students and teachers as a whole. It is significant that empirically grounded school atmosphere study started in the 1950s, when Hapin and Croft (1963), started a convention of systemically researching the effect of school atmosphere on student learning and advancement. Each school has an atmosphere that is different from other schools and influences conduct and sentiments of teachers and learners for that school (Sergiovanni and starratt, 1988). There is no one accepted definition of school climate. Experts and analysts utilize a scope of terms, for example, environment, sentiments, tone, setting, or milieu of the school (Freiberg, 1999). Notwithstanding, the National School Climate Council (2007), characterizes school climate as "standards, qualities, and desires that bolster individuals feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe". School climate is in this manner a result of the interpersonal connections among learners, families, teachers, and administrators.
Additionally, Spencer et al. (1998), characterized school climate as the atmosphere of the work environment, including a mind boggling blend of standards, qualities, desires, policies and systems that impact individual and group patterns of conduct. Also, Freiberg and Stein (1999), characterizes school climate as “the complete self” of a school; the component of a school that inspires learners, teachers and the heads to adore the school and yearning to be in school always.
From the different definitions, school climate can be characterized as the prevalent teaching and learning environment in the school which is achieved by the association between the head and teachers, among teachers and students and between the head and students and this is mostly initiated by the head and influences the way teachers and pupils perform their obligations in the school. Again a lot of researches have been carried out on organizational school climate. For example Halpin and Croft (1963), figures out that it is conduct of the head, which substantially sets an atmosphere for school.
Relationship between Leadership Styles and School Climates
According to Chen (1995), institutional responsibility is profoundly impacted by the authority style of directors. The authority style of a supervisor has the capacity to influence his or her adherents' dedication which is identified with his or her administrations, state of mind, energy, and readiness to work. A school without a headmaster’s/Headmistress’ administration is not able to change input assets into upper hand. It is along these lines that leadership style of a school leader has a close connection to the advancement of school atmosphere.
Bass (1985), who came out with the transformational theory of leadership describes the manager's contribution in changing the attitude of the followers to build their dedication in the organization. This leadership style focuses more on relation at work that is closely associated with the genuine behaviour and mentality of the manager. Bass (1985), states that in this style, the leader shows empathy towards the workers or followers, exercises less supervision and encourages employees participation. Sergiovanni (1999) and Wilmore and Thomas (2002), affirm that transformational leaders share power with subordinates instead of been a dictator. Hence, this management style is intended to empower subordinates. Owens (1998), indicated that the salient part of the heads' leadership is enabling teachers to build up a framework for shaping the vision of the school and showing the significance of its achievement.
This theory applies to this study in that the researcher seeks a harmony between achievement of school goals and objectives and individual needs of teachers and students. Furthermore, this leadership style motivates teachers and students to see the school as a safe and secure place where they feel important and wanted and are committed to working towards the achievement of the institutional goals.
The leadership styles employ by the heads which is the independent variables will to a large extent affect the attitude of teachers and students, their morale, interpersonal relationships, achievement of school goals and objectives. The school heads, who adopts leadership style that creates vision which workers aspire to be, allows for teachers and students participation, shared vision and objectives and allows contribution from teachers and students influence creation of positive school climate.
Conceptual Framework of the Study
But the heads who adopts a leadership style that creates fear and suspicion among the teachers and students or uses punishment and command influences of negative school climate. The teachers and the students will view the school as unsafe and unwanted and they are likely not to be committed to the attainment of school aims and targets. Therefore for this study, democratic and transformational leadership styles were associated with open school climates which creates positive school climate while laissez-faire, autocratic and transactional leadership styles were associated with closed and controlled climates which also creates negative school climate.
The study was conducted using descriptive survey method. The study focused on heads and teachers of selected Senior High Schools in the Hohoe Municipality in the Volta Region of Ghana.
Sources of Data
The study made use of primary data and secondary data. The primary sources of data were collected from the questionnaires that were administered to respondents of the selected schools.
The study made use of both published and unpublished materials on leadership and school climate in general from journals, books, internet and articles as much as possible.
Study Population and Sampling
The population of this study was one hundred and fifty seven (157) teachers of the three selected Senior High Schools in the Hohoe Municipality in the Volta Region of Ghana.
This study adopted the simple random sampling to select three Senior High Schools. In this technique, each school in the municipality had an equal chance of being selected for the study. Simple random sampling was used because it is the easiest way of assembling the sample. It also gives a fair representation in terms of selecting a sample from a given population since every individual is granted equal opportunity in the selection process (Explorable.com 2008-2015).
One hundred teachers (100) from the three schools were selected as the sample size for the study. In selecting number of respondents in each of the schools, the proportionate sampling was adopted. Proportionate Sampling strategy is often used when the population is made up of several subgroups that are vastly different in number. For this study, the number of participants from each of the schools was determined by their number relative to the entire population (http://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition). There were seventy three (73) teachers in Hohoe E.P. Senior High School representing 46% of the study population, forty five teachers in the St. Mary’s Seminary Senior High school representing 29% of the population and thirty nine teachers in Akpafu Senior High Technical School representing 25% of the population. In selecting the respondents, the simple random sampling was used to select 46, 29 and 25 teachers from Hohoe E.P. Senior High School, St. Mary’s Seminary Senior High school and Akpafu Senior High Technical School respectively. Table 1 displays sample distribution of the selected schools:
|List of Schools, Population of Teachers and Sample Size|
|St. Mary’s Sem. SHS||73||29|
|Hohoe EP SHS||45||46|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Data Collection Tools
In gathering data, the main tools used were questionnaires adapted for the purpose of this study. Two different questionnaires were used. The Leadership Styles Survey questionnaire developed by Georgia’s Leadership Institute for School Improvement and Organizational Climate Descriptive Questionnaire-Rutgers Elementary (OCDQ-RE) also developed by Wayne K. Hoy were administered to the teachers to appraise the heads leadership styles and to assess the school climate respectively. The leadership Styles Survey Questionnaire was used to collect data from teachers on the leadership styles of the heads of the selected schools and the Organizational Climate Descriptive Questionnaire (OCDQ-RE) was also used to collect data from selected teachers on the types of school climate that existed in the selected schools with emphasis on teacher and head relationship. The questionnaires consisted of closed and opened ended questions derived from the research questions and the purpose of the study. The questionnaire was made up of three sections. Section A was the personal information of the respondent and sections B and C are questionnaires on leadership styles and school climate respectively. The respondents were required to circle a preferred choice for each item directed by instructions in these sections.
The completed questionnaires were checked for accuracy as part of the preparation for analysis. The data was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 19.0 version. Frequency and percentages as well as correlations were the statistical tools used. The analysis was presented in the form of frequency distribution tables and percentages.
This study investigates the impact of leadership on school climate. The objectives of the study were to identify the dominant leadership styles exhibited by heads of selected Senior High Schools, find out how teachers perceive the leadership styles of their heads, to evaluate the organizational climate in the selected schools and to establish the relationship between leadership styles and schools climate.
This chapter presents the analysis of data collected to answer the research questions. The chapter outlined the characteristics of the sample used for the study and the evidence to the research questions.
A total of 93 respondents completely completed the questionnaire and thus was used in the analysis. The sex distribution analysis revealed that there are more (87.1%) males than females (12.9%) and regarding age distribution, the results showed that majority (64.5%) were between the ages of 31-40 years, while between 41-50 years represented 20.4% of the data, those below 30 years and those in the retirement brackets were 10.8% and 4.3% respectively. The results further revealed that the working experiences of the respondents. The analysis revealed that majority had been working for 6-10 years (38.7%) and 11-15 years (37.6%). Others have been working less than 5 years (9.7%) while about 1% had been working for periods ranging from 21-25 years. The highest academic qualification of the participants included First degree and Diploma/Higher National Diploma. Individuals with First degree represented 93.5% of the sample while the other qualification made up the difference. See Table 2a.
|Years of teaching|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Participating Schools and Additional Responsibilities of Staff
The sample was drawn from the Evangelical Presbyterian Senior High School, Hohoe, St. Mary’s Seminary and Senior High School, Lolobi and Akpafu Senior High School, Akpafu. The participants from Evangelical Presbyterian Senior High represented 46.2% of the sample and form the majority while St. Mary’s represented 29.0% and Akpafu Senior High 24.7%. The details are presented in Table 2b.
|Hohoe E.P SHS||43||46.2|
|St. Mary's Serminary SHS||27||29.0|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Regarding the additional responsibilities of the teachers, the analysis revealed 53 respondents perform additional roles such as Form Masters, Choir Masters, Girl-Child Coordinator, Examination officers and Heads of Department. The result showed that majority (31.2%) of the respondents were Form Masters, 10 representing 10.7% perform additional duties as Heads of Department while the rest, less than 5% perform roles as Choir masters and Girl-Child Coordinators in their respective schools as indicated in Table 2c.
Other Responsibilities of Respondents
|Head of Department||10||10.7|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Perceived Leadership Style Exhibited by Heads
General perception of leadership style exhibited by heads
In examining the impact of leadership style on school climate, the research in the first place sought to identify the dominant leadership being exhibited by Heads of selected schools in the study. The perception of leadership style was measured by a 22-item scale measured on a 5-point Likert Scale from ‘almost never true to almost always true’. The scale reported a reliability coefficient of 0.72. The scale classified perceived leadership style into 3 categories: Autocratic leadership style, Democratic leadership style and Laissez-Faire leadership style. In scoring the data, high scores represent how democratic the participants perceived their Heads to be while low scores represent how autocratic the Head, while average scores representing the Laissez-Faire leadership style.
The results as presented in Table 3 revealed that Majority (67.7%) participants perceived their Heads to be exhibiting Democratic leadership style and 31.2% indicated their Heads displays the Laissez Faire style of leadership while about 1% mentioned that their Head displays Autocratic style of leadership in the School. This result implied that majority of Heads give orders only after extensive consultation with various stakeholders as a result their policies face little opposition during the implementation stage of decisions. The result is presented in Table 3.
Leadership Styles Displayed By Heads
Source: Field survey, 2015
Teachers’ Perceptions about Heads Leadership Styles
School based perception of leadership style exhibited by heads
The next objective of this study is to find out how teachers perceived the leadership style of the Heads in the selected schools. In conducting the analysis, cross tabulation frequency technique was adopted. The selected schools were cross tabulated against the Perceived Leadership styles of Heads. The results presented in Table 4 showed that majority (65.1%) of participants from the Hohoe Evangelical Presbyterian SHS indicated that the leadership style of the Head is Democratic while 6.9% perceived their Head to be exhibiting the Laissez-Faire leadership style. At St. Mary’s Seminary SHS, majority (62.1%) indicated that the perceived leadership style of the Head was Laissez–Faire type while 14.3% described the leadership style of the Head as Democratic. The result further revealed that majority (20.6%) of the respondents at Akpafu Senior High described the leadership style of their Head as Democratic while 31.0% perceived the leadership style as Laissez-Faire with 1 (100.0%) indicating that the Head’s style of leadership is Autocratic. This result implied that the Head of Hohoe Evangelical Presbyterian Senior High School is the most democratic followed the Head of Akpafu Senior High School.
Name Of School, Leadership Style Cross Tabulation
|Perceived Leadership Style||Total|
|Hohoe E.P SHS||0||2 (6.9%)||41 (65.1%)||43 (46.2%)|
|St. Mary's Seminary SHS, Lolobi||0||18 (62.1%)||9 (14.3%)||27 (29.0%)|
|Akpafu SHS, Akpafu||1 (100.0%)||9 (31.0%)||13 (20.6%)||23 (24.7%)|
|Total||1 (1.1%)||29 (31.2%)||63 (67.7%)||93 (100.0%)|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Regarding Laissez–Faire type of leadership, the result revealed the Head of St. Mary’s Seminary exhibited Laissez–Faire leadership style most (62.1%). Table 4 displays the result
Perceived School Climate of Selected School
Further, this study was to evaluate the school climate of the selected schools in the study and in measuring School Climate a 22 item scale measured on a 4 point Likert Scale with reliability coefficient of 0.63 was used. School climate was investigated at 2 levels: Negative School Climate and Positive School Climate. In scoring the scale higher scores reflect positive school climate while lower scores reflect negative school climate. The participants were requested to indicate the extent to which each of the statements on the scale characterized their school environment by selecting from the options ‘rarely occurs to very frequently occurs’ and the aggregate sum of the responses computed to determine the type of climate. The result as presented in Table 5 shows that more (87.1%) respondents indicated the climate in their respective schools is positive while the rest 12.9% mentioned described the school climate as negative.
|Negative School Climate||12||12.9|
|Positive School Climate||81||87.1|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Further examination of the data on climate revealed that St. Mary’s Seminary Senior High is the only school that experience only Positive School Climate. The rest Hohoe E.P Senior High recorded both positive (83.7%) and negative (16.3%) climates while Akpafu Senior High recorded 78.3% of the respondents indicating Positive Climate and 21.7% described the climate in the school as negative (Table 6).
School Climate Level Cross Tabulation
|School||Climate tot.al level||Total|
|Negative School Climate||Positive School Climate|
|Hohoe E.P SHS||7 (16.3%)||36 (83.7%)||43|
|St. Mary's Seminary SHS||0||27 (100.0%)||27|
|Akpafu SHS||5 (21.7%)||18 (78.3%)||23|
|Total||12 (12.9%)||81 (87.1%)||93 (100.0%)|
Source: Field survey, 2015
Relationship between Leadership Styles and School Climate
The fourth objective was to establish the relationship between leadership style of Heads and School Climate. In performing the analysis, Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient was computed. The variables leadership style and school climate were computed by adding the responses of all the participants. The results showed that there is a strong negative correlation (-0.71) between the leadership style exhibited by Heads and School Climate. This implies that there is an inverse relationship between school climate and leadership style of Headmaster/Headmistress such that when leadership exhibited by the Head worsens, it results in negative school climate and when leadership style improves, it results in positive climate in the school. This result is in line with results obtained by Drucker (1993), that the leadership style of a manager affects the commitment of the staff which is translated into positive attitude at the workplace, commitment and willingness to work which are characteristics of a positive school climate. The result is presented in Table 7.
Correlation Between Leadership Style and Climate
|Climate Total||Leadership Style Total|
|Climate Total||Pearson Correlation||1||-0.071|
|Leadership Style total||Pearson Correlation||-0.071||1|
Source: Field survey, 2015
A total of 4 objectives were examined in the study. In the first place the study sought to find out the dominant leadership style being exhibited by Heads of the selected school and the results showed that Democratic style of leadership was most exhibited by the Heads. Next was to find out how teachers perceive the leadership style of their Heads. The result revealed that majority of teachers at Hohoe E.P Senior High and Akpafu Senior High perceived their Heads to be exhibiting Democratic leadership style while St. Mary’s Seminary Senior High indicated Laissez-Faire. The results on perception of school climate revealed that majority of the teachers perceive the school climate to be positive. Regarding the relationship between leadership style and school climate, the study found that there is a strong negative correlation between the two variables.
Among all the leadership styles, transformational leadership is found to have best positive effect on school climate. The reason had been that the heads' intention is to consider the teachers as colleagues so that they can work towards a common goal. Teachers depend on each other and cooperate as a team. Goleman et al. (2002), holds that there is a connection between leadership style and school climate. The way the head steer the affairs of the school decides the climate of the school. For instance, when a heads is friendly, ready to verbalize the rousing objectives in teachers and give them consideration, the atmosphere in school become favourable, yet where he or she is hostile or unbending, utilizing coercive and control style, the teachers become discouraged, and the atmosphere in the school become negative or unfriendly.
The aim of the research was to investigate the influence of leadership on the school climate. The objectives of this study were to, identify the dominant leadership styles exhibited by the heads in the selected senior high schools, find out how teachers perceived the leadership styles of the heads in the selected senior high schools, evaluate the organization climate of the selected senior high schools and establish the relationship between leadership styles and school climate.
The aim of this research was to find out the influence leadership of Heads have on school climate in the three schools. The study was greatly informed by ineffectiveness or poor performance of senior high schools in Ghana which according to Mwape (2012) is a result of Headmasters management styles which have negative impact on the school climate. The other concern was that the Ghana Education Service and the Conference of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) regularly conducts training and capacity building workshop for Headmaster yet still there are undesirable behaviours in the schools both from the Headmasters and teachers which affect promotion of good morale and student performance (Mwape, 2012).
In the light of this problem however, the evidence gathered from this study showed otherwise. The results indicated that leadership style of Heads from the selected schools has a positive impact on the climate of the school in such schools and this promotes good interpersonal relationships, commitment to work, discipline on the part of teachers and students, and respect for authority in the schools.
In sum the evidence do not significantly support the problem being studied that leadership of Heads influence school climate. The abysmal results of students in the schools under studied could be attributed to other factors other than leadership style of heads.
It is the expectation of the researcher that other researchers would take up that task and investigate the root cause of poor performance is Second Cycle Schools now that leadership style of Headmaster has been found not to have any significant impact.
Findings from the research revealed that heads used democratic leadership style dominantly as compared to laissez-faire and the autocratic leadership styles in their normal school operations. This is evidenced by majority (67.7%) of the respondents indicated that their heads exhibit democratic leadership style. This means that the heads including teachers in determining what to do and how to do it, heads call a meeting to get teachers ideas or advice when things go wrong, creates an environment that allows teachers to participate in decision-making as well as allow teachers to set priorities with his or her guidance. From the findings the laissez-faire leadership style representing (31.2%) was the second employed leadership style by the heads. What this also means is that heads consider that teachers can lead themselves, allow teachers to determine their own organizational objectives and allow teachers to carry out the decision to do their job. Consequently the least leadership style employed by heads according to the findings is autocratic leadership style representing about 1%. Again what it means is that in some occasion’s heads tell teachers what has to be done and how to do it and heads threatens teachers sometime so as to get the work done.
Findings on teachers’ perception about the leadership styles of their heads showed that most heads employed various leadership styles while performing their duties, although democratic leadership style was prominent. Majority (65.1%) of the respondents from the Hohoe Evangelical Presbyterian SHS indicated that the leadership style of the Head is democratic, at St. Mary’s Seminary SHS 14.3% of the respondents described the leadership style of the Head as democratic and the result further revealed that (20.6%) of the respondents at Akpafu SHS described the leadership style of their Head as democratic. This shows that the heads in all the selected schools involve teachers in determining what to do and how to do it. Furthermore, the finding also revealed that in Hohoe Evangelical Presbyterian SHS 6.9% of the respondents perceived their Head to be exhibiting the Laissez Faire leadership style and 62.1% and 31.0% in St. Mary’s Seminary SHS and Akpafu SHS respectively.
The findings on school climate revealed that school climate differed from school to school; open climate (positive school climate) very frequently occur as compared to other types of climates, in the sense that, the head relates well with all stakeholders. Consequently, the teachers have supportive attitudes, are proud of their school and are willing to help students with their problems outside their instructional h. This is evidenced as 83.7% of respondents in Hohoe Evangelical Presbyterian SHS, 100.0% respondents in St. Mary’s Seminary SHS and 78.3% respondents in Akpafu perceived their school climate as positive.
The aim of this study was to find out leadership and its influence on school climate. The type of tone found in a school entirely depended upon leadership style of the heads’. When the head and the teachers decide to pay little attention to the overall performance of the school, a controlled climate is likely to occur. Situation where the head showed supportive attitude and professionalism and does not restrict or direct teachers with orders an open climate occurred. However, when the head tends to be stern and wielding control closed climate occur. Therefore, in this study, the democratic and transformational leadership styles were associated with open school climates which creates positive school climate while laissez-faire and autocratic/transactional leadership styles were associated with closed, familiar and controlled which also creates negative school climate.
Findings on the relationship between leadership style and school climate showed that there is a strong negative correlation (-0.71) between the leadership style exhibited by Heads and School Climate. This implies that there is a correlation between school climate and leadership style of Head such that when leadership exhibited by Head worsens it results in negative school climate and when leadership style improves it results in positive climate in the school. Therefore, this study has revealed that many of the heads exhibited democratic leadership style which creates a positive school climate.
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