This study lies at the intersection of contemporary research on leadership and concerns for the performance of recent African leaders and theme of participation. It utilizes qualitative approaches to examine the issue of leadership and stakeholder participation in the role of Asante traditional leadership and the process of educational change in Ghana during the last quarter of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries and the representations that such participation holds for the rest of the country and Africa in the quest for relevant education systems, leadership functions and expectations of stakeholders.
The call of the Asantehene (King of Asante), Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at his installation that improved and quality formal education should be a criterion of assessment for his reign; the subsequent establishment of the Otumfuo Education Fund and Offinsoman Education Trust Fund provided the background to formulate the study.
Individual and focus group in-depth recorded interviews, life stories of participants, documents and text examination from primary official and secondary sources in the field constituted the mode for structuring the study.
The results were revealing in the heights of expectation placed on Asante traditional leaders, the mobilization of external and local fiscal, manpower and material resources, networking possibilities and the reach of societal philosophies to catalyze the change agendas while reinventing their ages old legitimacies in a modern state.
The involvement of Asante and other traditional leaders in the process of education change as role models, conflict mediators, gender advocators, agents of development, grantors of land, benefactors and providers of governance services in the schooling process from the local to the national levels were the norms of expectations and not the exceptions in these complementary but increasingly devise and important roles. The reality beyond perception of traditional leaders’ interest in their citizens’ educational advancement- participation in governance, additions to school infrastructure, provision of incentive packages to both students and educators, stimulates education in their domains.