18 Jan

I told you so. Yup! I did.

Once again the performance of schools is under the radar but guess what?  Yes, the teachers are not the focus. (can I get a hallelujah shout?)

 The recent flurry of comments/discourse about the state of leadership in our schools triggered by the findings of National Education (NEI)  inspectorate is “being a long time coming” (Using Sam Cooke’s voice) so can’t say I am surprised.  So what is the hoop-la-hah about?  This problem of poor leadership at the principal level is not a new development. Our education managers had simply turned a blind eye. In my blog post Ed-decay-tion:Whose fault is it I wrote that the problem of education is being attacked from the wrong place…the teachers. I was subjected to much criticism for this. I explained that if teachers are failing then someone is not doing their jobs. While teachers have a task to carry out, often their failure is symptomatic of a bigger problem.   For this blunt statement, I was highly criticized by many but it is about time the spotlight be refocused and there are myriad reasons for this.



Continued Professional Development

Teachers have been constantly chastised for being a failure;  a failure sometimes attributed to abstinence from continued professional development, while administrators have been overlooked. How sensible is this?  Why must our administrators be let off the hook when they are at the helm of the organization?  Why must they be overlooked when it is their vision for the institution that is guiding the strategies employed within the institution?  How many of our principals can respond appropriately regarding global trends in education? How many of our schools’ administrators are aware of the current best practices in education administration?  How many principals turned out for the MANDATORY training seminar again?  I wonder what will be the sanction for missing this important professional development session.

Like with everything else, the education landscape evolves, and it is only to our peril if our education administrators do not keep pace.


Pull String Position

Several persons occupying the coveted post of principal have been ‘placed’ there not because they are competent and has a trailing track record of success in the area; but because someone influential ‘pull-a-string’ (read:do you a favour ).  Meaning, they are strong affiliated with a church; may be a ‘good’  past student of the institution;  has strong political connection, etc, etc, etc…  Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to the concept of ‘pull string’.  (Who wouldn’t be comfortable to have someone who could make acquiring that top job easier?)  What I am averse to is ‘pulling string’ for someone who is not proficient in the area, and when they fail to deliver, someone else takes the lashing.  So then, why do we complain when the mode of appointment for principalship is subject to capture?  (Roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders). Why do we complain when the monitoring and evaluation process of same is weak and there is a lack of accountability?  Economist Douglas North et al  purports that institutions must be robust enough to avoid capture and must also embody the elements that  is will encourage accountability and transparency.  Our education system seems to be operating contrary to this.  The appropriate institutions to ensure efficiency are missing…so what do we expect?  It therefore means our policy makers and all other stakeholders need to go back to the drawing board. Some principals are in the post.  .

We cannot re-vamp an education system by repeatedly targeting one group.  A system is made up of all parts intricately woven to function collaboratively for an effective workable system. It is like a motor car. You cannot service one part & not service the others. That would be grave injustice.  I have always and will continue to maintain that complete change in education system will only start to manifest when there is a shake-up of the upper hierarchy. Start at the top and like a bucket overflowing with water, it will trickle to the base.

Amidst my ranting, I must commend the Minster of Education and his team for finally turning the lens to look at another aspect of the education system regardless of the fact that he was prompted or better yet pushed over the wall to do so.  The litmus test is, how far will this attempt go?  We are not society known for having the gumption to relentlessly pursue initiatives to effect change. We bask in the nine day talk, and on the tenth day it is the ‘business as usual’ model.

supervision and leadership

 Our education system is not perfect but it has indeed come a far way… if our education managers had the super vision supported by appropriate strategies then it would have further improvement. Nonetheless, an effort is an effort regardless of when it comes I can’t knock the effort before giving it a try. I am therefore waiting to see how this initiative of focusing at leadership of the nation schools will evolve.

*some pictures taken from google images


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