ureport School heads should have managerial training - The Standard

School heads should have managerial training

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i has indicated that the Government is set to establish Kenya School of Education (KSE).

The aim is to provide principals with essential knowledge and skills needed to manage schools and avert the madness always witnessed in second term.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has, in appreciation of the complexities that involve management of organisations, ensured that civil servants at mid-level and upper ranks undertake management and leadership courses at the Kenya School of Government (KSG).

It is a requirement for staff hoping to join Job Group Q and above to have undertaken a mandatory six weeks Strategic Leadership Programme (SLP.

People who work at these levels require ability to envision things, strong analytical and conceptual skills and entrepreneurial abilities. Nothing of the kind is required of head teachers of primary and secondary schools, some of whom are appointed into schools having a school community of over 2,000 individuals; students, teachers, parents, the neighbouring community, suppliers, and non-teaching staff.

The deputies of these schools, senior teachers and heads of departments are as worse off as their bosses as far as management and leadership training is concerned.

Current thinking in educational circles, however, is that ascending to leadership positions requires systematic preparation of the kind civil servants, the police and military go through.

Promoting excellence in teaching and learning requires much more than the knowledge and skills received in Bachelor of Education Degree programmes.

The principal's job, like any managerial position in modern formal organisations, is more complex and demanding. Schools now sag under complex socio-economic, and consumer pressures.

Teenage students are similarly bombarded with idealistic and contradictory expectations from peers, teachers, parents and society at large.

The adoption of the values embedded in what American psychologist, David McClelland, termed as the Achievement Motive, is engendering enormous stress among students.

Careful nurturing of expectations by a principal, who is expected to provide instructional leadership to the institution, is not an easy task.

Quality leadership insight, modelling, coaching, guidance, empathy and understanding are the qualities a principal needs to create an efficient school environment suitable for learning.

Only a few are supremely lucky to have had the good fortune to have these assets to loftier ranks in an organisation. The assets, the qualities are not inborn. They can be developed through rigorous training.

KSE can smelt all those who will attend its rigorous course into dependable leaders of society. We shall have, through a stroke of good breeding of principals, solved half of the problems associated with student indiscipline and unrest in schools.

The US National Policy Board for Educational Administrators released a paper in 2000, contrasting the situation in education with other professions and observed: Unlike the common practice of the corporate world and the military — where there are systematic and continuous initiatives to grow and develop a management cadre that can take on greater and greater responsibilities, and succeed at each step along the way, — education makes no such careful investment of resources in its future leaders.