The workshop, by the HRD ministry, is being held in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan on a pilot basis

Taking note of the poor leadership skills of government school headmasters, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and department of school education organised a two-day workshop on school leadership in collaboration with the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) and the National College for School Leadership, UK.

The workshop attended by headmasters and district education officers from around the State is part of a larger project undertaken by the human resources ministry for leadership development. It is being implemented in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan on a pilot basis, and was launched in Chennai on Monday by minister of school education N.R. Sivapathi, said officials.

Rashmi Diwan, professor, department of school education, NUEPA, said a school leadership development committee was formed in 2010 and based on its recommendations, a National Centre for School Education was established at NUEPA, New Delhi, for aiding the project.

The purpose of the two-day interface with headmasters of government secondary and elementary schools is to identify leadership training needs and indicators of school quality to set standards and more importantly, document best practices, said Rashmi Diwan, professor, department of school education, NUEPA.

“Leadership development is a continuous and long-term engagement with the school heads to evolve models which they can later adopt,” said Rashmi Diwan, professor, department of school education, NUEPA.

R. Elangovan, additional director, RMSA, said, these initiatives would eventually percolate to the district, block, and cluster levels. “While one headmaster is able to deal with challenges, some are others are not. The difference is in leadership, and we want to address that and help them interact effectively with the community, parents, students and officials,” he said.

P.A. Naresh, joint director, RMSA, said, often, most senior teachers who got promoted as headmasters had little knowledge about leadership and administration. “This programme hopes to fill the lacuna,” he said, adding that 40 headmasters from rural schools attended the workshop on the first day, and on the second day there were two sessions, one each for 40 headmasters of urban schools and 20 district educational officers, 10 block resource trainers and 20 cluster resource trainers.

Headmasters of urban schools who participated in the workshop on day-2 brought forth challenges such as distributing time between administrative and leadership duties, dealing with heavy paper work and preparation of official communication, ensuring students attended school regularly, working with first generation learners and their parents and managing with available resources, among other challenges.

Jonathan Dale, managing director, National College for School Leadership, who has been interacting with those in the field of school education in India for the past 10 years, said that Monday’s programme was a platform for school heads from rural schools to network with their counterparts from neighbouring schools as they seldom got an opportunity to do that. One of the biggest challenges, he pointed out, was dealing with information and communication technologies which is a huge component.

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