Should the school principal be involved in making the time-table? Could she have fixed another date for an important school function? Could he have handled a parent differently? There may be no right answer to any of these questions, but principals are often expected to make tough decisions with little time.
The principal also has to strike a balance between being an efficient academician and an administrator. But, few have undergone formal management training to take on a leadership role.
Recognising the need for school principals to interact, share and learn, the CBSE through an amendment in its by-laws this August made it mandatory for principals of the affiliated schools to undergo a leadership training programme. The CBSE also identified agencies to conduct capacity building programmes for teachers and principals.
On Thursday, around 30 CBSE school principals from the State and outside, participated in a three-day workshop on ‘Effective school management and leadership’ conducted by EZ Vidya, one of the chosen agencies.
“Principals should be strong in academics and at the same time, be able to mentor teachers and administrate efficiently. It is also a platform for them to come into contact with their peer group,” said D.T. Sudarshan Rao, regional officer, CBSE, Chennai region.
Ajeeth Prasath Jain, secretary, Chennai Sahodaya Complex, said earlier the board identified select principals to undergo management training with IIM-A and National University of Educational Planning and Administration. “There was also training for new principals. Now, that the number of schools has increased and the secondary education scenario is transforming, agencies have been identified to make it easier for all schools,” he said.
The five-day programme, said, Chitra Ravi, founder and CEO, EZ Vidya, would broadly look at the leader as a visionary, academician and communicator. The sessions, using case-studies, movie clippings, interactive games, activities and group discussions, will be based on EZ Vidya’s research on educational leadership, and experience built during field research. It will cover aspects such as the changing learner profile, curriculum and teacher development.
“Time management was a problem area. Another emerging challenge is communicating effectively with parents who want to participate more now through various means, including e-mail,” she said. “One of the exercises is to make principals draw a time-pie. They may realise that they may be working on something that did not require so much attention,” said Ms. Chitra.
Sharmila Soman, principal, CeeDeeYes D.A.V. Public School, said a principal as an administrator had to deal with the situation at hand. “The focus on the first day was on effective delegation of work. Workshops and case studies help you assess and understand how other principals would have dealt with the same situation. Also, you can never predict how a child will react,” she said. Effective delegation, said experts, would make better leaders of teachers too.
Grace Alwyn, principal, Gateway International School, said there was a lot of scope for interaction with other principals as well. “The focus is on newer challenges and trends facing school education. Earlier, holistic development of students and facilitation of teachers was spoken about. A workshop for principals is welcome,” she said.
While three of the five days is being held now, the other two days are likely to be held in October, Ms. Chitra said.
Last year, a two-day workshop on school leadership was conducted for government school headmasters of high and higher secondary schools and District Education Officers from the State by the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) in collaboration with the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) and the National College for School Leadership, UK. Tamil Nadu was one of the States chosen for the pilot project, endorsed by the MHRD.
A RMSA official said this academic year, it is likely to get institutionalised and 750 HMs will be given training. “UK-India Education and Research Initiative and NUEPA are working on a design for the programme,” the official said.