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Mentoring the mentors

Heena Khan
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Leadership training courses are on offer for principals oflow-cost private schools in metro cities

Wanted:Good school leaders.Photo: R. Ashok
Wanted:Good school leaders.Photo: R. Ashok

Only a good leader like a good shepherd can take its flock of sheep to greener pastures. It is the same with teachers and students. With the 12{+t}{+h}Five-Year Plan envisaging eight national institutes for school leadership training, especially for principals, a few organisations are offering leadership training to principals of low-cost private schools to enhance the standard of education and other facilities in these schools.

“It is increasingly being recognised that the point of leverage is the highest with the principal of the school when it comes to ushering holistic changes in the organisation. The principal’s mentoring has a cascading effect on teachers and students alike and helps in creating intellectual property for schools. A good school leader translates into good student performance. The correlation factor between the two is 100 per cent,” says Ashish Dhawan, CEO, Central Square Foundation.

In low-cost private schools, it is generally the owners with little or no training or experience acting as school leaders or principals.

This organisation, along with the Akanksha Foundation and Teach for India, is partnering to launch the India School Leadership Institute (ISLE) with support from the U.S.-based KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation. KIPP Foundation runs a network of publicly funded schools for the disadvantaged communities in the U.S. ISLE has been inspired by various foreign models like the National Institute for Education (NIE) in Singapore, National College for School Leadership in the U.K. and the New Leaders Programme in the U.S. with its many principal’s training programmes in different higher education institutions.

“Moulding the next generation instructional leaders with individualised leadership styles is the key. Our initial focus would be on low income private schools from metros such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Slowly we would like to mould the programme to fit into a public set up,” says Mr. Dhawan. Citing a U.S. Department of Education’s study that says a quality principal can increase a student’s achievement level by 25 to 60 per cent, he adds: “The whole approach therefore should be towards creating an ecosystem of high performing low income schools. The first batch of ISLI starts in May 2013.”


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