Newsletter 227 - School Development & Improvement Planning 2006-2009 - PART 2


As an introduction to SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT and IMPROVEMENT planning let us speak about the nature of man and the nature of work.

“Regarding the nature of work, the orthodox view accepts the Old Testament belief that physical labour is a curse imposed on man as a punishment for his sins and that the sensible man labours solely in order to keep himself and his family alive, or, if he is fortunate, in order to make a sufficient surplus to enable him to do the things he really likes. Regarding the conditions of work, it is assumed that improving the conditions of the job will cause the worker’s natural dislike of it to be mitigated…Regarding the motivation of work, the carrot and stick hypothesis asserts that the main positive incentive is money, the main negative one fear of unemployment. Of recent years, these views have been modified in many ways. It is conceded that some people…like to work.
Now modern research has shown that these views are incorrect.
Work is an essential part of a mans life since it is that aspect of life which gives him status, and binds him to society. Ordinarily men and women like their work. Work is a social activity.

The morale of the worker has no direct relationship whatsoever to the material conditions of the job.
There are many incentives, of which, under normal conditions money is one of the least important. Unemployment is a powerful negative incentive. Precisely because of 1 (it social nature).

It has already been made clear that it is meaningless to talk of leadership as if it were a psychological trait, something within the individual, which some people have and others do not or have in negligible degree. The word makes sense only when it specify to what end and in what circumstances the leader will be expected to act. Yet most books …will give a list of leadership qualities which tell us, for example, that the leader must have intelligence and good judgment, insight and imagination, ability to accept responsibility, a sense of humour, a well-balanced personality, and a sense of justice.

It was suggested that we cannot understand the attitudes of either management or workers unless they are seen in their historical context, and unless we realise that much that has been regarded as due to human nature is, in fact, purely the product of a particular culture at a particular stage of its development. The beliefs that work is an unpleasant necessity, that the individual is basically self-interested, basically lazy, and basically competitive, and that society consists of a mass of unorganised individuals, each at war with the other,…that fear of starvation is the main negative incentive and money the main positive one – all these are products of a certain type of society at a certain stage in its development.

A great deal of attention … has been paid to the study of interpersonal relationships at work … There has (also) been research on the study of fatique and boredom … exploring psychological needs and how they are may be met in the organisation. Maslow has developed a theory of motivation which has … (been) applied to organisations. He views man as having needs which exist in an innate hierarchy in which the lower needs have to be satisfied to a considerable extent before the higher needs can emerge to motivate the individual” (The Social Psychology of Industry by J A C Brown – 1980).

The purpose of our meeting is twofold, firstly to reflect and secondly to plan 2009. The school as a form of social formation or organization is by its nature very unique but at the same time very similar. It this nature of schools and schooling that present politicians, planners, economists and managers with a very unique challenge in its ongoing quest to improve schools and schooling.

In reflection it is important to keep uppermost in mind the model for purposes of analysis namely, the core function of school and the purpose of schooling vis-à-vis the other support functions which creating an enabling environment.

In its minimalist form the purpose of schooling in the South African context is the implementation of the national curriculum through the facilitation of learning and teaching by both learner and educator. At the center (not exclusively) of the learning process is the learner and at the center of the teaching (not exclusively) process is the educator. These two centers form a contingent relationship – the one cannot stand without the other.

As an input and a minimum standard, learners are expected to be directly and to a lesser extend indirectly exposed to the national curriculum for 196 days per annum. Compromise (by reduction in various forms) the input and it negatively affects the output. To maintain its integrity schools must observe this public mandate at all costs … the alternative to dire to consider … a tension we live with on a daily basis in our townships. This reality informs us that learning and teaching are compromised by up to 40-50% of the 196 days for matters other than teaching.

Our biggest challenges for 2008 have been and remain
? Time-on-task (absenteeism of educators and learners)
? Discipline of educators and learners
? Class size
? Morale of educators
? The educator’s lack of knowledge and conceptual understanding of the curriculum
? Distraction from 196-days per annum core duty
? Making the strategic links between curriculum planning, implementation and monitoring
? Improve literacy and numeracy rate at poorer schools
? Implementation of the FET
? Overload and burden carried by the school principal
? Sustain and maintain above 60% matric pass rate
? Maintain school grounds – and keeping it clean (including the classrooms and toilets)
? Communications within the circuit
? School Development and Improvement Planning
? Alignment of planning between School, Circuit, District Office and Head Office

It is the contention of my office that improving schools by addressing these challenges cannot happen unless we also restore the dignity, pride, professional integrity and sense of duty and confidence of the educators. I am committed to that task … I hope I can say the same of you. We need the commitment and dedication of your staff to help with the restoration of professional integrity through positive actions, values and attitudes.

I am asked many-a-time about the purpose of my job. My job in essence is about,
? Finding and creating space and opportunity
? Be innovative and creative in occupying that space
? Do the most impact with the least effort and resource
? Be productive and remember the individual can make a difference … positively or negatively
? This is the space I, with the team create … in which you ought to flourish
? Therefore my job is simple … I make you happy, So that you make your staff happy, So that your staff make our children and parents happy … such is the nature of our contract
? And so, in pursuance of this happiness as managers we have to make very difficult choices.

In our job loyalty is very important … in fact I place a very high premium on loyalty. It underpins the element of trust. We must nurture trust because it enhances confidence and also nurture loyalty because it further enhances allegiance.

Addressing the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) Conference on its Human Capital Strategy the then Premier, Ebrahim Rasool, challenged participants (mostly educators) to be the midwives of the best of the new and the undertakers of the worst of the old. Under the Premier’s leadership the Provincial Executive has adopted a strategy of “A HOME FOR ALL” … for the Western Province a big challenge indeed. We wish the Premier all the best in his endeavor to achieve the socio-political and economic objectives in his sight.

The Premier further states that the WCED has been given the task for the implementation of the Provincial “Human Capital Development Strategy (HCDS) 2004-2014”.

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