Newsletter 233 - School Development & Improvement Planning 2006-2009 - PART 8


Our arrival at this point today has been a culmination of many years of investment in Human Capital Development, expanding both the knowledge base and skills of school principals and deputy principals under the leadership of the Circuit Team Manager. We have conducted numerous conversations, dialogue and the enhancement of the capacity of our human resource in various fields of work and expertise namely

? Organizational Development (OD)
? Human Resource Management and Development
? Change Management
? Strategic Planning
? School Management, Leadership and Administration
? Budget and Finance Management
? Policy Management (Formulation, Implementation, Review, Monitoring and Evaluation)
? Political economy and setting of school standards
? Educational Research – school based
? School Development & Improvement Planning
? Risk Management
? Induction, Coaching & Mentoring
? Monitoring & Evaluation
? Supervision & Moderation
? Total Quality Management System

A friendly reminder … “my job is not to make you a principal, but rather to support the principal in you, enhance your capacity to become a more effective and efficient management and leader”.

Although I tend to agree with many of the views of the various role-players regarding the immediate need and about “what needs to be done”, I want to approach this question from another angle by looking at the bigger issues at stake in order to improve our collective fate. What is our reality?

We have come a long way since 1990 and 1994. This year we are celebrating fourteen (14) years of our freedom in pursuance of “A Better Life For All” as so aptly captured and immortalized by the Freedom Charter. The first part of the long journey to real freedom (socio-economic and political) has in Education been an arduous one, characterized by macro processes such as Structural Adjustment, Rightsizing of the Public Sector and in particular Education, Curriculum transformation, Restructuring and Amalgamation of different education departments (systems and procedures) and Re-engineering. All of this change and transformation whilst we are expected to, at the same time keep the ship afloat. Today we are faced with the challenges of both our apartheid history pre-1994 and the choices we made post-1994 … some of it very difficult choices.

It is a universal socio-economic reality that the need amongst the poor will always outweigh available resources. Tough choices will have to be made. I am of the opinion that the slice of the big cake (Annual Budget) allocated to education cannot, shall not and may not grow more than what it is at the moment, namely 24-26% of the budget. Most of the state’s resources must be directed towards the poor and needy. A great many of us will simply have to do with what we currently have…before we can begin to ask for more.

Our duty as managers in dealing with the day-to-day realities as it unfolds is to ensure that you and I make the current system work and function as well as possible and as best as we can. Such is the nature, duty and obligation of our job. Without it chaos will prevail and anarchy reign.

The universal tension or dichotomy between access and quality is also a South African reality which plays itself out on a daily basis in our schools, our classrooms, our staff rooms, board rooms etc. Over the past ten (14) years we have invested heavily in getting access right…I am of the opinion that we need another 10 years. Some of you may challenge my view and ask, “What about quality?” I too am tempted to say so, but my day-to-day reality has convinced me otherwise.

As I conclude, we need to revisit and recommit ourselves to hope and a sense of purpose, teaching as a profession and being a professional. In pursuance of my point let me ask the following pertinent questions

1. Who is the key role-player at school, the learner or the educator?
2. What is the key role (duty and obligation) of the educator?
3. As a professional, when confronted with obstacles in performing that duty…what does an educator do in the face of such apparent adversity?
4. What is the key role and who is the key focus of the school/circuit/district office management/management … the educator or learner?

The point is well taken about the role and function of the employer and the state … but this is not what my argument is about … employer/employee relations. It is about a professional and positive state of mind of the educator.

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