Better Schools:
Resource Materials for School Heads in Africa
Initiatives for Self-Development
Managers in education can undertake a wide variety of activities to develop experience and expertise in their work. They can read literature relevant to their profession and work context; they can ex change experiences with colleagues and fellow managers; or they can take part in local, regional or international programmes and activities which may come their way through affiliation to various bodies such as staff associations, professional associations or wider international associations. One such international programme which has reached several countries in the sub-region is the Commonwealth Secretariat Education Programme designed to help Ministries of Education in Africa improve their management and support systems for teachers. In 1990, the Commonwealth Secretariat Education Programme initiated the development of a series of modules, that built on past experience and were specifically designed to improve the management skills of heads and others, such as deputy heads and trainers, interested in the management of education in Africa. The modules also catered for educationists interested in self-development, particularly those who would like to upgrade their professional skills and qualifications.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
• state the context in which the Headteacher Training and Support Programme was created
• explain the meaning of self-development and give examples of self-development activities.

The Better Schools Programme
• A survey demonstrated that school management in Africa, with all its uncertainties and complexities, was substantially different from that found in the developed world, where much of the theory originates and that current provision for head teacher training was inadequate (Dadey and Harber, 1991).
• A practical rnanual proposed possible strategies for developing schools management programmes (McNie, White et al, 1991).
• A new Directory of Headteachers' Associations in Africa (Commonwealth Secretariat, 1993) provided opportunities for supporting and encouraging self-development initiatives, linking national associations, and promoting associations at the primary level.
• A set of case studies by practitioners is to be collated by participating countries. This win highlight possibilities for innovative action, for example: headteacher advisers (Botswana); the Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, Cape Coast (Ghana); Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kenya); peer support groups (Narnibia); inspectors working with headteachers (Nigeria); training through distance learning (National Teachers Institute, Nigeria); organising headteacher training at district level (Uganda); developing and using a headteachers' handbook (Zimbabwe).

When the Education Development Programme approached ministries and aid agencies to seek partners for developing a regional consensus on headteacher training and support activities, in the production of resource materials, the response was immediate and positive. The Commonwealth Secretariat/UNESCO/SIDA/GTZ Headteacher Training and Support Programme for Africa has the following four objectives:
1 to help ministries define a locus for devising management policy, initiating training and support programmes and mobilising resources
2 to develop training strategies which are efficient in terms of cost, coverage and quality
3 to devise exemplar modules on which to base training for school management in Africa
4 to help ministries overcome some endemic problems in developing, producing and distributing resource materials for school heads.

Activity 2.1
(1) Make a list of groups that might be interested in a study of the 'Better Schools' modules.
(2) Give reasons why you think that they stand to benefit from reading them.
(3) Illustrate with reference to modules, units or sections of modules areas which might be of particular benefit to each group.

If you identified, for example, responsible authorities and Education Officers/lnspectors, you may have given some of the fonowing reasons and illustrations:
• They need to be fully aware of the resources needed to make a school effective (refer to Module 4, Unit 3).
• They need to be aware of the school's mission (refer to Module 1, Unit 1).
You will perceive, as you undertake the programme and read the materials, that one of the prime objectives was to create an environment for the school and the child that taps all the available resources for maximum effectiveness.

Structure, design and content of modules
The materials are arranged in a modular format in order to facilitate self-directed learning, the principal technique through which the modules are to be used.

Each module has:
• a standard general introduction
• an introduction specific to each unit.
Thereafter, each unit follows a standard form, which features:
• introduction
• statement of individual study time for each unit
• learning outcomes
• activities
• comments
• summary
• reference materials
• readings.

The modules cover a wealth of topics, as you can judge from a glance at the Contents listed on pages v-vi of this volume. In the context of self-directed learning, each unit is designed to introduce the topic and get you thinking about your work. Once your interest has been captured, the activities and other stimulus materials win get you looking beyond the immediate pages. You are likely to find yourself reconsidering standard practices and seeking solutions to situations and questions which they raise. It is the firm belief of the writers that if this module is to serve its purpose, your study of the materials will not be complete until you have taken steps to introduce beneficial changes into your school.

Using the modules
One of the most effective ways in which these materials may be used is through self-directed study or open learning. As heads your backgrounds differ. You have varying experiences and your schools are different. Your learning needs, therefore, vary considerably. We are certain that within the seven modules, you win find something new and relevant to your needs. You may study the modules in any order. Many units may actually be studied on their own. You need to bear in mind that there is a suggested length of study-time for each unit.
The modules may be studied by individuals working on their own or in formal or informal study groups. They can also be used in a distance-learning situation. Please read the general introduction closely.

Activity 2.2
When you consider the approaches to study referred to above, list the one(s) you think most likely to apply in your particular context?
Give reasons for your choice.

You may have listed among reasons for your choice of method:
• distance between schools
• existing school groupings
• the need for personal growth
• enrolment on formal courses of study.

The reasons are numerous and some of you will find yourselves operating actively in a combination of these methods. The important factor is that no head need wait for direction in the programme, once materials have been made available.

Supplementary materials
We stated earlier that your study of the modules will not be complete without active steps being taken to address issues in your own school or in your neighbourhood. There should be no mere reading of the materials.

Similarly a study of the modules win only be complete for you in your particular context, when the materials are related to important publications in your country and in your ministry.

Activity 2.3
List the range of materials which come to mind readily to supplement your study of the concepts and practices introduced by the modules.

Your list may have included some of these:
• the constitution of the country
• education acts
• civil service rules and regulations
• executive instruments on education
• policy papers, guidelines and circulars from your ministry
• ministry or school mission statements
• various handbooks for heads where these exist
• pupils' exercise books.

The list is endless and may include published books and the media. You should also have a good dictionary.

In this unit you have had an overview of self-development and some of the activities in which you can engage in your efforts to develop yourself in your work. You have also had an overview of the study materials that you win be handling in this programme. We hope that you are now in a position to say how they came about, how they are structured, designed and presented and how they can be used. We also hope that you have seen how they relate to your particular context.