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
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
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
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
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.
(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
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:
statement of individual study time for each unit
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
When you consider the approaches to study referred to above,
list the one(s) you think most likely to apply in your particular
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.
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.
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
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.