The nature and quality of the curriculum offered in a school
is closely related to the resources which are available and,
most importantly, how well they are used. In this unit we consider
these issues and some of the problems school heads face in managing
resources. Even where finances are available, it is still important
to improvise and adapt from the local environment.
Individual study time : 3 hours
Types of resources and constraints
By the end of this unit you should be able to:
display a thorough knowledge of resources and the way
they should be organised for the promotion of learning/teaching
explain the need to produce and acquire resources
recognise constraints in the management of resources
find ways of managing resources properly.
(1) Name the four main types of resource which are available
to us all.
(2) Identify some of the constraints you face as a school head
managing your resources.
Resources are essential to get our work done. The four main
types are: material resources, human resources, financial
resources and time. Some of the principles which we need to
apply in their management are as follows:
1 All possible resources should be identified and used appropriately.
2 There should be a maximum use of all available resources.
3 Local resources should be sought or manufactured wherever
4 The use of resources should be carefully monitored and controlled.
You will probably have identified quite a number of constraints
which considerably handicap the ability of you and your teachers
to provide the curriculum you would wish. Which of the following
did you identify?
shortage or lack of storage facilities
lack of skills and expertise needed to identify and
use resources properly
inadequate sources of supply of the required resources
insufficient means of transport to distribute resources
lack of skills in how to manage time and space effectively
insufficient financial provision
inappropriate and unimaginative training of teachers.
Take the examples of resources shown in Fig 6 and place them
in the correct category.
Fig 6 Examples of resources
kits for science
board of governors
community resource persons
This list and your answers demonstrate the extraordinary range
of resources available to us. Everything we see and touch
is a resource which perhaps we could use. Thus resources extend
far beyond textbooks, include many things which cannot be
provided by the Ministry of Education and include many resources
which cost nothing. From this you may see that the management
of resources by a school head requires considerable skills.
Everyone uses resources.
(1) What resources do the following people use: pupils, teachers,
grounds staff, head of school, bursar?
(2) Excluding members of the school administration, who is directly
responsible for securing the following resources for the school:
stationery, teacher, pupils, fuel for school vehicle, information
on careers, classroom furniture, firewood, science kits, school
weather station, sports equipment, food and school bell?
(3) In what ways can these people be helped to make effective
use of these resources?
- pupils' use of: the library, study time;
- teachers' use of: the classroom, schemes and records of work,
the school bulletin boards;
- Bursar/Treasurer's use of: financial records, petty cash,
We are all users of many resources, some of which are our
own, but most of which we share with other people. Similarly
we all have responsibility for managing resources, both our
own and those we share. For teachers and other staff who are
employed by the government or owners of the school, it is
important that the extent of their individual responsibilities
should be written into their job descriptions. The appraisal
of the work of everyone in a school should take into account
how well they manage resources. The qualities of leadership
which we look for in both pupils and teachers (and most school
heads) depends to a large extent on their resource management
abilities. Everyone needs to be helped to develop their skills
in this area, both through pre-service training on the part
of teachers and through everyday training and supervision.
The school head is responsible for developing this appreciation
of resources and the involvement of everyone in their management.
Resources have to be looked after properly. The school delegates
this responsibility and monitors the performance of the individuals
concerned. For each of the resources listed in Fig 7 give the
post of the person responsible, where the resource is normally
stored and any special management this requires.
Fig 7 Maintaining resources
Resources which are purchased from school funds require special
attention. For this reason the head usually delegates authority
and responsibility to key teachers and members of the support
staff, and ensures the provision of storage and appropriate
The shortage of any resource - teachers, classrooms, finance,
time - reduces the extent to which the curriculum can be delivered
Shortages can occur because of poor school management procedures,
including, for example:
failure to make proper staffing vacancy returns
failure to keep consumable ledger up-to-date
careless use of recurrent funds
inability to maintain resources to acceptable standards
resulting in deterioration
Shortages can also occur because of factors external to and
beyond the control of the school management, including, for
lack of available transport
limitations in the capacity of the supplier making
it impossible to meet the needs of the school
inability of the recruiting agency to provide teachers
as and when required
lack of creativity and resourcefulness on the part
of staff members
non-existence of environmental resources, for example,
a lesson on rivers could suffer in a place where there are
no electricity or source of power.
From your own experience what are the main problems you face
as a school head in the maintenance of resources? How does your
list compare with that given above?
More effective resource maintenance
It is important to recognise that shortages originating within
the school may be overcome by good school management practices,
but first it is necessary to identify the cause of the shortages
and then make the required changes in the school's internal
routines to try to improve the situation.
Identify five ways in which you and your staff and pupils could
manage the resources in your school more effectively.
There are many suggestions you could have made. Did you include
any of the following?
better planning to identify resource needs and how
they may be satisfied
better pre-service, in-service and on-the-job training
for those who use resources
more effective use of storage facilities
more accurate and punctual maintenance of all resource
closer supervision and more accountability of both
staff and pupils.
There are many benefits your school will derive from a more
effective management of resources.
By managing the school's resources more effectively the head
will achieve easier access to available resources, a higher
level of achievement of the curriculum objectives and a full
and proper utilisation of all resources. In addition it is
likely that the teachers will become more creative and positive
and their lessons will become more varied, focused and interesting,
resulting in more use of learner-centred methods.
Production of resources
A fundamental characteristic of a good learning environment
is one where creativity and innovation are fostered and promoted.
Do your teachers experiment with new ideas with regard to
locating, developing and using new resources?
One school overcame the non-availability of gas for laboratory
use by constructing spirit heaters out of empty bottles and
Can you identify two ways in which you and your staff have recently
demonstrated a capacity for self-help and experimentation in
resourcing your school and its curriculum?
In every school there should always be an emphasis on improving
the conditions for pupil-learning which will in turn depend
on teacher self-development, motivation and commitment. Good,
available resources will lead to greater satisfaction amongst
both pupils and staff. In order to accomplish this the school
head must plan, anticipate, consult, supervise and act in
a timely manner to ensure all the resources which are required
are identified, developed and fully used in a responsible