The success of every school depends on the way it is managed.
The need for the efficient management of schools has placed
much more emphasis on the nature and quality of the work of
the head as the leader of a team of professional educators,
and as the manager of the supply and effective use of resources
(human, financial and material). The head therefore needs to
gain clear understanding of all the forces and factors which
contribute towards governance of the school.
Individual study time: 1 hour
After working through this unit, you should be able to:
define the parameters of school governance
name the main laws and regulations within the context
of which your school operates
identify the various bodies which have a part to play
in the governance of your school.
The head, even as the chief executive of the school, does
not act alone or on his own authority, but rather carries
out his assignments within the context of laws, regulations,
administrative instructions and directives originating from
the government, which, as the representative of the people,
has the original authority to determine the type of education
a country should provide for its citizens.
Schools, whether public or private institutions, also have
a number of stake-holders in their activities. Their governance
is therefore done through a coalition of interests working
together, but performing different functions, all aimed at
enabling each school to operate and to achieve its aims and
objectives. The head, who as the chief executive is responsible
for directing and overseeing the day to day activities of
the school, must know what agencies, groups and individuals,
constitute this coalition of interests.
Laws, regulations and instructions
Consider the different types of laws, regulations and instructions
within the context of which your school is run, and list them.
(Note: You may not have seen all of those you list, but only
be aware of them.)
We hope that the list you have produced includes laws, regulations
and instructions such as:
education acts, decrees or ordinances
by-laws on education
administrative instructions and directives.
It would be valuable for you to check with other heads, and
with the District Education Officer, how complete your answer
is. Obtain (perhaps from your District Education Officer)
a list of the laws, regulations and instructions which relate
to your school. Ensure that your school has a copy of each
relevant document available for reference.
We must realise that, in the first place, schools are established
and operate within the context of laws, regulations and other
legislative and executive instruments passed by government
to give direction as to the way formal education in a country
should be organised. These laws and regulations are operationalised
through policy guidelines which issue from the Ministry of
Education and other authorities in the form of administrative
instructions and directives.
Who is involved in the governance of schools?
Write down a list of as many bodies and groups as you can think
of, who have a part to play in the governance of your school.
The list you have put down probably includes:
the National Assembly
the Ministry of Education
the Regional, State or Provincial Education Authority
the District or Local Government Education Authority
the board of governors or management committee
staff and pupils
the immediate community, including employers, religious
and traditional leaders, etc.
Again, it is important to realise that governments exercise
their responsibility for providing education for their people
through their Ministries of Education and other bodies and
authorities at the regional, state or provincial and district
levels. These different bodies, units and agencies all have
a part to play in the governance of schools.
Also, schools as public institutions in which there are a
number of stake-holders, cannot be allowed to be run only
by the paid staff led by the head according to their own inclinations.
Yet it is not possible for all the stake-holders and the public
to be there to oversee the running of a school. To represent
the interest of stake-holders and the public at large in overseeing
the way each school is run, a board of governors or a management
committee is set up.
The school community itself, comprising the staff and pupils,
constitutes the immediate group of people with whom the head
is in constant touch. For efficient, effective and democratic
management of a school, these members of the immediate community
must participate in its administration. Thus, the staff and
pupils of each school bear a part in its governance through
Furthermore, the influence of the larger community in which
the school is situated, is becoming increasingly important
in the way a school is operated. This larger community is
itself made up of different components, such as employers,
religious and traditional leaders, and these groups in their
different ways may play important parts in supporting the
school. They therefore should bear a part in the governance
of the school.
In this introductory unit, we have looked broadly at what
the concept of school governance embraces; namely the laws
and regulations within whose context schools operate and the
various bodies, agencies and groups who all bear a part in
the governance of schools. These relationships are summarised
in Fig 1 and are explored more fully in the units which follow.
Fig 1 The parameters of school governance