|What is our purpose?
It is widely recognised and agreed that one of the key factors
influencing school effectiveness is the nature and quality of
the leadership and management provided by each school head.
This series of modules has been written to provide school heads
with a source of practical ideas about ways in which they may
become better managers of better schools. The material does
not present much theory; instead each reader is required to
draw on their own individual experiences and to evaluate their
own circumstances and practices, in order that they may apply
the lessons learned in their schools. Like other professionals,
school heads need to accept a large measure of responsibility
for their own self-development and for the development of their
The extent to which these materials have a practical impact
on school quality will only become clear over time, but school
heads should fairly quickly be able to identify some examples
of how they have changed the way they manage their schools and
how their schools are better as a result. Heads may wish to
share ideas with their school colleagues, District Education
Officers and Inspectors, and discuss with them what they are
doing, and how these materials are helping to improve their
Who are the materials designed for?
These materials are written primarily for practising school
heads of both primary and secondary schools, whether government
or private, with whatever type of curriculum. We hope that principals
of other educational institutions, including teacher training
colleges, will find these materials of use.
We are not aiming just at newly appointed school heads, undergoing
induction. At whatever career stage they may be, school heads
know that there is always more to learn. The expression 'You
can't teach an old dog new tricks' only applies to those ready
Some readers may still be teachers who hope, one day, to become
school heads; these materials are also for them.
Management skills are also required by many others involved
in education, from the Minister or Commissioner of Education,
through to District Education Officers and their staff, inspectors,
school governors, private school owners, and even, in some aspects,
parents and members of the community. These materials are for
readers who belong to any of these groups, and who are interested
in improving school performance. What are the methods of
Since these materials are written for a variety of people, let
us move from describing readers specifically as 'school heads'
to something more direct and personal: 'you'.
Self-directed study: One of the main ways in which we hope you
will use these materials will be through self-directed study
or open-learning. By self-directed study we mean that you, the
readers, choose when and what you want to study. Because everyone
has a different background, in the experience we have and in
the character of our schools, our learning needs vary considerably.
We hope within the seven modules, each of which consists of
between five and eight units, you will find something new and
relevant to your needs. You may study the modules in any order;
indeed many units may be studied on their own.
The modules may be studied by individuals working on their own,
or in informal or formal study groups.
study: A large part of our learning takes place on our own,
perhaps reading and thinking quietly in school, or even at home.
We hope that these materials will be available for you to do
this. Then you may select what you want to learn, in the order
and at the pace of study you choose. In this way you are not
put under any immediate external pressure, but may work out
for yourself what may best apply to you and your school.
Informal study groups: Of course you do not have
to study these modules only on your own. The materials could
and should be used by you with other heads in your locality,
coming together informally, in peer groups or study circles,
perhaps at a local teachers' centre, to review your work and
share ideas. Within your own school members of staff would benefit
by looking at topics together. If you have a school development
committee the materials should prove a useful source of ideas.
The materials could also be used by your Association of School
Heads, either at district or national level, during workshops
or at your annual meetings. Your association might appoint from
the members a training officer, to be responsible for initiating,
facilitating and co-ordinating training programmes.
Formal groups: These materials can also be used in a
more systematic way to cover all school heads at formal workshops
organised by District Education Officers, or for more advanced
specialist courses, by a national management training institute,
a teachers' college or a university faculty of education.
Distance learning: These materials can also be adapted
for distance-learning courses and for use by the media, whether
in print or broadcasting.
How is the content related
to change in schools?
These resource materials are written in an interactive style
which requires your participation. More than that, they require
a commitment on your part to introduce into your school beneficial
changes, which are relevant, cost-effective and accepted by
your staff, pupils and community.
Each unit contains a variety of stimuli which are intended to
get you thinking, to capture your interest and to open up the
topic. These include activities like drawing up checklists,
answering questions, gathering data, and discussions with your
colleagues, whether teachers in your school or other heads.
Whilst you are doing the activities you will be involved in
reflection, in which you are encouraged to think through issues,
to reconsider standard practices, and to seek alternative solutions
to solving problems. Within the units there are regular commentaries
which draw together loose ends and consolidate principles. The
study of these resources will not be complete until there is
some action by you in the way in which your school is organised
and managed, following guidelines included in each unit. Evaluation,
especially self-evaluation (which also relates to the concept
of reflection above) is the last element in this cycle.
The cycle of learning within each unit is illustrated below:
How are the modules and units organised?
Each module has a standard general introduction (which you
are now reading) and an introduction which is specific to
Each unit is written in a standard form, as follows:
Introduction: This provides an overview of the contents
of each unit and provides a link between the units in the
Individual study time: An estimate is given of the
amount of time you will require to study the unit on your
own, including all of the activities. Of course, if you are
working in a group it is likely that more discussion will
be generated and thus more time will be required.
Learning outcomes: These provide a series of statements
about what you might expect to cover and learn if you complete
Activities: These require your involvement, perhaps
by drawing on your experience, or through the gathering of
data. Sometimes an activity comes at the start of a section,
and sometimes an activity follows a piece of text. It is important
that you do all the activities, as they form the core of each
unit and provide the basis of the interactive approach to
learning used here. As the activities vary considerably in
character you should read the instructions carefully.
Comments: Avoid looking at the sections which follow
most of the activities until you have completed each one.
The comments are intended to provide a discussion of some
of the points you may have identified in the activity. They
are not intended as model answers.
Summary: This appears at the end of each unit to pull
together the ideas which have been brought out.
None of the modules can be studied without access to other
materials, the most important of which should already be at
hand in your school or at your local District Education Office.
Important materials published in your country or available
in your school include:
by-laws relating to your state, region or district
civil service rules and regulations
executive instruments on education
policy papers, guidelines and circulars from the Ministry
code of conduct for teachers
the constitution of the board of governors or school
annual reports, speeches, exam results, pupil/staff
school account books, stores ledgers, rules and regulations,
timetables, circulars, report forms, minutes of meetings,
pupils' exercise books and work.
You should also look out for books about the history and
development of education in your country, and within Africa.
In addition there are usually many useful articles on current
educational issues in newspapers and magazines, and on radio
You should also have to hand a good dictionary.
In addition there are very many books on management, including
educational management. We would suggest you look for these
in your local bookshops and libraries; it is possible that
the Association of School Heads in your country produces an
up-to-date list of current management materials and where
they may be obtained.
However, it is unlikely that many titles will be readily available
to the average school head, particularly those in rural areas.
We hope that the publication of these modules will encourage
more people to write complementary texts and for publishers
to ensure the availability of relevant books on educational
management wherever schools are located.
Here we have limited the list of books to those written
specifically for educational managers in Africa.
Adesina S (1990) Educational Management, Enugu: Fourth
Asiedu-Akrofi K (1978) School Organisation in Modern Africa,
Tema: Ghana Publishing Corporation
Chung F (1988) Basic Principles of Administration, Harare:
Fagbulu A M (1972) Administrative Practice for Teachers,
Mbamba A M [Editor], with Nwagwu N A and Joof M B (1992) Handbook
on Training Methods in Educational Management, Harare: Unesco
Mbamba A M [Editor], with Nwagwu N A and Joof M B (1992)
Book of Readings in Educational Managemement, Harare: Unesco
Mbiti D M (1976) Foundations of School Administration,
Nairobi: Oxford University Press
Musaazi J C S (1982) The Theory and Practice of Educational
Administration, London: Macmillan
Ozigi A O (1977) A Handbook of School Administration and
Management, London: Macmillan