IMPROVING EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION IN PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL
CANDIDATE: Milton B. Francis
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULLFILLMENT
FOR MBA DEGREE
PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT
MONDAY AUGUST 13, 2001
The contributions of many are at the heart of this research. I know that it could not have
been completed without their input.
First, I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. G. Persaud for his assistance and contribution in making this Research Paper possible.
Secondly, to the administrators, teachers, students and parents/guardians of Public High Schools – Kingston College, Meadowbrook High, St. Andrew Technical High, Ardenne High, St. Georges College, Wolmer’s Boys’ and Merl Grove High – I would like to express my profound appreciation to the responses made in making the survey questionnaires analytical.
Thanks also to Professor Errol Miller, my previous supervisor, for his contribution.
Finally, to the staff of The Mona School of Business, University of the West Indies; for the patience and tolerance, as I embarked on the writing of this Research Paper.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 2 – METHOD OF APPROACH AND RESEARCH 22
Method of Approach 22
CHAPTER 3 – RESEARCH ANALYSIS 31
Library Collection 31
Ministry Papers 38
CHAPTER 4 – CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 57
Development in any given society includes some form of improvement. Improvement in the educational administration of Public High Schools – a Level 2 type of school on the ‘educational ladder’ – is of utmost importance if society’s goal is to be achieved. In Jamaica, the type of Public High Schools varies from All-Age School to Traditional High School.
The Public High School System is one of government’s not-for-profit (NFP) organization having Boards of Governance. Administrative management in Public High Schools include non-exhaustive items like delegation of responsibilities, succession planning, curriculum administration, political interference, etc. The Principal, a main stakeholder, has a three-fold task: Role, Responsibilities, and Functions. Correcting the problem of poor administration could include (i) Good leadership (ii) Purposeful activity and (iii) Efficiency.
In researching the topic, the following methods were used: Library collections, Ministry papers, and surveys. Library collection consists of books and newspaper articles on management and education. The Ministry papers include
The Education Act, 1980 and The White Paper on Education. Surveys were carried out on stakeholders – Principal, Vice Principal, teachers, parents/guardian and students. Analysis was done on each method.
Finally, a conclusion was done giving rise to recommendations.
Education may be viewed as the panacea for development of any country. Public High school education plays a part in this development. How this school system is administered is of utmost importance. Therefore, improving educational administration in these schools is deemed important to the writer of this research paper.
To demonstrate that a nation’s future is dependent on a well-managed education system, he has selected materials from the literature on management and education that are of direct relevance and interest.
After exploring the literature of the same, to include definitions, school administration and, the job of the Principal, the writer then describe the method to be used in obtaining results for the research to be done. This is then analyzed with a summary conclusion. Finally, recommendations are made based on the conclusion.
Improvement may be seen as a form of development in any given social structure. Education is one such structure. Education, as defined by J. S. Farrant in his book PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF EDUCATION, is the process of learning to live as a useful and acceptable member of the community. This definition is useful, as education is not terminal but is continuous as implied by the word ‘process’. In other words, one never stops learning.
Despite the fact that education may be seen as a process, it needs to be developed. The development of education has a far-reaching effect, and its lack thereof affects the growth of an entire society.
The levels of education is hierarchical in nature says educators, andmay be viewed as a ladder with three main rungs, as illustrated in Figure 1.
The lowest is Level 1 (Primary Education), which is followed by Secondary Education at Level 2, and finally, Level 3 for Tertiary Education students.
From the Figure above, Primary Education is at the base of the ladder with its broad-based structure. More children are educated worldwide at the Primary or Elementary Level than at the Secondary Level. The least number of persons educated at the advanced level are represented at the top of the ladder. However, for the purpose of this research, emphasis will be placed on the second rung of the ladder – Secondary Level.
Development is vital for the sustainability of the education system, so the management of it is of utmost importance if a society is to achieve its goal at the highest level possible. Management at the secondary level calls for an improvement in the way the schools in this level are administered.
In Jamaica, according to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, the school-types at the secondary level varies. The variation is as follows:
( i ) All – Age School
( ii ) Junior High School
( iii ) New High School
( iv ) Traditional High School
This variation is ranked according to school-type recognition by the society in general. The least recognized is the All – Age, while the most recognized is the Traditional High. There should be no difference in school recognition, as this does not auger well for the secondary education system. That is, stakeholders at this level will not co-operate fully in the operation of ‘certain’ schools, while others would get their undivided attention.
A vast majority of these school-types are publicly owned, with very few in the Traditional High being private. Some of the privately run schools were taken over by government recently or, on the verge of becoming public schools.
For secondary education to be accessible to all secondary level students, the government’s take over bid is good, as more students should be able to gain a secondary education at an affordable cost.
ALL – AGE / JUNIOR HIGH
The All – Age and Junior High Schools cater for children between the ages of 12- and 15- years. The latter is a new concept of schooling adapted by the government for students in this age grouping. From observation, there is hardly much difference between the old and the new concepts, except for a name change for the institution.
For the new concept to be embraced by the populace, the government should adopt the concept fully like what occurs in the United States’ Junior High School System.
NEW / TRADITIONAL HIGH
The New and Traditional High Schools cater for children between 12- and 17- years. Since the government introduced a Junior High School system, then instead of the High School concept, they should introduce a Senior High School concept. This would concentrate on the 15 – 17 year group. Thus, the High School, whether new or tradition would include both Junior High and Senior High.
As it exists, the students of those high schools, upon completion at the Grade 11 year, either further their education immediately at the tertiary (Sixth Form / Community College, College, University1) or seek gainful employment.
The success/failure of a 17-year old high school leaver in the society, depends on what occurs at the primary and secondary levels of his/her eleven years of elementary education (6 years of primary and 5 years of secondary). The foundation years (Grades 1-6) are important but, if this foundation is not built on during the high school years (Grades 7-11), then the tertiary level will suffer drastically from a lack of registration of its several programmes that aredesigned to improve the country’s workforce for the future. A lack of improvement leads to a poor social structure, thereby creating more social problems and continued under development.
THE SCHOOL – A GOVERNMENT ENTITY
In trying to alleviate this futuristic problem, improvement in the administration of the public high schools becomes necessary. According to George Steiner, etal; in their book MANAGEMENT POLICY AND STRATEGY, TEXT, READINGS AND CASES: The public high school system is one of government’s not-for-profit (NFP) organization having boards of governance. These boards, they say, represent the government in the school. Government is the most dominant institution in society. Steiner etal, further stated that its policy/strategy making processes literally may mean the difference between life and death to all public high schools and to each of us personally.
Government is the most dominant institution in any given society and so it can make and break any system utilizing its influence. The public high school is certainly no exception, since it is a non-profitable (non-income-generating)
entity. The rewards of this school system to the society are long term, as its benefactors would ‘repay’ after five or more years (the duration of their high school and/or college life).
Steiner etal, reiterate that formulation, implementation evaluation of policy/strategy are important to the improvement of educational administration in the public high school system. They further state: ‘Everything having to do with government and everything the government does is political, for politics is the art and science of government’.
For improvement in the administration of the public high school, formulation, implementation and evaluation are indeed necessary tools to use for policy-making and strategizing. Also, it cannot be overemphasized when it is said that government is political, and that whatever it is involved in is for political gain.
Peter Drucker (Drucker, 1973b) says ‘in a public service institution, whether government or voluntary, management must be concerned with 100 percent of its constituents.’ The constituent of the public high school system is comprised of the main stakeholders. These stakeholders include the teachers, parents, and students.
Management must consider all individuals that affect its operation, and the public high school system is no exception. The administration (Principals and Vice Principals) must formulate, implement, and evaluate its planned goals and strategies based on the involvement of the three main stakeholders in the system, without which there would be no school.
According to Steiner etal, administrative management in public high schools includes the following, which is not exhaustive:
- Delegation of responsibilities
- Succession planning
- Curriculum administration
- Political interference- Time management
- Accounting capability
- Begging syndrome
- Shared education cost
- Decentralizing education
- Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
- Management of discipline
- School supervision (government- administered)
All the above are necessary for the smooth operation of a public school, but some of them should not be a part of the duties of the school administration. Political Interference and the Begging Syndrome ought not to be the responsibility of the Principal and Vice Principal. Political interference or politicking should not even be mentioned among school administrative duties. Public high school should be free from this, as it exists to serve the entire community regardless of political affiliation or persuasion. Even though a school is a ‘not-for-profit’ entity, the government must take full responsibility for its total upkeep.
Administration must not take up their slack of begging. Time is needed to manage the school and to manage it well, so adopting the begging syndrome is not good. If the government wants to beg, then it may do so, but allow the administrators to ‘run’ the school. If an organization wishes to donate to a school, then by all means the school in question should accept it, but to divert from the main duty of managing the school by begging, that does not auger well for school management.
THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Of the three main stakeholders mentioned earlier, the administrative responsibility of the public high school lies with the teachers, in particular the Headteacher or Principal.
According to Samuel Goldwin in his book THE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, the task of the principal is three-fold, i.e.
( i ) Role
( ii ) Responsibility
( iii ) Functions
In describing the role, he sees it as both intraorganizational and extraorganizational. The intraorganizational role of the principal includes managing the
( a ) administration/main office
( b ) Vice Principal(s)
( c ) ancilliary staff
( d ) teachers
( e ) students
On the contrary, the principal’s extraorganizational role involves the management of organizations/groups that are not part of the daily routine tasks of managing the school. Examples of such organizations/groups could be the PTA and the Community Citizens Association.
The intraorganizational role is already a great task, so one would have thought that management of the extraorganizational role would not be a part of the principal’s portfolio. However, ‘if it is’, according to Goodwin, ‘it should be headed by parents’. As exists, PTA’s and Citizens Associations are led by parents and prominent citizens respectively, not Principals.
Goldwin sees the responsibilities of the Principal as follows:
( a ) Use of time
( b ) Delegated and shared tasks
( c ) Responsibility in perspective
Use of time or the management of time he says, includes
- Office routine
- Supervision of teachers
- Professional meeting
- Public relation
- Administration of plant
- Business management
- School board
Time management is important to any institution in life, and administration in public high school is no exception.
With regards to delegated and shared tasks, he said that the principal should be the individual who delegates responsibilities to all stakeholders in the system. Also it is his/her added responsibility to determine what is to be shared or not concerning administration in this school system. That is, for example, the Principal allows the school treasury to be managed by him/her in collaboration with the School Bursar.
Where delegation of responsibility of tasks is concerned, the Principal should not do it alone but, instead work in a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Education or its representative (Board of Governors). The same effort should apply to shared tasks.
Responsibility in perspective, according to Goldwin, refers to middle- and long- term planning for the particular public high school in question.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this strategy, but at least, the long-term planning should engage the will and thought of others, say the stakeholders.
The functions of the Principal, according to Goldwin, is best explained under four headings:
1. Develop the education programme
2. Obtain developing personnel
3. School-Community Relations
4. Managing the school
He further sub-divides each of these headings in trying to clarify himself.
1. To develop the education programme, the Principal needs to
- Organize for instruction
- Develop the curriculum
- Evaluate the programme
- Supervise the programme
In developing the education programme, the terms organize, develop, evaluate and supervise are indeed necessary if improvement is to occur in administering the public high school. Development of the education programme in the school is of utmost importance to not just school managers but all stakeholders.
2. In obtaining developing personnel, the Principal should be directly involved in
- Teacher selection
- Teacher orientation
- Teacher evaluation
- Teacher growth and development.
This should definitely be followed through as stated by Goldwin, because the Principal is the chief educator or headteacher in the school, and it is with him/her the full academic responsibility of the school lies. The Principal must be made accountable if there is teacher-failure.
3. The School-Community Relations function of the Principal
- may be defined according to need (donation, student incentives)
- involves factors in the school – community relations programme (teachers and school image, students and community relations, the PTA)
The definition and need of the school – community relations are not clear, and clarity is necessary to analyse it. However, the involved factors in the relations programme are necessary to the improvement of administration performance in public high schools. Teachers and school image need to be considered seriously, as the wider community’s focus is only on the students and their relations to the community and not on the teachers. Ip so facto, the focus should be more or less equally emphasized on both teachers and students as the both affect the community.
4. Managing the school as a function of the Principal involves
- Student personnel (discipline, guidance and counseling, drop outs, poor attendance, student-teacher relation, student activities, changing enrollments, slow learner, college/university admissions, pupil reporting, special programmes and activities, data collection)
- Finance and business
- Auxilliary services (library, health, transportation)
- Principal and school management itself.
The management function of the Principal to include not only the students but finance and business is an excellent approach to the improvement of administration in the public high school system. Accountability of Principal/Administration ought not to be for student personnel only, but other factors that affect the smooth operation of the school system, of which finance and business are important elements. The fact is, a school cannot operate effectively without proper financial management, and a school is really a business institution that promotes learning.
Auxilliary services ought to be a function of the Principal’s management focus; but what does Goldwin mean by ‘Principal and school management itself’ as a function of the Principal’s management style/focus? It appears to be contradictory.
ANOTHER ‘SCHOOL’ OF THOUGHT
In trying to correct the problem of poor administration in the public high school system, another scholar, J. S. Farrant, in his book PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF EDUCATION, suggests three things that should be utilized for a successful school.
1. Good leadership
2. Purposeful activity
If the Principal/Vice Principal can achieve these things the school will run well and will have a good chance of achieving its educational purpose. But school must never become an end in itself. It cannot produce learning anymore than oil can make a bicycle move. Its purpose is to make things run smoothly and make the best use of the effort expended.
Good school administrators must possess high qualities of leadership, because, like a generals, they cannot win the battle by themselves, but only by inspiring those with whom they serve. Leadership, like authority, does not come readily
to the persons who grab for it. But it comes with knowledge and experience and an understanding of people and human relationships. There is no happier relationship between human partners than when one willingly accepts the leadership and authority of another, who in turn, wholeheartedly seeks the best for both. The test for the administrators’ leadership is to be found in the quality of the personal relationships in the school and the extent to which they have forged the staff into a united team.
If the happy relationships within a school depend largely on the leadership of the Principal/Vice Principal, the technical efficiency depends largely on the effectiveness of the school, which, in turn, is the dependent on the administrators’ ability to plan the school programme of activities, supervise its practice and analyse and assess its results.
Good supervision requires knowledge and experience and the ability to demonstrate practical processes when required. The administrators must adequately supervise the work of the teachers, but must avoid over-supervising. Good supervision is neither too strict nor too slack and varies according to the need for help and guidance.
Only by constantly studying the results of the teaching in the school (and this does not mean only the examination results) can the administrators properly assess how nearly the school is providing a sound education. Assessment requires accurate information that cannot be gained by remaining remote and aloof. It needs persons who know the staff, the students and the jobs intimately by being in touch with them all the time. On the administrator(s) assessment(s) will depend what changes are made in the organization and teaching in the school. Such changes should only be made when there is a clear need.
Administrators have responsibilities beyond the confines of the school, for they are responsible not only to their employer (Ministry of Education) but, to the public and, in particular to the community that the school serves. By their activities, enthusiasm and tact they must forge links with the community that will make the school wanted. Only when there is this relationship can the school play one of its most important functions, namely, an extension of the community’s traditional system of training the young for adulthood. From time to time therefore, administrators must step back and look at themselves and their school and determine how closely they are achieving what they set out to do.
METHOD OF APPROACH AND RESEARCH
Preparing adolescents for adulthood educationally is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the public high school system but, to these young people, the teachers tend to be the most important stakeholder. The Headteacher/Principal and Vice Principal play major roles among the teachers; that of leading or managing. Improvement of this task is vital to the success of an educational institution, and subsequently to the success of young people, all things being equal.
METHOD OF APPROACH
In trying to improve management in the public high school, the writer would utilize library collection, Ministry papers and surveys.
The collection would include books, periodicals, magazines and newspaper articles. The books are texts on education, inclusive of the management of it. Reference will also be made to management texts in general. Weekly and/or monthly magazines will also be explored on the topic under review to aid in the determination of the solution to the improvement of management in education.
Magazines on education and on management will also be utilized. Both the periodicals and the magazines will be local issues (if available) and regional/international issues.
Education articles, with specific reference to the management of education, will be sourced from local, regional, and international tabloids. These newspapers will be referred to, as it would allow the writer to see the issue of management in education in a contemporary manner. That is, it’s current and ongoing.
These papers would be drawn from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture. The main ones that will be focused on however, includes the:
( i ) Education Act (The Education Regulations)
( ii ) White Paper (formerly the Green Paper) on Education.
The Education Act to be utilized is The Education Regulations, 1980 (the latest gazetted publication of the Act on Education). Sections relevant to the issue under review will be cited in order to determine the improvement in the management of education, especially in the public high school.
The 2001 White Paper on Education (formerly the 2000 Green Paper) will also be explored, with emphasis on management in education.
Among the variety of survey methods (questionnaires, interviews, observations, etc.), the writer will focus on the questionnaire. Questions will be asked of the various stakeholders in the public high school education system. Their opinions will be sought in order to determine the outcome of the improvement of management in the system. The choice of participants will be done randomly.
In addition to the texts on education referred to in the previous chapter, different writers shared views on the topic under review.
Management, as defined by J. Stoner and R. Freeman in their book MANAGEMENT, is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the work of organization members and of using all available organizational resources to reach stated organizational goals. The public high school administrator (Principal/Vice Principal) as managers of an organization
(the school) ought to reflect all aspects of this definition.
Planning in schools by school administrators should include courses of action that are established to achieve the institutions’ desired goals. The achievement of such goals is totally dependent on proper planning. Poor planning leads to unachieved objectives, thereby defeating the purpose of good management. Organizing, in the context of the public high school system, may be seen as the collaboration of both the supervisor (administrator) and the supervised (teachers and students) in making the effort to achieve the institution’s stated objectives. The organizing or the coming together of these parties is integral to the success of improved management in the public high school.
Leading involves directing and influencing task-related activities of a group. The leader in the public high school is the administrator. This individual, in leading, should ensure that these task-related activities must be performed effectively for the improvement of educational administration.
Controlling, according to Stoner and Freeman, is the process of ensuring that actual activities conform to planned activities. In the public high school
system, these activities are task-related that must be adhered to in meeting the required objectives of the school to facilitate the improvement of administration.
Education – the process of learning to live as a useful and acceptable member of the community – brings together different people or stakeholders. The coming together of people describes a social setting or broadly speaking, a society. This society consists of humans who form part of the resource of a task environment. This gives rise to Human Resource Management (HRM).
However, HRM – the management function that deals with recruitment, placement, training and development of organization members – will not be viewed within the ambit of its definition only, but from the management of stakeholders as resources to the public high school system as a way of improvement in administration.
The improvement in administration may begin with the administrator. Recruitment of the ‘right’ Principal/Vice Principal by the School Board is a
difficult decision, as sometimes the interviewee for the post, when selected, turns out to be the incorrect choice in the long run. The management style may not be in accordance with the board of management, and therefore deemed unfit for the position.
However, this may not be so, as with training and development, the administrator would show signs of improvement, which may be utilized, in managing subordinates in the system. This, if continued, would lead to an improvement in administration in the public high school.
The recruitment and placement of teachers in the public high school by the Principal/Vice Principal is also important to the improvement of school management. When conducting the interview for teacher placement in the school, the administrator must focus on the quality of the teacher been recruited. Such quality does not hinge on academic qualification only, but on personality, deportment, mannerisms, to mention a few.
Having recruited and placed the teacher in the position, the job of the good administrator has just begun. That is to say, follow-up, in terms of training and development continuously, should be the focus at all times if improvement in
administration is to be a reality.
In the public high school system of Jamaica, administrators have no control over the recruitment and placement of students in their schools. The processes of recruitment and placement is administered by the Ministry of Education through its primary school exit examination now called the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), which replaced the 40 year old Common Entrance Examination (CEE) in 1999.
However, once the students have been placed, then continuous training and development ought to be the focus of the school. This type of training and development is called secondary education, with the bulk of its responsibility been undertaken by the two stakeholders highlighted above, (administrators and teachers). Offering a sound education to these students throughout their five years of schooling is a reason for improvement in administration of the system.
To ensure complete improvement in educational administration, the parents should participate as a stakeholder. They should relate to the school at all times, be it good or bad. For the holistic education of a child, the parent,
teacher (including administrator) and student must have a common understanding of the child/student purpose of secondary education. For effective management of the school system to occur, no two stakeholders must decide for the student’s welfare. The decision must be made by all involved i.e. the teacher, the parent(s), and the student/child himself/herself.
The PTA, in assisting parents, could be involved in the training and development of parental skills, which are not exhaustive. In so doing, parents
will be better able to relate, not only to the teachers, but also to their charges.
The skills of Management and Human Resource Management have a bearing on the improvement of administration in the public high school. The subsequent chapters will unfold this in a more detailed manner.
For administration to be improved in the public high school, one must address the administrator’s style of management for its suitability in a changing society.
Ralph M. Stodgill, a management researcher, has pointed out that “ there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept”. He defined managerial leadership as the process of directing and influencing the task-related activities of group members, similar to Stoner and Freeman in their book MANAGEMENT.
Leadership, according to Stodgill, involves
- other people
- an unequal distribution of power
- the ability to use the different forms of power to influence followers’ behaviours
Other people, in the public high school system, refers to the stakeholders discussed earlier. The Ministry, through its school board, is the leader for the Principal/Vice Principal, while the Principal/Vice Principal in turn, leads the teachers and students, and by extension, the PTA. By their willingness to accept directives from their respective leader, the sub-ordinates help to define the leader’s status, making the leadership process possible.
An unequal distribution of power between superiors and sub-ordinates in the system under review allows superiority to reign. However, subordinates are not powerless, as they can do and shape group activities in a variety of ways. Still, the leader will usually have more power. Power in reward, power to coerce,
legitimate power, referent power, and power of expertise, are just some ways in which the leader proves that he is powerful.
The leader can now use these different forms of power to influence followers’ behaviours in a number of ways. For example, the Principal may influence his teachers to make sacrifice for the good of the students.
The view that leaders are born, not made, is still popular among laypersons, though not among professional researchers. In searching for measurable leadership traits, researchers have
1. compared the traits of those who emerged as leaders with the traits of those who did not, and
2. compared the traits of effective leaders with those of ineffective leaders.
To a certain extent, both sets of research proved somewhat successful, but the behavioural approach to leadership tends to be of a contemporary nature. Instead of trying to figure out what effective leaders were, researchers tried to determine what effective leaders did – how they delegated tasks, how they communicated with and tried to motivate their subordinates, how they carried out their tasks, and so on. Unlike traits, behaviors can be learned, so it followed that individuals trained in appropriate leadership behaviours would be able to lead more effectively.
To operate effectively, a group needed someone to perform two major functions: ‘task-related’ and ‘group-maintenance’. An individual who is able to perform both roles successfully would obviously be an especially effective leader.
These two leadership functions tend to be expressed in two different leadership styles. Managers/Administrators who have a task-oriented style closely supervise employees to be sure the task is performed satisfactorily. Getting the job done is more important to them than employee’s growth or personal satisfaction. Administrators/Managers with an employee-oriented (group- maintenance) style try to motivate rather than control subordinates. They seek friendly, trusting and respectful relationships with employees, who are often allowed to participate in decisions that affect them.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND EVALUATION
‘Reform movements have focused on the issues of governance of school systems and schools, supervision of teachers and accountability, which usually encompasses teacher evaluation’ says Professor Errol Miller in his article Teacher Development in the Caribbean. School governance plays an integral role in school administration. Governance involves participation, decision-making by not just those who governed but those who are governed as well. School governance therefore should involve all teachers, not only the senior ones but classroom teachers also.
The issues of accountability and evaluation should form part of governance especially school governance. According to Miller, there has been quite a bit of discussion about these issues but not much has been introduced which departs
from the traditional patterns related to ad hoc assessments done by education officers and project assessment teams. However, says Professor Miller, in 1994 the Professional Development Unit (PDU) of Jamaica’s Ministry of Education introduced its School Based Principal and Teacher Assessment Programme. The main purpose of the appraisal is teacher development.
The School Incentive Programme is another evaluative-type programme conducted by the Ministry of Education. This programme is conducted on a regional basis where regions establish evaluative teams consisting of Principals and teachers of other regions and Education Officers. These teams visit schools to examine records, inspect building and observe school and classroom practices.
Leadership, accountability and evaluation are but three of the tools required by public high school administrators.
Leadership is important, as without it there can be no direction of any group. In
other words, without a leader, there exists no followers. Without a Headteacher/Principal, there can be no teachers and no students in a public high school. The Principal as leader in the school is vital as without him there would be no exercise of power and no wave of influence. Power and influence are important, as they help in the improvement of the leadership process that is vital to improving educational administration.
Accountability – the responsibility of one’s own actions – is also a significant member of the 3-member management tool kit. To the public high school administrator, this is a very important factor in the management of the school. He is accountable to several stakeholders in the education system such as the Ministry of Education, the School Board, the teachers, the students, parents and the community (both the local and wider). Whenever something goes wrong, the ultimate blame lies with the Principal. Likewise, if the school is exalted, the Principal is to be praised.
Evaluation is a necessary management tool, as it allows a manager to be able to assess the objectives set. The public high school administrator sets various objectives for the students, teachers, and the school itself at the start of a period; be it a term, a year, two years or five years. To test if these objectives are met at the end of the required period, evaluation is done. These may take the form of tests/examinations for students or evaluation assessments for teachers. If the outcome is favourable, then the Principal as leader would have been successful as an administrator. If not, then a scope for improvement would be devised.
THE EDUCATION ACT, 1980
This is the legal document of Jamaica’s education system, be it public or private (independent). It is the Code of Regulations that guides all stakeholders in the education sector. Sections 89, 90 and 91 of the Act (see Appendices) speak to the responsibilities of the administrator, with direct reference made to the Board of Management of which the Principal is a member.
THE WHITE PAPER ON EDUCATION
Successive governments of Jamaica, since the 1962 Independence, have embarked on 5-year plans for the education system of the country. The White Paper (formerly the Green Paper) on education is one of these types of plans being proposed by the current government. With globalization being a reality, the government sees education and training as the path for development. In its commitment to the process of education it says ‘Education must be not only better but different’.
It sees education as
- A partnership agreement between all stakeholders at the national and community levels
- Needing efficient management.
It reiterates that Boards of Management of public educational institutions are agents of the Ministry of Education (that arm of government that deals
specifically with the process). These Boards represent a critical interface between the state and the school community.
The government further stated that the system would be performance-driven and results-oriented. In so doing, they will ensure that
- Performance evaluation instruments be standardized broadly, and be used as part of the process of improving teacher performance and school effectiveness
- School Boards are regularly and appropriately informed about assessments of school performance, Principal performance, and teacher performance
- Systems of accountability and performance management improve performance and win public confidence and trust
- New administrators (Principals and Vice Principals) as well as those administrators in new posts be engaged in contracts which will be performance-related
- Principals and teachers are required to prepare, provide and use the required data as something which both contributes to performance management and to facilitate national policy development, planning and operations
- The Ministry publishes relevant information about school performance.
It is within the jurisdiction of any government to plan and pursue its plans for the education system of the country that it governs. The Education Act, 1980, Section 89 (2) that refers to Section 89 (1) (e) speaks to the delegated responsibility of the Principal (see Appendix I). This allows the Principal, as administrator, to be able to exercise power in leadership. In general, as a member of the Board of Management, the Principal, with the permission of the Board, can behave in accordance with Sections 89 – 91 of the Act that speaks to the Board of Management of public education institutions. This is good, as
not only power in leadership can be utilized, but all aspects of management in education, which if adapted properly and followed through correctly, would enhance the education system; thereby allowing for improvement in educational administration in the public high school.
Referring to the White Paper on Education, the proposals put forward by the government appears to be adequate. They should be adaptable on the platform of globalization as the government seeks to promote development through education and training.
In obtaining stakeholders’ feel as to the management of public high school, a random survey was done. The participants include Principals, Vice Principals, teachers, students and parents, all of whom are involved in some way with the public high school system.
Questions 1-2 of each of the four types of questionnaires were not measured, as they are personal. However, in grouping the respondents, question 2 was used for each. The measurable questions are 3 and upward, (see Appendices for sample of questionnaires). Each of the measurable questions were weighted as follows:
Never / Below average 1
Sometimes / Average 2
Always / Above average 3
The responses were measured in groups, with an overall measurement for each of the four stakeholders.
Administrator (less than 1 year) Administrator (1-3 years)
Response Average Response Average
3 2, 3 2.50 3 2, 3 2.50
4 2, 1 1.50 4 2, 2 2.00
5 1, 1 1.00 5 2, 2 2.00
6 - - - 6 3, 3 3.00
7 3, 1 2.00 7 2, 2 2.00
8 2, 1 1.50 8 2, 2 2.00
9 2, 3 2.50 9 3, 3 3.00
Table 1 Table 2
In Table 1 administrators tend to enjoy their job thinking that their style of management is above average. This is evident in the 2.50 group average obtained in the survey. However, they did not get the opportunity to alter their roles (1.00 group average).
In Table 2 the administrators also rate their management style high (3.00 average) as well as being successful in changes in their roles (3.00 average).
Administrator (3-10 years) Administrator (0ver 10 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 3, 2, 2, 3 2.50 3 3, 2 2.50
4 2, 3, 3, 1 2.25 4 1, 3 2.00
5 2, 3, 3, 2 2.50 5 2, 3 2.50
6 2, 3, 2, 3 2.50 6 2, 2 2.00
7 2, 3, 3, 1 2.25 7 1, 3 2.00
8 2, 3, 2, 1 2.00 8 1, 3 2.00
9 2, 3, 2, 3 2.50 9 3, 3 3.00
Table 3 Table 4
In Table 3 the administrators’ lowest score of 2.00 average says that they would encourage their counterparts in other schools to be involved in role changing sometimes. It must be noted that this experienced group of administrators did not display a maximum rating of 3.00.
Contrary to the administrators of Table 3, the more experienced leaders of Table 4 score a 3.00 average rating of their management style. Significantly
though they score more than one 2.00 average (their lowest score).
Administrator (Overall average)
In Table 5 the overall average of the administrators ranges from a low of 1.90 to a high of 2.70. Most administrators would not encourage their counterparts in other schools to change their roles (1.90 average). However, with an average score of nearly 3.00 (2.70 exactly), they think that their management style is above average.
Teacher (less than 1 year) Teacher (1 – 3 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 2 - 3 2, 3, 2 2.30
4 2 - 4 3, 2, 2 2.30
5 2 - 5 2, 2, 2 2.00
6 2 - 6 2, 2, 2 2.00
7 2 - 7 2, 2, 2 2.00
8 2 - 8 2, 2, 2 2.00
9 2 - < Subject> 9 2, 3, 3 2.40
10 2 - < Form > 10 2, 2, - 2.40
Table 6 Table 7
With only one member of Table 6, group comparisons cannot be made, so no analysis is possible.
The average responses from the group of classroom administrators of Table 7 showed no significant range (2.00 – 2.00), with no outstanding average responses.
Teacher (3 – 10 years) Teacher (over 10 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 2, 2, 3 2.30 3 3,3,2,2,-,3,2,3 2.60
4 3, 2, 2 2.30 4 2,2,2,3,2,2,2,2 2.10
5 2, 1, 2 1.70 5 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,3 2.10
6 2, -, 3 2.50 6 3,2,2,2,2,2,2,2 2.10
7 1, 2, 2 1.70 7 2,2,-,2,1,1,2,- 1.70
8 3, 2, 2 2.30 8 2,2,2,2,2,2,2,3 2.10
9 3, 3, 3 3.00 < Subject > 9 3,3,3,2,3,3,3,- 2.90
10 3, 2, 3 2.70 < Form > 10 -,3,-,3,3,2,2,- 2.60
Table 8 Table 9
In Table 8, this group of experienced classroom administrators rate their style of management as Form Teachers and Subject Teachers as above average (3.00 – Subject Teacher and 2.70 – Form Teacher).
Table 9 shows the more experienced classroom administrators ratings ranging from a low of 1.70 to a high of 2.90. They would not allow their immediate
supervisors (Co-ordinators/Heads of Department) to advise the school administrators to change their particular role of classroom management. On the contrary, they rate their classroom management as a Subject/Form Teacher as above average (2.60 – 2.90).
Teacher (Overall Average)
Question Overall Weighted Average
The overall average of these classroom administrators shown in Table 10 ranges from 1.80 to 2.80. They don’t think that they should encourage their immediate supervisors to allow the school administrators to effect any changes in their classroom management. On the contrary, they are comfortable with their subject management and form management styles with an average score ranging from 2.50 – 2.80.
Parents/Guardian (less than 1 year) Parents/Guardian (1 – 3 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 2, 2, 2 2.00 3 3,3,2,2,3,2 2.50
4 1, 2, 2 1.70 4 2,3,2,2,3,2 2.30
5 3, 2, 2 2.70 5 3,2,2,2,2,2 2.20
6 1, 1, 1 1.00 6 1,2,1,1,1,1 1.20
7 1, 2, 2 1.70 7 1,2,2,2,2,3 2.00
8 1, 1, 1 1.00 8 1,1,1,1,1,1 1.00
9 1, 2, 1 1.30 9 2,2,2,2,2,2 2.00
10 3, 2, 2 2.30 10 3,2,2,2,2,2 2.20
Table 11 Table 12
Table 11 showing the parents/guardian of students in Grade 7 (1st year of Public
High School) rate the management style of teachers/administrators in the range 1.00 – 2.70. The lower range highlights these respondents negligence in questioning the style of management of the school/classroom administrators. They, however, appreciate these administrators management style by scoring an average of 2.70.
The parents/guardian in the group shown in Table 12 whose children/wards have attained at most the Grade 9 Level in the Public High School, have a low of 1.00 average and a high 2.50. The low range indicates that they have never confronted their children’s administrators about their management style. At the higher range of 2.50, this tells that they speak with the administrators frequently.
Table 13 below showing the parents/guardian of senior students (Grades 10-11) had a rating average from 1.00 – 3.00. The low range indicates that they do not confront the management style of the teachers/administrators while the high average of 3.00 says that they always desire a change in the management style of the schools’ leadership. They are not comfortable with mediocre management.
Parents/Guardian (3 – 5 years) Parents/Guardian (Over 5 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 2, 3 2.50 3 3, 3, 3, 3 3.00
4 1, 3 2.00 4 3, 3, 3, 3 3.00
5 1, 2 1.50 5 3, 2, 3, 3 2.75
6 3, 2 2.50 6 1, 2, 1, 1 1.25
7 3, 3 3.00 7 2, 2, 1, 1 1.50
8 1, 1 1.00 8 1, 2, 1, 1 1.25
9 1, 2 1.50 9 2, 2, 1, 2 1.75
10 1, 2 1.50 10 2, 2, 3, 2 2.25
Table 13 Table 14
Table 14 displays experienced parents/guardian with the schools – children/wards have attained 6th Form – showed an average rating that ranges between 1.25 and 3.00. At the lower end (1.25), they never question the teachers’ management style. At the higher range (3.00), they feel comfortable when speaking with the teachers.
Parents/Guardian (Overall Average)
Question Overall Weighted Average
From Table 15, the range of averages among the parents/guardian is 1.10 – 2.50. Most parents/guardian never confront the teachers/administrators about their style of management, as depicted by a low of 1.10. They speak with the teachers/administrators always (2.50 to be exact).
In Table 16 below, the Grade 7 (1st year) students tend not to want to see a
change in the management of their classes nor school (as displayed by a low of 1.50 average). However, surprisingly, this young group has no maximum (3.00) average.
Students (less than 1 year) Students (1 – 3 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 2, 2 2.00 3 3, 2, 2, 3 2.50
4 2, 2 2.00 4 2, 1, 2, 2 1.75
5 3, 2 2.50 5 2, 3, 2, 3 2.50
6 3, 2 2.50 6 3, 3, 2, 3 2.75
7 1, 2 1.50 7 3, 1, 2, 1 1.75
8 1, 2 1.50 8 3, 1, 2, 1 1.75
9 3, 2 2.50 9 2, 3, 2, 3 2.50
10 3, 2 2.50 10 3, 3, 2, 3 2.75
Table 16 Table 17
The students up to Grade 9 Level have a high average of 2.75 in rating the management style of their teachers/administrators as shown in Table 17.
Students (3 – 5 years) Students (over 5 years)
Question Weighted Group Question Weighted Group
Response Average Response Average
3 2, 2, 2, 2 2.00 3 3, 2, 3, 2 2.50
4 2, 3, 2, 1 2.00 4 2, 2, 3, 2 2.25
5 2, 3, 2, 2 2.25 5 2, 2, 2, 2 2.00
6 2, 3, 2, 2 2.25 6 2, 2, 2, 2 2.00
7 2, 1, 2, 3 2.00 7 3, 2, 2, 3 2.50
8 2, 1, 3, 3 2.25 8 3, 2, 2, 3 2.50
9 2, 3, 2, 1 2.00 9 2, 2, 3, 2 2.25
10 2, 3, 2, 1 2.00 10 2, 2, 2, 2 2.00
Table 18 Table 19
The senior students, as depicted by Table 18, rate their teachers/administrators management style between the ranges of 2.00 and 2.25. This is almost average – nothing of significance.
Table 19 showing the 6th Form students’ rating is somewhat similar to the rating given by the senior students (2.00 – 2.50). Again, there is nothing of great significance.
Students (Overall Average)
Question Overall Weighted Average
The students of the Public High School rate their teachers/administrators management style between 2.00 and 2.40 (Table 20). This rating is slightly ‘above’ average. Similar to Tables 18 and 19, there is nothing of significance to speak to in Table 20.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Improvement in the educational administration of Public High School requires good leadership with its power and influence. The influential behaviour of school administrators can be very powerful as it helps in directing subordinates (teachers and students) in the path to take. Power is unequally distributed between superiors and subordinates, but subordinates need to feel that they are not powerless, and that they can exercise their power in various ways. However, superiors still have more power.
The behavioural approach to leadership is contemporary with effective leaders at the core. Effective operations can be ‘task-related’ and ‘group-maintenance’. These two leadership functions can be portrayed by two different styles of leadership. The former emphasized a close supervision of employees in satisfactory task performance – the work is more important than the worker. The latter, on the other hand, displays emphasis on the worker and the workers’interest and welfare – a friendly, trusting and respectful atmosphere prevails.
School Governance, which includes accountability and evaluation, is key to the improvement of educational administration. It involves participation in decision-making by the governed, not just by those who govern. The PDU of the Ministry of Education, in showing signs of its involvement in accountability and evaluation, introduced in 1994, its School Based Principal and Teacher Appraisal Programme. Its main purpose is to appraise teacher development.
Another evaluative-type of programme conducted by the Ministry is the School Incentive Programme. It aims to assess schools and school practices.
The government addresses the issue of education through its Ministry Papers – The Education Act and The White Paper on Education. Sections 89-91 of the former speak to the responsibilities of administrators via the Board of Governors.
Currently, the government is embarking on a review of the education system, so it has tabled in Parliament its white paper on Education. This Paper seeks to address several issues in the education sector, inclusive of the administration of schools. Here, its focus will be on performance and its effect on Principals and their schools. Principals and teachers will be required to prepare, provide and use required data as something which both contributes to performance management and to facilitate national policy development, planning and operations.
All stakeholders in the sector have an impact on the education system, so their feedback is necessary if improvement is to become a reality. The Principal, Vice Principal, teachers, students and parents/guardian all have an effect on the daily operations of the school, so their input is very important.
In the survey done, involving these stakeholders, a summary of the results obtained is as follows:
- The administrators (Principals and Vice Principals) themselves are satisfied with their style of management and performance.
- The teachers believe that the administrators should not effect any changes to their roles as classroom teachers, as they also think thatthey are doing a good job in performing their duties.
- The parents/guardian seem to be comfortable with the style of management of the schools’ administrators as they do not confront them about it, seeing that they hold frequent talks with them.
- The students, however, do not show great appreciation for their teachers/administrators leadership style as they see it as simply average from the survey done.
Improving educational administration in Public High Schools has become a necessity with the changing trends in a globalized world. The management style in the teaching-learning environment at the secondary education level must improve to enable individuals to function at least at this elementary level in the world of globalization aided by technology. But, what has been done to effect this improvement? Who is responsible to cause the improvement to occur? These and more questions need to be answered if improvement in educational administration in the Public High School is to become a reality.
Management of the education system, accountability, and trust are but three of the basic steps that must be considered for this improvement to occur.
The authorities must monitor the education system closely. These include the government (Ministry of Education) and the Schools’ Boards of Governors. In monitoring, the Ministry through its officers (Education Officers), should make monthly checks on schools. In so doing, it would be in a better position to make adequate decisions concerning the proper management of the schools.
The Board of Governors can do weekly checks in order to keep a tab on the routine operation by the administration. By doing this, the Board would be in a better position to share with the school’s administrators, the performance level, and suggest ways to improve or enhance administrative duties.
These regular checks would allow administrators to always be mindful of their management skills, knowing that the authorities are constantly monitoring them. This would enable them to improve in their administrative duties at all times.
Therefore, with the constant input of the authorities, causing the administrators to always want to improve, improvement in educational administration in the Public High School would become a reality.
Accountability has become a buzzword in Public Sector Management in recent times. But, is it of necessity to the education system? Not just accountability should be encouraged, but tighter accountability. This should be practiced at all stages in the system. The school administrators should be accountable to the Board of Governors. The Board, in turn, should be accountable to the government (Ministry of Education). The government must be accountable to the citizens of the country. So, if there is a breakdown, then all parties involved should be made responsible; as ‘a chain is as strong as its weakest link’.
Systems of tighter accountability should be put in place where constant reportability must be done weekly, monthly and termly (every four months). With this tighter accountability, improvement in educational administration in the Public High School would become a reality.
A third basic step to enable improvement in administration is trust. Low trust is evident in the education system. This is so because of the weak accountability existing that results from the fear of job losses, where applicable. The relationship that captures this low trust system is the Principal-teacher connection. The teachers tend to make the task of the administrator difficult at times, as he is viewed as the master in a slave-master relationship. With a difficult task, comes poor administration.
To improve this, a climate of high trust must exist. This may be achieved through harmonious relationships between varying parties. The administrator, for example, should aim to create a worry-free climate among his staff by allowing them to participate in the decision-making of the school. The staff, on the other hand, should participate freely by responding positively to the gesture.
This type of communication not only fosters nor build trust but, eventually cause an improvement in educational administration in the Public High School a reality.
In addition to the three basic steps mentioned, evaluation or performance appraisal is yet another step to be considered in the improvement of educational administration. Performance Appraisal has been the measurement tool used by the business sector in their evaluation process, but can it be adapted to the education sector? Is this the way to measure the performance of educators, in particular Public High School administrators?
The business entity has long being assessing their employees by appraising their performance. This appraisal is tied to awards. These awards include increase in remuneration, additional fringe benefits, recognition by way of awards functions, and the popular ‘employee of the quarter’ and ‘employee of the year’.
The Ministry of Education, through its White Paper on Education, has suggested its willingness to evaluate performance by standardizing the instruments that are currently being used to measure teacher performance as a means of improving school effectiveness. It further reiterates that administrators will be hired on contracts, and that these will be performance related. So, if the administrator does not perform effectively, based on the Ministry’s criteria, then he will not be re-hired. This is good, but interim measures should be put in place to award administrators. Re-hiring may mean increase in remuneration and obtaining additional benefits, but what of interim awards like recognition for good work during the contract period, especially for those administrators who will not be eligible for contract renewal.
Finally, the job of improving educational administration in Public High Schools is a difficult one, which must be carefully considered when being administered. There is no right way to carry out this task, but knowing what to utilize in performing the task is of utmost importance. Improvement in administration at this level of the education system ought to be a priority as it paves the way for a young person’s future which he hopes to pursue at the next level, in order to contribute to the development of the society.
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