British Council and VVOB Collaboration on School Leadership
The Healthy Learning Programme recently partnered with the British Council to train 25 head teachers in School Leadership. These included 12 head teachers from Healthy Learning (HL) Schools and 2 education field officers. The 3 day training took place from 18th – 20th June 2012 in Nakuru. VVOB staff also attended the training.
Some of the key areas covered included team building; creating and communicating a vision; leading effective teaching and learning; the power of coaching; leadership styles; pupil’s voice; leading change; and building a school culture.
Mrs Elizabeth Maundu, a head teacher from Kivandini Primary School says she learnt “an effective school leader needs to encourage participation of pupils and of parents and that there is need to pay more attention to the motivation of teachers”.
On the other hand Mrs Veronica Nzunzi, says she “became much more aware of the need to manage time better by establishing what is important and urgent, by planning and organizing better and by removing time wasters”. She is the head teacher of Mukima Primary School, another HL school.
Following the training, each individual teacher committed to implementing some change in their leadership style. Most HL participants made concrete plans to improve the school vision and mission, to enhance teacher motivation (through strengthening the team spirit in the school, re-introduction of teachers’ coaching) and to improve academic performance and teaching excellence. They also committed to strengthening or introducing student’s councils, to enhance linkages with parents and the community. Few promised to improve on time management or to introduce a suggestion box.
Mr. Geoffrey Wathobio, a district education officer supervising HL from the Ministry of Education and a participant in this training mentions that “the training on school leadership is long overdue as it is very effective in reminding the head teacher (s)he is accountable for what happens at the school and therefore (s)he needs to inspire, motivate and promote team work. He is also required to network with a variety of stakeholders and walk the talk”.
Research conducted by the British Council in Kenya shows that the majority of school heads in Kenya have not been exposed to meaningful leadership skills development. Indeed 91% of these teachers are eager to improve their leadership skills. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) echoed the same sentiments when they conducted a similar survey. The school leadership programme has been ongoing in Kenya since 2009 through collaboration between the British Council, the TSC and the Kenya Primary School Heads Association (KEPSHA).
The HL team and the district officers will be involved in monitoring the trained teachers and in mentoring and facilitating peer counseling.
This training hopefully opens doors to further future collaboration between VVOB and British Council in the areas of school leadership. School leadership and management is one of the key areas in which VVOB intends to specialize in future. As it is extremely relevant for the Kenyan context, VVOB Kenya is trying to attract donor interest for this endeavor.