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Maintaining high levels of effectiveness in schools

Educational Journey with EPHAT MUDENDA
PEOPLE who appreciate the benefits that education offers will not only be interested in its provision but will fully support it through whatever means possible.
Parents can support school programmes by ensuring that their children are psychologically ready to be in class to acquire knowledge. This is in addition to their obligation of providing financial and other material support for learning institutions’ operations.
Frequent communication between schools and parents is also important if schools are to function effectively. When community members are allowed to participate in the general governance of institutions of learning, for example, through parent-teacher associations (PTA) and school boards, there is a sense of ownership of programmes by communities, as they have meaningful authority to participate in various undertakings.
Therefore, everyone is keen to contribute to the well-being of an institution of learning. With that, head teachers and principals cannot monopolise the authority.
Effective delegation of authority and responsibility improves the way schools operate. There must be room for officers at provincial and district levels to make decisions that they feel will help education institutions to attain the desired quality education. Besides communicating their expectations to schools and colleges, these officers are expected to provide services in a fair manner, for example, in terms of deploying teachers in both rural and urban areas.
Although provision of textbooks and other materials may not be a big problem, it is important to ensure that they are in an appropriate language. They should also have relevant content and must be in sufficient quantities that will cater for all learners in a particular school.
Guides are important for teachers, for it is easy for them to follow the syllabus; what exactly they must teach, how to teach, as well as how to evaluate their lessons and students’ work.
An effective system places emphasis on reasonable numbers of learners in a classroom with regard to the teacher-pupil ratio. If the aim is to provide quality education, then classrooms should not be congested. Obvious necessities include desks, boards, chalk and proper visual aids.
In an education set-up, the concept of ‘efficient leadership’ refers to leaders in institutions of learning – principals, headmasters, etc – who are able to ensure that all necessary resources are available in order to provide adequate support to all staff, see to it that infrastructure is well maintained, and that there are sufficient materials for effective learning to take place.
These also clearly pursue high educational standards in the way they offer direction such as by stating the school’s mission and vision, in addition to curriculum goals and expected behaviours among all stakeholders, including members of communities, instructors and learners.
The administrators’ efforts must be directed towards the central focus of their respective institutions, that is, teaching and learning. So, co-ordination and management of these activities is very important. School managers are expected to maintain both their visibility and accessibility, communicate and meet regularly with their fellow teachers and parents.
Academic members of staff should be those that the education system, communities, parents, guardians and students themselves consider as being good and well qualified to undertake schoolwork with efficiency. Their handling of materials and knowledge they impart to learners should be masterly.
For the sake of stability in an institution, majority should be full-time teachers who spend every school day working on a complete teaching schedule. The longer staff work together, the better. As they focus on increasing performance in schools, heads and teachers should have autonomy and flexibility in terms of how they use resources. And authorities should be innovative enough to ensure they have various income-generating sources.
Also, the learning environment should be one that fully sustains the attention of students, considering the fact that school is where they spend more days per year and are actively engaged in longer daily school hours.
Students are expected to work hard and excel academically. Schools are places that offer opportunities for young people to become responsible in life. Positive teacher attitude is important. Teachers who exhibit high levels of confidence are an inspiration to their students. This works well especially if they are also fully committed to their teaching and show care to those under them.
In a well-organised school, order and discipline are evident. To a large extent, rules and regulations are maintained. Learning and extracurricular activities are well organised and are aimed at all-round development of the learners.
emudenda@daily-mail.co.zm/ephatm@yahoo.com

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