R P Devgan: A school is as good as its Head and its Management

Mr Devgan with Ms Neelam Sharma
Principal at The Iconic School
Learning Forward India (LFIN) with programmes like “My Good School”, “ Happy Teachers” and ”Schools Can Change”, shows great concern for the welfare, happiness and the future of students. Our children need to be guided with affection, understanding, great care and respect.

To have a happy environment in a school, we need intelligent and experienced management, one that leaves the day to day running of the school to professionals/principals and not hang over them like a sword of Damocles, because principals need the freedom to be innovative.

Far too many Boards of  Governors and Management Committees of schools interfere in the running of a school. They have little idea of running an educational institute, yet set up offices in the school premises. This does not go well with the teachers, parents or students. The management can keep a benevolent eye on the school and help the Principal run it, not undermine his position.

The trend of appointing Principals who have no educational experience of running a school usually tends to end in disaster with the victims being the teaching staff and the students. Simply picking up Heads of schools from other professions has never worked. The most unfortunate thing about these appointments is the resentment and fear it creates.

One has too often seen management arbitrarily change competent Heads and replace them with ones who have little or worse, a misguided idea of what a school is about. We must deeply reflect on the repercussions of such acts since it’s the helpless children who eventually suffer when a well-run school is suddenly turned upside down and staff and students are reduced to mere spectators.

Staff and children who have been sailing through successfully are confronted with dealing with a Head who pushes his way through, imposing himself on the school.  This is dangerous because once the fabric of the school is torn, it is almost impossible to sew and it becomes painful to see students who were blossoming, face hurdles not of their own making. Incompetent management tends to be oblivious to these intangibles.
Children, especially in their teens need security, role models, a sense of justice and people around them who genuinely care for them and respect their views.
Bad management of schools leads to dissatisfied youth and there may be little worse than producing cynical children. We need students who have a sense of responsibility, compassion and service, i.e. students who will look after their society and community and lead by example.

I feel very strongly about all this because I have seen this happen a bit too frequently. Extremely talented children land up in the hands of incompetent Heads and suffer. Their talent is nipped in the bud. These children and Staff surely deserve a better deal.
Mr Rajinder Pal Devgan is Chairman Learning Forward India  
Email: rpdevgan@gmail.com

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