Pressure mounts on school principals

Enormous pressure continues to mount on the modern-day school principal. Their yesteryear counterparts equally shouldered the same responsibilities, albeit subjected to a relatively low pressure.

Four decades ago, public schools were small both in terms of physical size and student numbers and therefore they were relatively easy to govern. Seemingly founded on the principle that mission failure was not an option, most schools acquitted themselves academically. At the time, it did not matter much who led which school because of the story of success that characterised the times.

However, today’s school principals are closely watched and monitored because of the nagging and persistent culture of low student outcomes. Whenever there is a change of guard, whether it is in a chronically low achieving or top achieving school, it is always accompanied and greeted by a feeling of apprehension and uncertainty among members of staff, students, parents and other stakeholders. This is for a very good cause. Everyone now recognises the intimacy between the calibre of the school leader and learning outcomes. This is why the arrival or departure of a school principal is a big story, which can seal the fortunes of students for better or worse. The principal is the hub of a school. One cannot over emphasise the fact that for a school to tick, the principal should marshal both financial and human resources, ensuring appropriate deployment and alignment of the budget with priorities while helping the troops to find its purpose. Clarity of purpose creates a sense of unity and synergy in the team.

Editor's Comment
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