Person to follow (guru)
The participants were asked whether they follow any leader or whether they have an influential person in their life, who has motivated their work as a school leader. Hasan answered that he was influenced by the head teacher from his student life in secondary school. He was also motivated by his father. He stated: “My father was a knowledgeable person. I was influenced by the words of my father regarding leadership”. Shahid had one head teacher in his school by who motivated him in regard to headship as he described:
I joined this school in 1973. At that time the head teacher was Mr. Ashraf. He was a good head teacher. He was a man of strict principles. He used to follow the managerial style in leading the school. He was a successful head of the school. I follow his style of leadership.
Two head teachers in this study were influenced by their previous head teachers. They followed their seniors to lead the school. In some cases family members also influenced them in their work as a leader.
The head teachers were asked about their leadership training. Three of them have had leadership training from government organisations, for example, the Government Teachers’ Training College (TTC). They attended a 21 day professional training course which was run by the Ministry of Education. However, one of them has not had any leadership training:
I have no specific leadership training, but I learnt about leadership when I did my B.Ed. degree from Teachers’ Training College. I attended some co-curricular activities at the time of my study and got chance to lead the trainees.
Shahid could not remember about the leadership training he had. He states: “Sorry! I cannot remember about any leadership training. I will tell you later”. Rahim had his training from Rajshahi Teachers’ Training College. He said:
I attended an administrative training after I was appointed as a head teacher. It was a 21 day long training at the teachers’ training college. I learnt many things about leading the school. I also learnt how we can make teaching and learning more successful. There were discussions about administrative matters. There was a session on ‘gender’ also. All of the topics regarding school operations were there. It was funded by the TQI-SEP project of the Ministry of Education.
Karim got his leadership training from several organisations. He explained:
I have had leadership training. To be a good head teacher I must have the training. Basically I got training on ‘educational administration’ at the time of my B.Ed. course at teachers’ training college. I also got training from NAEM, TTC, DEO office and under different education project from government and non-government organisations.
Most of the school leaders recieved leadership training in their B.Ed. training course, which is one of the requirements to be appointed as a head teacher. Although their training for the role of head teacher has been limited, they think that training is very important in order for head teachers to be effective and efficient.
Vision for school
The head teachers were asked about their dream or vision for their school. All of them said that they want to improve the school. They want to change their schools and upgrade the quality of education through academic and infrastructure development. Hasan described his dream as: “My target is to build a good school. I want to present a good school for the people of the area. I want to make my school as an ideal school of the area”.
When asked what he means by ‘ideal school’, he said:
I want my school to be a result oriented school. Every year we have several public examinations (JSC and SSC). I want good results from the students in these examinations. Besides academic result I want that students to be taught moral character. I want my students to develop as ideal people in their future lives. I think that education without morality is just a ‘paper certificate’. I want to make them ‘full fledged human beings’ in my school.
Rahim wants his school to be ‘number one’ in his area: “Head teachers have dreams for their schools. I have also a dream. My dream is to take my school to such a position that other schools of the town will follow it”.
Karim described his dream in this way:
My dream is to make this school one of the best schools in the district. Not only traditional bookish knowledge, I want my students to learn technology and culture. Present government has declared to build up the country as ‘Digital Bangladesh’. I wish for my students to be the ‘digital citizens’ of ‘digital Bangladesh’ in the future.
All the head teachers want the best academic results from their students. They desire intellectual and moral growth of their students. They also intend to provide technological education to the students. It seems that they have realised the necessity of information and communication technology (ICT) learning for the students. This goal is consistent with the current goal of the government of Bangladesh, who state in their election manifesto that they will build a ‘digital Bangladesh’.
Head teacher and assistant head teacher
The head teachers were asked how they work with the assistant head teachers. Three of the head teachers did not have an assistant at this time and these positions had been vacant for a long time. One head teacher, Rahim, had recently been promoted to head teacher from assistant head teacher. He has 16 years experience of assistantship but he had no assistant at the time of the interviews. The school managing committee had appointed a senior teacher to act as his deputy. He stated:
SMC has appointed a senior teacher by verbal order to act for the assistant head teacher. He does the duty which I delegate to him. As he is not a fully fledged head teacher he is not responsible for all the duties. He only does what I want him to do but he does not do anything from his own will.
After joining as the head teacher of the school Shahid also did not have a deputy. He said about the recruitment of his deputy:
I have tried several times to recruit an assistant head teacher for my school, but for unavoidable reasons I could not do it. One of the senior teachers, who is acting as my deputy at this moment, is not sincere enough to act. He has a ‘damn care’ (do not care for anybody) type behaviour.
Hasan thinks that like the head teacher, the assistant head teacher is also a leader of the school. After the head teacher he is the person responsible for care of the school. He helps the head teacher in many ways. Hasan described how his deputy helps:
I delegate some work to my deputy to help me. He prepares the class routines, maintain the stop gap (relief teacher) routine, preparing examination schedule and moderating question papers. He discuss with me before preparing these things. We work for each other by mutual cooperation. I honour him; I love him as a head teacher. If I do not honour him he would not work properly. It would be my loss if I do not get cooperation from my deputy.
Karim is also suffering from not having a deputy. For a long time he has not had an assistant head teacher for his school. The last assistant head teacher went to another school and since then the post has been vacant. He disclosed crucial information to why he was not able to recruit a new assistant head teacher. He said: “It has not been possible to recruit a new assistant head teacher because of conflict among the members of the SMC and divisions among the teachers”.
Karim has found a way to let teachers work as assistants. He selects two or three teachers from the senior teachers to work with him as assistant head teachers. He has discussions with the assistant head teachers and involves them in decision making. They help him in many ways like preparing class routines, managing the sessions of the absent teachers, and preparing question papers for examinations.
SHEIKH MOHAMMAD ALI: Assistant Professor in Education, Govt. Teachers’ Training College, Rangpur, Bangladesh.