On August 7, 2013, Central Square Foundation (CSF) in partnership with the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) held its second media workshop at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi around the theme “Are school leaders the missing link in quality improvement?”
The speakers for the workshop were Ashish Dhawan, Founder and Chairman, Central Square Foundation, Aditya Natraj, Founder of Kaivalya Education Foundation and the Gandhi Fellowship, and Dr. Kashyapi Awasthi from NUEPA. Professor R. Govinda, the Vice-Chancellor of NUEPA moderated the discussion.
Following Professor Govinda’s opening remarks, Ashish Dhawan highlighted international best practices around school leadership, discussing the need to make it a national priority for India. Evidence from around the world indicates that principals are the highest point of leverage in a school, accounting for 25% of a school’s impact on student achievement, according to a study by New Leaders for New Schools. However, little importance is currently placed on how school leaders are selected, trained and supported in India.
Aditya Natraj, who has worked extensively in this field, narrated his experience working with government school principals through the Principal Leadership Development Programme conducted by the Kaivalya Education Foundation. This initiative builds the capacity of government school headmasters through a part-time three-year leadership programme that includes various projects, workshops and peer-learning. The first cohort of head masters in the programme showed growth across the key competencies by which Kaivalya measures impact. Aditya also offered perspective on state-level interventions on school leadership in Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal, where some version of a school leader eligibility test requirement has been adopted.
Dr. Kashyapi Awasthi discussed the National Centre for School Leadership (NCSL), set up under NUEPA with a vision to transform ordinary schools into schools of excellence. NCSL aims to build a variety of programmes to train, develop and support school leaders in India.
Presentations were followed by a question and answer session with the audience addressing challenges and learnings of state bodies, NGOs and foundations that work with teachers and school leaders.
More than 40 participants attended the workshop, including school principals, policymakers, and representatives from education NGOs and civil society organizations as well as 14 media representatives from leading dailies and TV channels.