With Azim Premji Foundation
Cohesive District Education Leadership Development Program (CD-ELDP), a program implemented by Policy Planning Unit, is a joint initiative of Department of Public Instruction and SSA Karnataka along with Azim Premji Foundation with support from UNICEF. A very important component of CD-ELDP is School Leadership Development Program (SLDP). Five Regional Resource Institutes (RRIs) namely EFIL, V-Lead, Vidya Poshak, C-LAMPS and KSTC have been assigned the responsibility to implement SLDP in 7 districts of Karnataka. EFIL was the RRI for Chitradurga and Chikaballapur districts. Six blocks from both districts witnessed SLDP implementation. The blocks were – Chitradurga (Direct approach – Chitradurga, Indirect approach – Challakere and Molakalmur); Chikaballapur (Direct approach – Chintamani, Indirect approach – Chikaballapur and Shidlaghatta). Program Objectives •Motivating all stakeholders from school to district level - education functionaries, resource persons, parents, people’s representatives, other allied departments and community - to actively participate in the school development process for achieving quality education. •Building a common vision towards school development amongst all stakeholders. The innovative Training-Application-Coaching method was adopted in the program. The salient features of this method are: •Adult learning principles were used; self-conceptualization, building on one’s own experience, preparedness and motivation to learn. •By extending the circle of influence, the relationship with the surrounding environment would be strengthened, thereby increasing personal effectiveness at work. •An environment conducive to learning was provided to participants where they actively engage in the process of development through self-reflection (reflective practice) and free exchange of views in a participatory learning environment with peers. The participants have to first transform themselves into ‘change agents’ to bring about a positive shift in their surroundings in the education system. They have to be open to change. To help them in this endeavor, personal effectiveness trainings were provided. The participants were equipped with the tools necessary to enhance their knowledge and skills on education leadership development and to build their own perspective, thereby developing a positive attitude. In the application stage, the participants applied their learnings by implementing simple projects in their respective schools. They identified specific needs of the schools and evolved systematic plans to address them. For example: establishment of school library, resource mobilization, improving parent-teacher cohesion, etc. All stakeholders were involved in the process of implementation of the school development plans. Necessary mentoring support and guidance was provided by the facilitators (Resource Persons/BRPs) to the participants. This cooperation between facilitators and participants continued even beyond the application stage. The school development process was strengthened with the active participation of all stakeholders including the community.
Through EDC, EFIL developed audio series to reach 30000 government schools in Karnataka. The main content used for the audio series is based on our concepts and work over two decades. These understandings form the essence and are reinforced time and again in relevant contexts, throughout the audio series. The series is in Kannada language and medium of instruction is in Kannada. Approach • Working with cause: Our content revolves around the understanding that for any significant and sustainable change to take place, one has to work with the causes and not the symptoms. Working with the symptoms would solve the problem temporarily but doesn’t bring any lasting benefit. In the life education context, this understanding is extrapolated to our values and beliefs. ‘Values are nothing but the beliefs we hold within us that guide our action in any given context. Some of these beliefs are known, while others are unknown, yet they govern my actions.’ One of the main processes followed is to decipher one’s beliefs and modify them or form new ones that are facilitative to the context. Working with the behavior would be dealing with the symptoms, whereas tackling beliefs would be working with causes for sustaining results. Understanding the process of belief formation empowers and leaves the individual with a facilitative choice. • Inside out approach & Implication theory: All our processes and content are based on an inside-out approach. It is our strong belie that real change would take place only when the realization to change appears in the individual. Hence it is important to feel the need for learning and change from within to be able to take accountability for the same. Another important dimension is the ‘implication theory’, which states that every choice one makes has certain implication. When I am aware of the same, my choices are much more mindful and appropriate. Also, when I take accountability for my choices and actions, I am ready to face the implication that follows and learn from whatever it presents in the life context. • Learning through parables: Stories and parables are a powerful medium to provide an external trigger to start the process of self-enquiry towards introspection and ultimately internalizing the learning for self. The premise considered is that life is nothing but a series of stories in the form of experiences and the characters in the story are nowhere outside of us. What we learn from these stories start to become a part of us in the way it manifests in our behavior. Being mindful of the same enables each of us to be lifelong learners and evolve with every passing frame of life. Hence learning through parables and stories not only adds interest to the learning but takes them on the journey of self-discovery. The process moves from the experiential level (identifying stories in life) to introspective level (internalizing the learning).
Leadership Handbooks for Madrasa
The objective of this initiative was to design and develop a Handbook for Madrasa Leaders, in English and Urdu. Around 50 Madrasa Heads were reached. The Purpose of the handbook •A valuable resource for the holistic development of Madrasa as a robust and efficient organization. •A Self-improvement journal to help a Madrasa Head grow into an effective leader and contributor. •A timely reference guide to help a Madrasa Head network with critical people, initiatives and organizations to take forward the vision of the Madrasa. Excerpts from the handbook Here are some select sections from the handbook: (Need) WHY is this manual useful/important? This manual is built on certain fundamental premises and assumptions. Understanding them would help you take the maximum benefit from its contents. Knowing your capabilities “It is important to know what one is capable of…but it is more important to know what one is using one’s capabilities for.” - J M Sampath As a leader and educator, each of you is bestowed with specific qualities and have developed many capabilities. Though it is essential to know of your own strengths and capabilities, it is even more important to know what these capabilities are being used for and how are they benefiting you and your Madrasa. Just to give a very direct example, ‘A knife in the hands of a doctor can save a life and in the hands of a dacoit can take a life. The knife as an entity is just a knife, what becomes of it depends on how it is being used.’ Similarly each of the qualities and capabilities that you possess, can become truly worthy and meaningful if you are also aware of where they are being used and what results are they yielding. This self analysis is an essential step to becoming an exceptional leader and evolving the standards of your Madrasa to become what it is truly capable of becoming. Hence this manual plays an integral role in guiding you to: •Identify your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES •HONE and DEVELOP your strengths and OVERCOME your limitations •Identify NEW QUALITIES which you need to develop further. •APPLY and INTEGRATE the learnings towards the betterment of the Madrasa. Challenges – stepping stones to success As a leader and educator, you are faced with new and varied challenges throughout the year. It could be in the form of periodic bottlenecks like non-availability of funds, lack of admissions or it could be long term challenges like building physical infrastructure, managing teacher retention, getting community support etc. Whatever be the nature and extent of these challenges, bottle necks and difficulties, each of you would agree that these are a vital part of any living entity. Though you hardly have a choice to avoid them, you have the complete choice and power to deal with them in a way it turns to your advantage. As a leader, you have to understand that these very issues and challenges can become valuable stepping stones if they are dealt with in the right way and used as an opportunity to learn from. Hence this manual is a guide to help you: •IDENTIFY challenges •ANALYSE them •DEAL with them in the most APPROPRIATE manner •LEARN from them •CONVERT the learnings into a valuable platform for growth. (Context / Relevance) WHEN and WHERE to use this manual? It is a known fact that the challenges and concerns faced by one Madrasa may be very different from that of another Madrasa. Similarly the utmost concern at one point of time, may be replaced by something very different at another time. Hence it has been a conscious effort to keep the concepts and methodologies generic enough, such that every leader can apply them to their own context and relevant areas of concern, and make a positive difference. Also for the same leader, as their Madrasa grows in size and quality, the challenges and concerns would change and so would the threshold expected out of you to face them with confidence. This also makes the manual a reference material beyond time, because at any point of time, the aspects that take utmost concern and priority can be analyzed and implemented using the various guidelines given in the sections. The methods can be applied again and again, to become an integral part of your thinking and action. (Users) WHO can benefit from this manual? Any individual who is a willing learner can make the most of the contents of the manual. But one must approach it with an open mind and a genuine will to learn and grow. There may be times when your identity as a leader or an executor is questioned. There are also chances that you find it uneasy to accept specific observations. Leader views the contents in a very objective way and attempts to understand the significance of what is being conveyed, rather than taking them as a personal remark. By being fair and open minded, you will be able to make the most of the feedback given and constructively use it for your own growth and improvement. Also it is very essential to understand that as a leader and educator, you are not only influencing the organization in a very significant way but also building a particular culture that percolates to every level. The ideals you follow, processes you believe in and deal with challenges and opportunities are getting embedded into the culture of your organization, which is being adopted by the other stakeholders such your teachers, staff, students and eventually the community impacted by them. Hence every change you wish to see in your teachers, staff, students or in the entire functioning of the Madrasa, starts from a critical starting point which is YOU. (Instructions) HOW to use this manual? Chapter 1 is a current assessment of you as a leader and your Madrasa as an organization. Compilation of your thoughts in one place makes it easy for quick reference. They are also an essential lead for chapter 2. Chapter 2 provides a conceptual framework and puts forth an understanding which can be referred time and again and used in different contexts. As you go into each section in detail, you would understand the steps you need to follow. It is recommended you go in the order the manual is designed for a cumulative benefit. Chapter 3 is a compilation of information and contacts which is up-to-date at the time of dissemination of the manual (January 2012). This data needs to be updated as time passes, and you are requested to keep adding to this database, to have one natural point of reference.