School Management and Improved Practices
Gilberto Daniel is a professor at the Pedagogical University (UP) in Nampula. Since last year he has been working with the USAID|Aprender a Ler project as a trainer and supervisor in the School Management component.
Throughout his time on the project, Gilberto Daniel says he has seen considerable changes in the way schools are being managed. Many of the common practices, such as tardiness and missing lesson plans, which often jeopardize the functioning of a school, have been improved through routines taught in the ApaL trainings.
Gilberto Daniel mentioned that things like the School Management Tools (SMTs) provided by the project have helped in controlling what goes on in educational institutions, but they are also responsible for many of the new management practices seen by supervisors in their visits and help to adapt the new routines in each context. He describes his experience and observations below:
“One of the strengths throughout the ApaL methodology has been to formally incorporate group sessions and allow participants to share experiences as they learn with the tools provided by the program. Many of the directors and coordinators have been working in the sector for many years without any formal training, but they bring with them many valuable experiences which help the new crop of educators.
In the work we had done earlier with these education sector veterans, I noticed that many of them were using their past experiences to convey the new routines used in the ApaL program. For example, many of them understood the necessity of conducting supervision visits, but were not sure how involved they should be, which methodologies to use, and which strategies work best. This was also the case when we started working with the School Councils in trying to get the community involved in the schools. We noted difficulties in conveying these new concepts at the district and ZIP level and focused on these challenges in each visit with them thereafter.
Over time they have improved throughout the trainings given by the USAID|ApaL team. Many trained school directors are now adapting the new approaches with their previous experiences and realize that management is something that requires competence, training, self-discipline, and an open mind. Ultimately, along with the directors and ZIP Coordinators themselves, the SDEJT technicians and other MINEDH partners will have to make sure supervision and support will continue to take place at the ZIP and school levels.”