School Leadership Influence on Pupil Performance

I’ve seen reports in the past that suggested that the influence of quality of leadership in schools was more important (i.e. greater impact) than in business and commercial areas . However, it was many years since I saw anything that attempted to quantify the scale of that impact. So, I was particularly happy to find this report with a link to download a University of Minnesota report on a 6-year study looking in to this very issue. Whilst it’s written in an American context, I believe it still offers useful learning and insight for those of us in Indian education.

Minnesota Article with Report downloadable

The message ringing through loud and clear is that we would be most foolish to underestimate the critical importance of educational leadership. The report clearly suggests that it’s second only to the quality of classroom instruction in determining pupil performance. This being the case it links to one of my biggest concerns over the last few years – where are the Institutes or mechanisms in India on sufficient scale to develop educators to be ready to take up leadership roles and to do so effectively? Without such Institutes or mechanisms on sufficient scale there must always be a question over the extent to which teachers can be blamed for the lack of quality education when their leaders lack professional development.

There should be everything from informal development opportunities, to more structured diplomas and even MBA courses in Academic Administration available from top management institutes. I want to see a scenario where there are thousands of trained, professional education leaders to fill the roles of Principals and Vice Principals bringing about a revolution in the quality of schools, the leadership that teachers receive and ultimately the educational experience for lakhs of children.

There certainly are, already, outstanding education leaders around (TSRS is fortunate to have some of the very best), but they are way too few. I fear that all the time this situation persists initiatives and efforts to bring about systemic improvement in Indian school education will be destined for limited or anemic success at best. It’s time to find, attract, train and develop the best of leaders and managers to lead the vanguard in an education revolution.


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