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Management of private schools in Nigeria
How would you like to manage your (school) business?
Effective management of private schools in Nigeria
The Merriam Website dictionary defines ‘Effective Management’ as an effective control of any organisation or system. It is a judicious means to accomplish an end i.e. management is taken an effective control of an existing situation and the effective maintenance of the same.
Education has existed long before the establishment of organised schools. Even in primitive societies, there was education of a kind. Therefore, education itself is life and life is education, for it is a process of learning to live a meaningful, acceptable and successful life with any given society. Education is therefore usually supported by the community when set up by individuals, groups or religious establishments.
The administrative hierarchy:
In a private school setting in Nigeria, the Ministry of education is the chief authority and controller of schools. ‘He who pays the piper dictates the tune’. The ministry of education gives approval before a school can be established and so it exercises the main function of maintaining the quality control of schools with stated guides or rules to be followed by the proprietors.
The proprietor, who is the owner of the school, invests heavily on the establishment of school to ensure a high standard. It is common knowledge that education is capital intensive. Therefore, establishing a school demands thorough supervision of the school, its programme of activities and maintaining order and discipline to ensure a good tone for the school by its owner.
The principal and his staff are involved in the day to day planning of, teaching and general activities including co-curricular ones properly designed and approved by government to ensure the total development of the learners. Learning must take place under qualified teachers.
Non-teaching staff: Apart from the teaching staff, there are non-teaching members of staff who are expected to perform specific roles to support the effective running of the school, Examples are the drivers, nurses, security men, bursars, typists, school matrons etc – all complement the effort of the principal and staff in the day to day running of the school.
The stake-holders in education, includes
1. The government
2. The parents
3. The students
4. The staff proprietor and staff
5. The community
6. Church or religious organisations
Each has a significant contribution to make to the overall success of the school. The totality of the school programme, supervised by the various agencies of education is aimed at the total development of the learner i.e. building a sound mind and soul in a sound body. The child’s physiological growth and development are taken care of by grade physical exercises while the academic and social/moral programmes are also well designed by government in academic school curriculum to meet the yearling sound aspirations of the society at large. Alternatively, the school set up is expected to produce children with sound moral character who will be able to live a successful in later life.
In other words, the aims of establishing a school can be summarised as follows:
1. Self fulfillment: The desire to make valuable contributions to the community to which one belongs has been a major factor for establishment of private schools continuity.
2. To keep oneself busy after retirement and to continue to be relevant in ones field of endeavour
3. To produce learners who will be credited worthy to the school and community at large.
4. To equip the learners with the basic skills to make him successful even in his private life.
5. To lead them to have academic success and prepare them for white collar jobs.
6. To inculcate in them good character and sound judgment.
7. To produce useful and responsible citizens capable of making valuable contributions to the larger community in future.
To achieve these aims and objectives, a lot of input is required by experts under strict supervision.
The organised school system
Planning ahead: The school administrator needs to plan ahead for a successful term or session. He needs to make adequate provision for the needs of the learner before resumption each term and at the beginning of a new session. The buildings, the equipments and the furniture must be put in place early enough for effective learning. The environment must be kept clean and be made absolutely conducive to learning. The list of books and other requirements must be made available to the parents before the school reopens. There is need to have a large notice board for information to staff, students and parents. Attention needs to be given to the special days and public holidays. There should also be provision for an approved timetable for the whole school.
Discipline: A good administrator does not compromise discipline – Punctuality is the soul of business. Attendance at school must be keenly monitored. No Staff or students should be involved in freevolous movements during school hours. Good examples are to be laid by staff for students to copy.
Maintenance culture: It is expected that the school will be spacious, well drained and the classes well-ventilated. Cleanliness is next to Godliness – The school environment and the classrooms are to be kept clean and tidy at all times. The school property must be taken care of and repairs should be made as the needs arise. Never allow the system to collapse through carelessness. There is need to beautify the school and make it attractive all times.
Thorough supervision: It is not enough to have a school. The teachers need to be supervised at all times, giving them instructions that must be obeyed. Occasional visits of the inspectors from the ministry of education help to keep the school managers on their toes and this is very important to effective school management. A good manager must be firm. Firmness is not callousness. He must have initiatives orderliness of habits, self control high sense of duty. Above all, he must be capable of building a strong structure for the schools supervision internally while the external supervision is maintained b the ministry of education and other agency of education. Supervision is the key to successful teaching and learning in schools. This needs to be enhanced both internally and externally.
Staff recruitment: Management should ensure recruitment of competent staff both teaching and non-teaching to perform their assignments under the guidance and supervision of superior officers. The preparation of lesson notes can mar and make the teacher’s performance in teaching. Therefore, lesson notes must be marked by senior teachers, who will ensure that appropriate teaching aids and varieties of methods are used by the learner at all times.
Establishing a school is not an easy task. It is capital intensive. Proprietors device various means of funding their schools. The most common I believe, is taking of loans. It is pertinent to take total control of the finance of the school to avoid becoming bankrupt. The bursary staff under the leadership of the bursar must be a person of high integrity with honesty of purpose who can be trusted at al times. The proprietor is expected to have both internal and external auditors to check the accounts from time to time. Proper keeping of cash books and other relevant papers will make the auditors work easy.
The P.T.A. and board of governors should be encouraged to make their contributions to the school. Regular meetings should be held and assistance sought when the need arises. It is only with good relationship between management and parents that financial assistance can be given by the latter. Management should be able to source for money through special programmes or other school activities designed for that purpose from time to time. Adequate publicity and effective advertisement will o a long way to promote the school and make well-wishers to calls for assistance.
Keeping of records; the following school records should be properly kept:
registers of school fees,
health record book and
the stock book
Each of these records if well kept will be a reference point in the history of the school.
Effective management of schools can be viewed from two perspectives: internal and external.
The chief controller within the system is the proprietor himself, assisted by the principals and other staff including the teaching and non-teaching staff.
The influence of government on schools through its ministries is over whelming and productive in the running of the school. Other agencies of education particularly, the parents, religious bodies and the community exercise a lot of indirect control on the school system and they all combine to make the system workable and productive.