Catholic priest trains govt. school principals
Aug. 26, 2013
Fr. V.M. Thomas, a professional trainer of not only Indian administrators and police officers but also of school principals found time to take up his old job. The Salesian provincial of Guwahati was this time talking to 151 government school principals from the five districts of Assam namely Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Darrang, Dhubri and Goalpara on Aug 26. Last of a series of principals’ trainings being imparted by Don Bosco Institute (DBI) on School Management and Leadership, the program covered 1,000 govt. School Principals trained by the institute over the last four months.
Last year, DBI trained one senior teacher from each of the 2,600 govt. schools. The concluding session of the 5-day training was a field visit to the Don Bosco School, Guwahati and a session on School Management and Leadership by Fr. V.M. Thomas where he imparted key elements in school effectiveness. The priest’s magic formula is: Imitate, Improve, Innovate referring to the strategy used by Japan to become a super power. Fr. Thomas explains saying, “imitation of the US guided by the father of Management Edward Demming, Improved on processes and later Innovated.”
Explaining further he adds, “South Korea has now improved their strategies of production and beaten the innovations made by Japan and other countries by coming up with android application of Samsung.” The priest believes in speaking in cultural metaphors. He does not hesitate to say, “the mighty Brahmaputra is an image for school principals, a river high in potential but low in utility. He elaborates, “50 per cent of the population of Guwahati does not have drinking water though the river flows by its side.” “40 per cent of Assam is without electricity and disruption of electric supply is perennial. Assam still is one of the least irrigated states of India in spite of the abundance of water which flows and is wasted into Bangladesh, he added.” He said that it is the sad case of unlimited potential, but unutilized, similar to the human resources in our land rich in potential but poorly used… similar with children in our schools - high potential but not unutilised.” The Principal is the key to a good school; the potent factor in determining the school climate; the reason for the satisfaction of the teachers in their jobs; the key factors in bringing out the best from the students, teachers and parents, the priest said. “Show me a good school and I will show you a good principal,” he said, recalling a Roland Barth quote which he learned while at Harvard Education School in 1992.
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