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Education managers and school principals from across the region will convene in Nadi from 14 to 18 August for the Regional Summit on Advancing Resilience and Inclusion through Sustainable School Leadership to update the Regional School Leadership Standards that were established in 2012.
The Summit will draw on the expertise, experience, and knowledge of the culture and context of the 15 countries in the region, regional and international institutions, donor partners, and international agencies to review the Regional School Leadership Standards.
Meet Aloysius Rema, Papua New Guinea’s Senior Education Officer, sharing PNG’s experience in managing school Principal’s performance without having a national standard for monitoring.
1- Do you have a set of national standards for monitoring the performance of school principals across all levels of education in your country?
Firstly, the answer is no. In its strict sense, we do not have a set of prescribed national standards for monitoring principals’ performance. What we have here is what we call the performance-based duty statement. So, in terms of us saying Principals' performance and for that matter, teachers’ performance standards, we go by the prescribed duty statement. That's basically what we use to assess teacher performance and that includes principals. Secondly, we have a set of criteria based on the performance-based duty statement that we use to assess teachers but we don't have a definition of a performance-based standard for teachers or principals in the strict sense, depending on how we define performance standards.
2- At the ministry level do you have an induction policy for teachers and school leaders?
We do not have a generic induction policy to use across the country. We had traditional induction practices in the past, but changes and reforms have overtaken in terms of maintaining those induction policies. So basically, the defined model does not exist, and provinces and districts have their own modes of inducting teachers and principals.
3- What is the most important attribute that you think school principals across the region should have and why?
Well, my view is that they should provide curriculum leadership and the aspect that should be strengthened is on research (data use) and evaluation, and I think that is missing amongst a lot of principals. They basically do a lot of managing and organising, but assessing the actual effects of curriculum implementation and the causes of why children are not learning well is something that is lacking. That's my view as I see things here.
4- If you were to make any changes in your criteria for assessing the performance of school principals, what will that be and why?
I think what we should include, is for principals to have practices or approaches to assess and evaluate their internal programs. We should emphasise that they should be providing leadership by doing clinical assessments of the systems they implement and become quality assurers in the course of doing their duty. If we strengthen that, then they will balance both managing and also assess the effects of the programmes they run in the school.