UJ launches innovative initiative for principals

The Development Bank of South Africa has donated half a million rand (R500 000) ‘technical assistance grant” to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to design an innovative educational leadership initiative.

To be called the Principal Network the initiative aims to raise the professional standards for South African education leadership. It is a collaboration between the Harvard School of Education and the UJ’s department of education management and it will be based at UJ’s Soweto campus.

Executive dean of the faculty of education, Sarah Gravett said research shows there are two crucial factors that determine the success of schooling. “One of course is that you have good school teachers and secondly that you have good management of schools.

There is a lot of evidence to show that if you have a well managed school, you will find results that reflect the good management in the schools. And we know what a difference a school principal makes,” said Gravett.

Lloyd Conley, senior lecturer at UJ said the initiative serves as both a physical and virtual convener for school leaders. Said Conley: “It provides educational leaders with opportunities to build knowledge, develop important leadership skills, access role models, reduce the sense of isolation that they often experience, increase their professional confidence and competence and expose them to fresh ideas and problem-solving peer support.”

The money would be used to develop a website that will contain an online newsletter and provides resources for education leaders like articles, case studies and research as well as policy papers on school leadership, Conley said.

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