It’s pre-eminently arguable that the administrative and management responsibilities of school principals and headmasters are more onerous than of managing directors and chief executives of business enterprises. Unlike corporate chiefs who lead teams of adults trained to do their jobs, school heads are obliged to deal with sensitive children of all ages venturing forth into a wondrous world of learning and knowledge in preparation for the world of work. Moreover unlike adults, children need to be taught that the learning process requires knowledge gathering, application, discipline, teamwork, making time for co-curricular/extra-curricular education and development of life skills.
Leading a team of teachers and administrators to discharge this combination of duties and responsibilities seems considerably more complex than managing a business enterprise. Yet while captains of industry receive widespread media coverage, information about education leaders is hard to come by. Curiously, Indian society doesn’t seem interested in the unsung heroes who nurture children and shape the citizens and leaders of tomorrow.
This is a lacuna and societal blind-spot EducationWorld has been determined to make good ever since this pioneer publication was hesitantly launched into the turbulent sea of Indian education on the eve of the new millennium. If thus far our success in highlighting and celebrating great institutions and outstanding leaders of Indian education has been limited, the primary cause has been the diffidence and media shyness of promoters and heads of education institutions who all these decades have been content to labour unseen and under-appreciated. But we have persisted in spotlighting islands of education excellence and uninhibitedly discussing and debating Central and state government policies and social attitudes which prevent education leaders and the teachers community from giving their best. Consequently EW has gradually won the trust and confidence of education leaders who are now inclined to be more cooperative.
This is the backdrop against which we present this start-of-the-academic year cover story highlighting the leadership nostrums and mantras of 28 best school principals who have shaped and are managing the country’s most respected primary-secondary schools. This is not to say the tally of excellent schools and heads is restricted to this magic number. A larger number of school heads with excellent track records were sounded, but only 28 stepped forward to share the secrets of their success with the public. The outcome is a cover feature which provides fascinating insights into the purpose, leadership mantras, institutional development philosophies and future plans of 28 principals who head the country’s best, globally benchmarked day, boarding and international schools.
But while our first-of-its-type cover story is the piece de resistance of this issue of EW, there’s also our regular news reports and comment columns. In particular, check out the diagnosis and valuable suggestions made by Dr. C.N.R. Rao, a distinguished scientist and chairman of the prime minister’s Science Advisory Council, for upgradation and revitalisation of the country’s rapidly obsolescing higher education system.