Lilongwe — Edukans Foundation, an organisation that promotes basic education in the country, is conducting trainings for school leaders to strengthen leadership capacity of the school managers.
Edukans and Education Expertise Development Foundation (EEDF) are jointly implementing the project called 'Star leadership for star schools' in ten schools in Lilongwe Rural East.
Speaking during the training held at Mwatibu Primary School in Traditional Authority Chadza in Lilongwe on Friday, Project Coordinator, Yamikani Givah, said their approach to improve basic education is based on five pillars with 'Competent leadership' as one of them.
She said they believe that when leadership capacity of the school leaders is strengthened, it will lead to improved quality provision of services within the schools.
"Through training, we have oriented them on critical friends. So, being critical friends to each other, they will be able to address problems at hand and give solutions.
"We believe that the initiative is timely and in the near future we will expand it beyond these schools," she said.
Givah said the school managers have also been trained on how to deal with early pregnancies and child marriages when schools re-open.
"COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of challenges and this is also a difficult time for school leaders because there are a lot of early pregnancies, marriages and a lot of school dropouts," she said.
He added: "Some of the activities we are conducting are helping school leaders to meet and discuss how they can address some of these challenges and come up with possible solutions to the problems."
On his part, the Executive Director for EEDF, Robert Mponela, said they implement projects together with Edukans whereby the latter are there to provide technical support and EEDF is the implementer.
The four-day training started on Thursday and is expected to end on Sunday.
He said to make sure they achieve their intended goal they will be following up with the school managers just to ensure they are implementing the ideas learnt in their various schools.
"We have already lined up monitoring and follow up steps because the main component is that after this training, the schools will be grouped and be visiting each other to assist and ensure what they have learnt is being implemented," he said.
One of the participants, Prisca Katondo who is Senior Section Head at Kalumbu Primary School commended Edukans for the initiative, saying it was timely.
She said most of the times school leaders or managers are just appointed to lead the section without proper orientation.
"Today, we have been trained on critical friends and in this, we are supposed to identify a problem and come up with solutions as a group.
"This will help us overcome challenges that we face because we now know how to identify the problem and come up with possible solutions," said Katondo.
"As a section head, I have some teachers under me and through this training, I have also acquired supervision skills which will help me give proper guidance to my colleagues on how to deal with the learners to promote the quality of education," added Katondo.
Apart from critical friends, the school managers have also been trained on pedagogical leadership, situational leadership and financial management among others.
The targeted primary schools are Mwatibu, Mchuchu, Nathenje, Kalumbu and Mtenthera among others. The participants were head teachers, deputy head teachers and section heads.
The project targets to reach 50 school managers. It is also expected to improve provision of good quality education and enhance networking and learning across the schools for better education outcomes to benefit 20,000 learners.