Strengthening School Leadership

“The training helped me empower my teachers, and as a result they have brought in a whole wealth of ideas.” Head Teacher Olive Kyohere

The Institute for Educational Development in East Africa completed its largest single training project to date in 2014, equipping 823 secondary school head teachers from across Uganda with new ideas and tools for improving teaching, learning and overall school management. The project will impact education for an estimated 345,000 students.

Co​nducted under a World Bank grant and in cooperation with Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports, the in-depth, multi-week course emphasised the role of the head teacher as a leader and change agent.

Olive Kyohere is Secretary General of the Association of Secondary School Head Teachers of Uganda and Head Teacher at Luzira Secondary School in Kampala.

She credits the course with showing her how to involve everyone from parents to community leaders in supporting the school, how to instil confidence and a sense of ownership among teachers and how to use different teaching methods to engage students. As part of the course, she developed a strategy that has increased students’ use of the school library and interest in reading outside of class.

“The training helped me empower my teachers, and as a result they have brought in a whole wealth of ideas,” Kyohere said. “Now, when school ends, teachers sometimes stay around until six or seven o’clock, preparing lessons or sharing ideas. The ethos has changed. Students are inspired by their teachers.”

Four Institute faculty members and 20 alumni from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania worked together to deliver the course, which resulted in participants earning a Certificate in Educational Leadership and Management. The project was undertaken at a critical time for Uganda, which in 2007 became one of the first countries in Africa to unveil a policy designed to achieve universal secondary education.

Recognizing that the head teachers will encounter obstacles upon returning to their schools, the Institute is providing additional training and educational opportunities, aiming to build a network of champion head teachers who can serve as resources to their colleagues.

“In East Africa, there is not enough support for the kind of education that would really help students,” said IED Assistant Professor Nicholas Wachira, MEd ’00, the project coordinator. “This was an opportunity to develop people who can provide opportunities to children so they can pull East Africa out of the problems it has.”