With the increasing competition in the world today for high performance, individuals and organizations have implemented ways to obtain, improve, and retain their knowledge and skills in their lines of works. The concept of capacity building is growing extensively across all boards and schools are no exception. The need to have holistically trained staff who are able to propel an institution to greater levels is at the heart of every organization. An empowered team is a functioning team and they can go through all the flames and storms at work but never get burnt, reason being, they are fully aware of the dos and donts in their profession and are willing to do their best to achieve productive results. Capacity building is not a new concept as it has existed since time immemorial and successful organizations, institutions, and even individuals have successfully used it to sharpen their skills and build on their weak areas through empowerment. Capacity building is the best tool to use to overcome exclusion and poor performance.
Capacity building is a lifelong process thus requires a regular program to bridge performance gaps in any working institution. The process is characterized by the following processes:
Developing a Conceptual Framework through a Training Need Assessment to help identify gaps.
Engagement of shareholders on capacity building. This is the involvement of all concerned parties in capacity development for shared responsibility, accountability, and sustainability of the process. This can be done through policy advisory or advocacy.
Assessment of capacity needs and resources. It entails examining previous capacities by engaging stakeholders thus enables capacity builders to identify areas that need additional training, priority areas, ways to incorporate capacity building into local and institutional development measures.
Formulation of a response for capacity building. Once an assessment is completed, it is necessary to create a capacity building response based on to the following basic issues:
Institutional arrangements: This helps fill gaps like communication, frameworks, policies, leadership, resource management etc.
Leadership: Leadership has the power of influence on people for change and achievement of development goals. Good leadership skills such as strategic planning, effective communication, and priority setting among others can be built through capacity building for transformational leadership.
Knowledge: Knowledge is the foundation of capacity, therefore, in capacity building, maximum investments should be put to establish strong systems and opportunities of education for continued development and learning of professional skills.
Accountability: The application of accountability methods facilities better performance and efficacy. The absence of accountability gives room for the proliferation of dubious dealings. Continuous analysis, monitoring, and evaluation of institutions allows for the development of capacities by bridging corruption.
Implementation of a capacity development response. The implementation of a capacity building process is categorized by the inclusion of various system within the local, national, and international level. Capacity building should thus involve continuous reassessment and flexibility to change. Evaluation is necessary to measure the effectiveness of the program.
Evaluation of capacity building. This promotes accountability. The measurements made should reflect the performance changes. The assessments based on performance changes should include these key issues: leadership, institutional arrangements, accountability, and knowledge.
Capacity Building in Our Schools
Education is a lifelong process of acquiring wisdom, and anytime we expose ourselves to new possibilities and truth, we get educated. This social process takes place throughout life, unlike popular beliefs that we only acquire education in school. Yes, indeed through schools we get educated or rather learn, but this is a limited process aimed at preparing us for the future. Education plays a vital role in our life through knowledge acquisition. It broadens our scope of socialization and enables us to meet people from different backgrounds. We, therefore, become diversified in terms of culture, and skills. Being a social process, it allows us to interact with people extensively. Apart from our verbal interactions with others, we can also strengthen our social ties through the internet e.g. social media thus diversity.
A school is a factory that manufactures young boys and girls into useful men and women in the society. Here we get enlightenment from professionally trained personnel. These professionals provide us with resourceful information and additionally input in us skills that are vital to our future lives. Schools offer training in different professional career fields. The different ambitions we hold so close are sharpened through education and we develop into holistic individuals who can fit comfortably in the economic and social sector. Finally, yet importantly, education is the best tool for nation building. When we acquire knowledge, we sharpen our skills and develop into professionals who can positively benefit the nation with adequate expertise.
Our schools are the hubs for excellence, therefore in championing for change, one fundamental aspect that is necessary for us to note is, capacity building. Most of us are acquainted with the common allegory about the Canada geese. When the lead goose is exhausted, it gives another goose a chance to lead while it rotates back to formation. The moral lesson in this allegory is very practical to those charged with the responsibility of building interdependence among professionals possessing varying and special interests, talents, and resources. Our learning institutions, in this case, encompass our principals, teaching staff, students, parents, and the community. The leadership within our learning environment must effectively deliver and build a culture of shared leadership without fear of replacement to facilitate effective leadership geared towards shaping a positive culture where the skills and potentials of everybody are realized and stretched.
Capacity Building and Leadership skills
Effective leadership identifies goals and the means of achieving them. Effective leaders in schools understand their subordinates opinions and values rather than assuming absolute authority, to encourage productive communication with others concerning the embodiment of a schools system and its operations. As school principals most often you may juggle competing opinions and values from various stakeholders. The teaching staff, support staff, social agencies, trustees, school district administrators, parents, students, corporate entities, and taxpayers, demand a lot from you and have agendas they would like to be fulfilled. This kind of situation demands effective leadership that identifies these needs, respects them and allow participants to participate in group identity in order to achieve common goals. Capacity building comes in handy in this context, when you as school administrators invest on building the capacity of everybody within the learning environment, it is easy to delegate duties, disseminate information, and deliver comprehensively.
As school heads, you have the responsibility to ensure the development of a culture of capacity building across all boards. For checks and balances, the following key elements would be effective:
One area of interest in our schools in regards to leadership that requires your attention is using delegation to distribute power and influence within the school community. Given that the school community is an amalgam of many individuals who work for the common good of students, it is in order to employ delegated approaches to performance in school. Delegation should not just factor downloading of tasks, but rather the provision of enough resources, effective decision-making authority, together with accountability in reliable culture-building measures. Delegation of meaningful duties helps teachers develop their individual leadership skills and eventually contribute to improvement in schools. The leadership should equally ensure that through delegation of duties, bonding is enhanced as well as a professional learning culture. It will be a demanding task to move teachers from contrived collegiality culture to one that demands interdependence and collaboration, but you must be radical to ensure change. As an administration, you must be vigilant in your delegation because the eventual fruits of this process will be capable and skilled individuals who understand their role in the school environment.
Secondly, school committees whose roles are past delegation of ritual roles can equally act as effective vehicles for capacity building in other individuals. I am aware that school committees exist in our schools, but we should ensure that within these committees, they uphold the notion of convening as a subset of a bigger entity to which they hold accountability and making recommendations. When a teaching staff is asked to guide colleagues in revising report cards, for instance, it would be prudent enough to establish the committees parameters at the onset. These parameters could include but not limited to providing money, adequate resources for the given task, exemplars, and defining the authority of the committee. This will ensure that members are not blindsided with a perceived veto in disguise of acting in the notion of bringing proposals for adoption to staff. Provision of ownership of resources to the teaching staff and the assurance of having some authority will enhance their attitudes and skills which will ultimately contribute to the development of leadership and fulfillment of teachers roles as an interdependent section of a learning community.
As administrators, you should ensure that staff and student motivation is at the core of your objectives. The visions, objectives, mission of schools within our locality revolve around nurturing holistic development for both staff and students to ensure that they are productive individuals in every place they will set foot on. Schools that celebrate the achievements of their staff and students are likely to nurture communities where victories and failures are seen as a collective responsibility rather than an individual role. Schools characterized by the attitude of communism in the sense of one-for-all and all-for-one foster sharing ownership such that solutions and problems are viewed as a common problem to everyone. With such an attitude, capacity can be built effectively since gaps are easier to identify and fill in due course. Involving stakeholders in leadership roles levels the playing field and joint responsibility to ensure no one is left behind and possible measures are put in place to help poor performers and improve on strong areas. You, therefore, have to ensure you act in accordance to your visions and missions.
Meetings are additionally fundamental part of capacity building. Principals who have paid attention to meetings praise it for helping build capacity within their schools. They have found success by sharing the responsibility for chairing meetings; applying collaboratively established agendas; allocating time for meetings; prior establishment and agreement on guidelines for controlling meetings; and restriction on meetings to be purely on decision-making sessions. Principals must not attend all meetings, giving others the opportunity to take over meets empowers them as well as builds their capacities. Even though scholars argue that the involvement of school principals is key to the success of school-based initiatives, you must exercise courage and discretion...
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