It is well-recognised that the key differentiator between successful and unsuccessful schools is the strength of the leadership of the school principal.
So, when the opportunity arose to participate in Citizen Leader Lab’s award-winning Partners for Possibility leadership development programme, Principal Nkosinathi Ngubane of Bonisanani Senior in Ntuzuma, KwaMashu seized the opportunity. He teamed up with Taegen Devar, an Industrial and Organisational Psychologist by trade and Managing Director of PeopleSmart Consulting.
During their year together, Ngubane received the support and skills to lead change and mobilise communities around his school. In turn, Devar was able to develop new leadership skills through exposure to a school facing a plethora of challenges, including a lack of funding and infrastructure and low teacher and learner morale.
Focusing on Ngubane’s leadership ability was a key step in transforming the KwaMashu school into an institution where quality teaching and learning can take place.
Ngubane credits the Partners for Possibility programme for instilling in him the importance of competent management, mentioning that it is not feasible for public schools to rely solely on the Department of Education for funding. Adopting a ‘’business mindset’’, he believes, ensures schools overcome funding obstacles and operate more efficiently.
‘’Yes, we are a no-fee paying school, but we now run Bonisanani like a business. We are starting to attract resources that other township schools don’t have.
This is because we have established networks with more resourced schools nearby. This is how our library was furnished with tables and other equipment. We also wrote sponsorship proposals to paint companies to beautify the library. All of these activities were successful, and Taegen really helped,’’ says Ngubane.
Proving that listening is indeed the first step to leading, Ngubane says that taking the time to evaluate how well he listened to his staff has made a world of a difference. The principal concedes that before participating on the Partners for Possibility programme, he did not really listen to or consider his staff’s ideas.
‘’I now make it a point to really hear my staff. At meetings, they have the opportunity to give input on every agenda point. I listen to advise, to give direction and assist. After all, principals are the servants of their subordinates,’’ says Ngubane.
He adds: ‘’Even my family says that we now have a father who listens to us!’’
While Bonisanani has made great strides in the space of just one year, Ngubane is eager to take the school ‘’to the next level’’. Emphasising that sustainable change is a long-term commitment, he is confident that it can be achieved.
‘’A lot more work still needs to be done. We can get there if we work together, and with the support of the staff, parents, the community at large, Department officials and of course, Taegen. We will achieve our goals,’’ says Ngubane.
Missed Part One? Read it here: https://www.pfp4sa.org/blog/transforming-a-kwamashu-school-part-one/
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