Educational leadership.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Manila Bulletin, November 16, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Educational leadership.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

IN the summer of 1994, officials of the Dominican Province of the Philippines (DPPI) schools gathered in Baguio for a live-in workshop on the Filipino Dominican Philosophy of Education. One of the outputs of that workshop was a realignment of the different schools' vision and missions in order to conform with the thrusts of the Philosophy. Among the various projects and programs discussed at that time was the possibility of coming up with our own internal Filipino Dominican standards of accreditation, before we even attempt to apply for accreditation with the different accrediting bodies.

This particular project never came to fulfillment but some years after that, Network of Dominican Schools, Colleges and University (DOMNET) was founded, this time with the participation of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST). The rest, they say, is history. Slowly, we began to identify areas where our schools should have some degree of cooperation, if not commonality. As DOMNET, we have chosen to focus on 5 areas of concern:

Educational Leadership, Instruction, Research, Community Service, Youth.

I have been tasked to present the first area of concern - Educational Leadership.

Two years ago, a conferenceworkshop was held at the Central Seminary of UST and our group was assigned to the area of concern. The result of our sessions was a management philosophy for Dominican managers. The title itself could be compressed to something like a Dominican Philosophy of Management.

There were projects and plans suggested to inculcate this philosophy in all our school administrators. Allow me to share my thoughts and insights on three salient points that it contains. Exactly what are the beliefs and characteristics that we should develop in the administrators of our schools? What guiding principles should we imbue them with?

1. Leadership is a calling, and the authority that comes with it is for service, not dominance.

Have you ever noticed that no biblical leader wanted the job? All through the Scriptures you see that the biblical leader is one who is called, usually reluctant and not wanting the role. Kenneth Blanchard (Heart of a Leader) quoting A.W. Torzer in his book, commented that a true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit and the press of external situations.

Thus, our leadership flows or springs from the fact that we are called - called to lead in order to serve. The natura and anima of our leadership is our vocation, in the Christian and religious life, to serve for love of God and for others.

It is easy to understand why our schools should choose to develop leadership first over management skills. Leadership is more closely affiliated with service. I am sure that most of us have heard dozens of comparisons between leaders and managers. Some are witty, some are funny, some are downright serious. Let me share with you just one more:

The manager is the guy behind the group of workers cutting their way through the jungle which machetes. He is busy writing policy and procedure manuals on how to hold the machete, how to sharpen the machete and how one can get a replacement if it gets damaged or lost. He instructs HRD to implement muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation programs for machete wielders. On the other hand, the leader, in the service of everyone else, is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, "Wrong Jungle!"

Let us remember that leadership does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle.

2. Our administrators are imbued with the charism and values of the Order.

These values are common to all of us: a love for the truth, loyalty to the Church, devotion to Mary and compassion for humanity.

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