Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

The Work Obligations of the Head Masters in ZEP Schools in Mauritius along a School Improvement Framework

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Educational Research and Policy Studies

The Work Obligations of the Head Masters in ZEP Schools in Mauritius along a School Improvement Framework

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper highlights the challenges of the heads of schools in the context of the underachieving primary schools which are termed as Zones d'Education Prioritaires - ZEP schools (Priority Education Zones as its English translation would mean). These schools are found in the deprived regions of the Republic of Mauritius and have been given specific considerations by the government. This significance of this paper lies in its attempt to explore those planning processes from a perspective of implementing a total quality management approach while delivering on the set objectives with the right leadership style. The arguments presented can provide some answers to questions asked about the failing schools. The discussions are framed around developing a standard management protocol and therefore evolving a School Improvement Framework (SIF) to improve performance of ZEP schools in the country. The above considerations are important as they are part of the educational reform agenda of the Ministry of Education as it meets the internationally agreed goals.

Keywords: ZEP/ Priority education zones schools, school organisation, school improvement framework.

INTRODUCTION

The ZEP ('Zones d'Education Prioritaires'/ Priority Education Zones) Project was launched in Mauritius in July 2003 as a response to the continued high academic failure rates of some 30 primary schools found in the deprived regions of the country (Ministry of Education & Human Resources, 2002). The ZEP Project is the Mauritian version of similar project that exist in many countries (England, France , USA, Belgium, Portugal...) to be a compensatory education policy of the government implemented with the aim to direct extra resources to disadvantaged schools (Roland Bénabou et al, 2009). Indeed, it has been observed that the academic performance of the primary school pupils at the Certificate of Primary Examinations has a direct correlation with the socio-economic conditions of the students' families where they are found. Hence the setting up of the ZEP project by the government is a priority as it provides answers to the first 2 goals of the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations in that it attempts to eradicate poverty through the National Education system by ensuring that efforts are made to secure universal access to primary education. The ZEP project therefore is an important component of the educational reform plans of the Ministry of Education (Presidential Address, 2012).

Not disregarding class pedagogy and the principles of good teaching which are equally important here; this paper focuses its discussions on the management framework which will provide a systematic way of planning the school routines amidst many features and variables which if not handled properly will denature the purpose of the ZEP schools. The deliverables of this paper will therefore be one which is based on the management issues that the Head Master will need to attend to in view to organise his work and plan ahead with confidence. This research generally supports the conclusion that school leadership exerts a measurable, albeit indirect, effect on students' learning (Hallinger & Heck, 1998; Leithwood et al, 2004; Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008 in Heck & Hallinger, 2010). The organisation of this paper will therefore give an overview of the challenges of the ZEP schools in making the ZEP project unique in its kind. The paper proceeds in describing a model of management which needs to be implemented to ensure that work obligations of the head master as well as the teachers proceed through quantifiable measures which are identified as Key Performance Indicators. The ZEP school is therefore highlighted as a case for best practice in terms of the working management agreement which is reached. For the first time in the primary school sub sector in Mauritius, the school management model is shown a concrete way towards

Total Quality Management Approaches

The importance of this paper certainly lies in the fact that it shines light on possible solutions for many failing schools by adopting the right management model at the level of the schools. …

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