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Rise of schools as communities

Kausar SayeedKausar Sayeed, founder of Learn2Lead and National Core Committee Member, Early Childhood Association of India

Day in and day out, we read about adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic on schools and its three important stakeholders – teachers, parents and school leaders – who are engaged in a blame game. Schools blamed parents for not being supportive, teacher complained about extra workload and parents blamed the other two by raising doubts about the preparedness of schools and teachers to overcome this disruption.

Schools are not buildings and processes but are communities; these communities are set up with an objective to provide holistic learning experiences for children with teachers, parents and school management as its stakeholders. Schools cannot make things proficient, let alone excellent, without addressing the problems of this school community and the social-emotional ability and integrity of everyone in it.

Just like in nature, each stakeholder of this community viz. parents, teachers & management will have their own strengths and challenges, and in order to function optimally, all must find a way to work together and co-exist. Thus, we find a rising need of establishing and strengthening school communities which are democratic and inter-dependent. They are the future of education.

A robust school community will bring the following advantages to schools:

* It will gain buy-in support for efforts from all stakeholders making them integral to a school’s development and progress.

* Every problem will be everyone’s problems and finding solutions will become easier.

* Accountability and responsibility will increase within all stakeholders.

* School development plans will not be blindsided, as all stakeholders will chair/attend the meetings, raise concerns, and resolve problems before they become stumbling blocks

* Students with a strong sense of community are more likely to be academically motivated with well- balanced personalities.

Disruptions teach us the most important lesson. This pandemic was a disruption which has taught us the importance of building schools as communities. Rethinking school management through participative communities will prepare schools to face future crises and enable growth and progress.

After all we are a team working towards the common vision ensuring well-being of children!

Also read: “Schools need to be welcoming attractive institutions”

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