Conseil supérieur de l'éducation
 
The New CONTEXT and CHALLENGES Facing Secondary School ADMINISTRATORS

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation is asking the Minister of Education and the school boards to give school administrations the means to fully exercise their educational responsibilities in the new context of transferring more responsibility to the schools. ² It is important that school administrators’ duties more closely reflect secondary school students’ learning needs ² , stated Conseil President Céline Saint-Pierre at the launching of the brief on June 9 at the Polyvalente de Lévis.

The 60-page document is based on interviews with some fifty secondary school principals in five different regions which were conducted during the first year the amendments to the Education Act were implemented.

 

A new context

The Conseil noted three main determining factors in the context of change in which secondary school principals and vice-principals perform their duties today. They are: the implementation, in 1998, of governing boards with key responsibilities that formerly belonged to the school boards; more rapid turnover of teaching staff; and the pending implementation of new programs of study and regulations which dramatically alter the relationship between schools and the Ministère de l'Éducation with respect to pedagogy, special needs and enrichment programs as well as the monitoring of student progress.

 

Pedagogical responsibilities are a priority

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation voices its conviction that pedagogical responsibilities are central to the school administrators’ role. School organization, student guidance and supervision, student services, extracurricular activities and the evaluation of learning must take precedence over administrative duties.

These responsibilities must not be exercised in an authoritarian manner. ² A pedagogical genius at the head of a school cannot single-handedly solve anything² , writes the Conseil, which advocates that pedagogical leadership be shared with the teaching staff. In this respect, the Conseil recommends re-establishing department head responsibilities in secondary school organization.

The Conseil echoes the fears expressed by school principals as to the uncertainty surrounding the reform’s implementation. It recommends that school administrators be actively involved in the operations already under way at the Ministère de l'Éducation.

The Conseil also recommends ensuring that secondary schools have adequate student services so that principals and vice-principals do not have to devote an inordinate amount of time to dealing with social problems and students with learning difficulties.

 

Political and community responsibilities

The implementation of governing boards and the opening of schools to the community are new challenges for secondary school administrators, who must provide an interface between the school and the community.

The Conseil supérieur de l'éducation encourages all the partners on the governing boards to favour common training and initiation to familiarize themselves with their new role. It also asks the Minister of Education to review financing norms and labour relations rules so that the schools have the means required to exercise their new powers and responsibilities.

 

Administrative responsibilities

Increasingly, principals are required to manage budgets, facilities and labour relations. The Conseil believes that school principals should not have to devote most of their time to fulfilling administrative responsibilities. It recommends that appropriate administrative support be provided, particularly to small schools, and that the administrative norms imposed on school boards and schools be streamlined.


Panorama • Volume 4, Number 3 • November 1999

Document complet - in French (PDF)
Summary

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