This is a post I made this morning on the WhatsApp group of my teachers’ union, Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Bauchi State branch. It concerns the appointment of new vice-principals which we are now tasking them with a share of the responsibility.
Under my tenure as the Commissioner, teachers of schools under the Ministry will be given the chance to nominate half of the new Vice Principals while the Ministry, if need be, nominates the other half.
Like any new idea, it may appear strange. However, I am convinced that it will not only work but is also better for the system. From the comments on their platform, the teachers have welcome the idea.
This is in line with the principle of consultation enshrined in public administration. In the universities, staff of the university nominate names of the Vice Chancellors to be sent to the Visitor (President or Governor). The Visitor appoints any of them, usually the first unless there is a reason to do otherwise.
We initially thought of the same thing but, given the fluid nature of your postings and unlike universities that have permanent staff and independent governing councils, the best we can finally arrive at is to do it through your union, which in turn will consult its members and come up with a list of nominees. We believe this will give you more sense of belonging and opportunity to participate in leadership recruitment in the sector.
Let us start from here. Let at least 50% of the appointees come from your list. Future commissioners of education or may be even during my tenure, you may have the chance to appoint all.
Please be transparent and prudent in your nominations. Know that you are nominating people that will be future principals and many of them also will become directors. If your selection is good, the future of education administration in Bauchi State will be bright. As much as possible, avoid unnecessary bias and go for competence.
To me, competence must be the nominee’s attitude to his work as a teacher and commitment to the welfare of others – those in his immediate vicinity and beyond.
His personal character also matters a lot. Never nominate anyone whose eye is on money and not service, or someone that lacks the quantum of charisma critical to led your army in the battlefield.
Never nominate an easy going yes man whatever his grade level.
Is he commiited to his work?
Is he academically sound?
Does he keep promise?
Can you trust him with money, your son or your sister?
Can he lead?
These are the essential four questions.
Seniority is naturally preferred in leadership but it must be avoided in a case of incompetent or lousy fellows. So feel free to appoint reasonably senior people but do not be compelled by the parameter to choose the incompetent. Administrative positions are not career positions. The former can be occupied by anyone found suitable.
You may also factor in gender and geography of the state. Please do not leave my great sisters behind. I want to see them lead boys’ schools too. My sisters must also be brave to take up leadership positions, not just lazy around schools, coming late, giving family excuses and clinging to their homes like a moss to a damp surface.
Also, no area in the satte should also be left out, though population in anything education needs to be considered because it goes to dictate other parameters, like preponderence of schools, enrolment, teachers, etc. Equality of local government may not apply here but a fair representation, that is proportionate to population, is necessary.
The positions are for about 122 VP Admin and 122 VP Academic. The Ministry will wait for your list before it makes its own to avoid duplication. Submit many names, may be 300, such that in the end the Ministry may not need to do any nomination.
We have turned appointments of Principals and Vice Principals to a maximum tenure of 3 years subject annual reviews of performance. Thereafter, they will return to classrooms or be posted to other postions, latersl or higher. They can be reappointed as principals on need from the Ministry after a break of one year. However, hardworking Vice Principals can become principals right away after their tenure, or even before as the situation may dictate.
This is done, one, to solve the problem of overstayed and super-principals that the system and teachers suffered from in the recent past. Two, it will also humble the principals who must now be more considerate in the treatment of their teachers. But three, and the most important benefit, is the distributive nature of the idea. Many more staff will ‘taste’ the challenging position of leadership than the few that the old ‘permanent’ system can afford. Their CVs will be richer.
This is enough for now. If I remember something else I’ll add.
Thank you all. Stay blessed and enjoy Christmas.
Dr Aliyu U. Tilde
Teacher-General and Commissioner of Education
24 December 2019