A Cape-based civil engi- neer has emerged as a key driver behind the establishment of the Executive Management Programme for School Leaders at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), which is designed to improve the man- agerial and leadership skills of school principals.
Haw & Inglis cofounder Rick Haw, who is himself a GSB MBA graduate, believes the programme could play an impor- tant role in turning around the fortunes of poor performing schools and in ensuring that more children opt to pursue maths and science at a higher level.
Haw’s research shows only 24 000 learners will write science and mathematics final exams on higher grade out of about one-million children who enter the school system every year. About 14 000 matric learners pass the exams every year and of those, only 3 000 are black. This, he says, makes it challenging to hire young black talent in sectors such as engineering.
Aimed at school principals, the course is presented in modules and run over 18 months. The first course started last month. The first residential module covers personal mastery and managing complexity; the second focuses on business acumen and includes topics on finance, technology, data management and the educational regulatory environ- ment; and the third teaches people management and includes topics on negotiation, mediation and staff development.
The final module comprises the presentation of the principals’ technical reports and action learning projects. Principals will have to design a “relevant African school for the twenty-first century”.
In addition, principals are expected to undertake at least one community project between each module and to attend school and community sessions on a rotational basis, which will involve visits to the schools of their course colleagues and having discussions about their policies and practices. Delegates will receive ongoing mentoring and coaching throughout the course.
To raise capital for the programme, Haw established the Principals Academy Trust and his proposal attracted the financial backing of a bank, private individuals and foundations to sponsor 20 delegates a year to participate.
However, more than double this number applied for the inaugural intake, and more funding will be required to expand the programme, says GSB director of executive education Linda Buckley.