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Professional management through hr systems needed in schools

By G. Balasubramanian

School education has occupied a significant place in social dynamics. It offers immense opportunities for an educated enthusiastic and committed work force to excel and seek growth both vertically as well as laterally. Further, it offers opportunities for fresh recruitment of the work force in a continuous manner as an ever-expanding professional platform. However, for several decades, the entire issues relating to management of work forces has not been conducted in a professional manner in schools as is done other fields of professional activities. The concept of HR management rarely exists in most schools as these are conducted by the senior faculty of the group under the guidance of their leaders either academic or nonacademic. It is high time that this professional sector enjoins the latest principles relating to HR practices covering a wide range of issues right from the recruitment to exit feedback. It will also help to put in place more democratic and participatory transparent systems and practices that would help the school avoid or face crisis management on certain occasions. Further it would help in avoiding certain ignored legal procedures for conducting the school.

Some relevant issues for HR departments to handle would be:


HR planning in schools is essential to avoid some firefighting exercises regarding the engagement of the employees in the school. With increasing difficulties experienced by the schools in recruiting the right type of qualified professionals to schools, adequate and experienced personnel on time are some important concerns the schools need to manage. HR planning to put in place systems for recruitment to avoid employing persons without adequate professional skills who are brought in to serve because of the proximity to the management is yet another important consideration.


Many schools continue to exist in their past glory because the student admissions are guaranteed, thanks to the brand they had created for themselves in local markets. Consequently, they continue to celebrate their past experiences and the learning curve stagnates. Over a period, they also develop patterns of resistance to learning for one reason or the other. HR systems in schools could facilitate the school dynamics and help them to maintain their current relevance levels. They could go a long way to lift the institutions from their slumber and relate them to the learning curve of other institutions. They also could help in facilitating the role play because in many organizations there is an overlap of roles or misguided role plays leading to roadblocks to growth.


There is evidence of increasing violation of rules and regulations in school management patterns. Rules and regulations from a wide variety of regulatory authorities also create conflicting situations in school procedures. HR systems could put in place implementation procedures at least regarding human management systems including teacher wellness, teacher growth and guided professional progression. In several school faulty salary payment processes, service contracts and assurance of services, disciplinary proceedings are not in structures that are either credible or could be validated. HR departments could take care of many of such issues empowering both the school leadership and management.


A few cases have surfaced where due to inadequate communication, poor clarity in statements and notifications, misgivings and misunderstandings arise between the staff and the management. Absence of validated and authentic communications to the members of the staff or to the parents lead to avoidable situations. Most times such things happen because of lack of professional approach to laid down procedures. Sometimes the notifications lack legal validation and may not stand to legal scrutiny. HR departments in schools may help to overcome such difficulties.


One of the major concerns in a considerable number private and unaided institutions is absence of transparency in pay structures, violation of rules regarding pay fixations, delayed payments, absence of associated welfare systems, lack of financial security for the staff. Further, unfair practices in promotions without consideration of the services rendered by the individuals and lack of acknowledgement of creative contributions of the staff has significant impact on the working profile of the individuals. HR systems are indeed necessary to bring fairness, authenticity, transparency and equity in staff management.


The feeling of insecurity among staff is indeed a major concern in many private institutions. Absence of laid down procedures for continuity in services, regularization, confirmation, fringe benefits, validated disciplinary procedures, grievance redressal and appellate procedures are very much missing in several institutions. HR departments could address to a few related issues. That would also provide a platform for the employees to deal with issues as and when necessary.


There is a compelling case for continuous training and empowerment of the teachers especially in the post-covid environment and in the light of new directions of learning triggered by the National Education Policy. Schools need to put in place training programs for continuous empowerment of teachers both for current as well as futuristic requirements. HR departments could play a vital role in creating a conducive atmosphere for such training needs both within the school level and with external collaborative methods.


A school needs to engage in developing leaders at all levels. Developing leaders with a futuristic vision, developing leaders for second- and third-line levels in the organizational universe are but a few that schools would require. The kind of leadership a school would require may be a combination of different pattern of leadership styles or one that is continuously evolving. In the absence of adequate information, data and resource inputs for learning on such domains the school leaders continue to remain in their comfort zones with ‘All is well’ syndrome till something pushes them to transform. HR departments in schools could function as catalysts to trigger such changes periodically.

“Human resources are like natural resources; they are often buried deep. You must go looking for them; they are not just lying around on the surface. You must create the circumstances where they show themselves.” -Ken Robinson