TI-AIE: Perspective on leadership: using data on diversity to improve your school

What this unit is about

The scale of diversity in India is immense. It is revealed through race, colour, gender, language, religion, caste, creed, community, social group, economic status, literacy level, ability levels, levels of health, professions, geographical terrain, climate and political inclination. Traditionally, diversity has sometimes been seen as difference and perceived as a ‘problem’ – a nuisance rather than a resource. However, understanding diversity as a positive asset is critical to ensuring improvement in the educational outcomes of a school.

The school leader has a huge challenge to manage diversity and ensure that equitable opportunities and meaningful quality education are delivered to every student in their school community. It is only relatively recently, with the introduction of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and the Right to Education Act 2009 (RtE), that plurality has been explicitly embraced. School leaders are now expected to ensure that diversity is looked upon by their staff and students as a learning resource for the school and also within each classroom. Further, they are expected to gather detailed information on their students and parents as an essential first step for the development of social capital, infrastructure, curricular inputs and facilities.

The key to developing a clear and good understanding of the range of diversity in their schools is the use of data. Data on diversity helps school leaders to:

  • identify critical areas and issues
  • develop an action plan jointly with the school management committee (SMC)
  • implement the action plan with other teachers and the local community
  • monitor and measure the impact of changes that are made to ensure the equal delivery of quality teaching and learning in the school.

In this unit you will explore the local socio-economic, cultural and linguistic context of your school. You will also consider how to collect and use this data to ensure that you, your teachers, parents, students and staff are aware of, understand and appreciate diversity, and how it affects and impacts on the learning outcomes of all students.

The unit Promoting inclusion in your school will help you further to lead in this important area.

Learning Diary

During your work on this unit you will be asked to make notes in your Learning Diary, a book or folder where you collect together your thoughts and plans in one place. Perhaps you have already started one.

You may be working through this unit alone, but you will learn much more if you are able to discuss your learning with another school leader. This could be a colleague with whom you already collaborate, or someone with whom you can build new relationship. It could be done in an organised way or on a more informal basis. The notes you make in your Learning Diary will be useful for these kinds of meetings, while also mapping your longer-term learning and development.

What school leaders can learn in this unit