1 Promoting equity and inclusion through leadership

It is a cause for celebration and pride that the population of India is so diverse. The word ‘diverse’ means ‘showing a great deal of variety’ or ‘very different’. Variety not only adds interest to life, but also offers a greater number of solutions and possibilities in a complex and changing world.

The diversity in a school may be related to a number of factors such as language, ethnicity, gender, caste, class, income levels, physical abilities, housing, age or previous schooling. No two students will have the same starting point when they join a class, or the same way of learning or connections with the curriculum. A teacher who appreciates and values different backgrounds , culture and experiences is more likely to engage students in learning that is meaningful to each of them.

The NCF quotes from the NPE:

To promote equality, it will be necessary to provide for equal opportunity for all, not only in access but also in the conditions of success. Besides, awareness of the inherent equality of all will be created through the core curriculum. The purpose is to remove prejudices and complexes transmitted through the social environment and the accident of birth.

This policy language can be difficult to transfer to the setting of your school and classrooms. Therefore, it is the school leader’s responsibility to help their staff and the wider school community to address issues relating to diversity, equality and inclusion. This can be seen to involve three initial steps:

  1. Ensuring that all the teachers and the wider school community understand diversity, equity and inclusion issues within the school context. This includes knowing what the implications are for student outcomes and their practice.
  2. Collaboratively plan and carry out interventions or actions to address issues of inequality or exclusion. Understand how actions to change their own teaching practices and/or learning opportunities can make a difference.
  3. Understand how changes to teaching, learning or pastoral support will be monitored to ensure that they have a positive effect on student learning.

If you have read the unit Using data on diversity to improve your school, you will have already thought about how data can highlight diversity issues within your school context, and begun to develop priority areas for your school. The data you have collected and the priority areas you have identified will be critical in understanding how to lead your staff to be more inclusive in their teaching practices.

What school leaders can learn in this unit

2 Helping others to understand diversity, equity and inclusion