1 Introduction to change

Change can be a challenging process for both the leader(s) and participant(s) involved, as people may be worried about the consequences. In many educational systems, it is policymakers who often initiate many school-related changes; these are external drivers. However, there are also other instances where you as a leader, with your teachers, have also made small or medium-sized changes to your school in response to the needs and interests of your students and perhaps the community; these are internal drivers.

Activity 1: Drivers of change

As a starting point, think about changes that have happened recently in your school. Did they feel imposed from the outside or did they come about from the school community? They may be substantial changes to the curriculum or exams set by national or state bodies, or they may be smaller changes in your school that were initiated to make the day more productive for students.

List five external factors and five internal factors that you feel have been the drivers of change in your school or district.


The internal drivers you identify will depend heavily on the context you are working in and the resources available to you as a school leader. Even if your school has minimal resources and large classes, you can still initiate and lead considerable changes that will have a positive impact on learning, for example including more children with a disability or having more female students in the upper grades.

This activity may have prompted you to think about the kinds of changes you would like to realise in your school. They may be to do with introducing a more student-centred approach, facilitating more activity-based learning, valuing and respecting every child and their uniqueness, or organising assessment for learning rather than for exams/tests.

Table 1 shows examples of recent external drivers at elementary and secondary levels. Sometimes these are widely anticipated and there have been preparations to accommodate them; at other times they are more sudden. Some require immediate action; for others the change will be more gradual.

Table 1 External drivers at elementary and secondary levels.

National Curriculum Framework (NCF)

Right to Education Act 2009 (RtE)

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)

Mid Day Meal Scheme

Mahila Samakhya Programme

Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrasas


Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)

Model Schools Scheme

Girls’ Hostel Scheme

ICT @ Schools

Inclusive Education of the Disabled at Secondary Stage

Scheme of Vocational Education

National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme

National Incentive to Girls

Appointment of Language Teachers

What school leaders can learn in this unit

2 Dealing with challenges