Assessing principals

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Assessing principals

School education is undergoing reform with the assessment of the performance of school principals. Busan is spearheading this reform.

The Busan Metropolitan City Office of Education is scheduled to release the results of a multichannel assessment of principals and vice-principals at 705 elementary, middle and high schools, at the end of this month.

Participating in the assessment were 30,000 teachers, 70,000 parents and 294 examiners consisting of former and incumbent principals, and education professionals.

It is the first time in the nation’s education history that school members are at the forefront of evaluating principals on a large scale.

As managers of the schools, principals should be the first to change, before transforming schools. In this regard, it is a truly meaningful event.

The Busan assessment, which is to be held annually, has two salient features. First, it will increase effectiveness by reflecting evaluation results in personnel policies such as promotions and transfers. Principals in the upper or lower five percent will be given incentives or penalties.

The gap between the best and worst schools can be narrowed by deploying superior performing principals at schools in less developed regions, which reflects the office’s purposes in introducing assessment reform. This assessment is expected to contribute to changing schools in the near future.

Principals play the biggest role in reforming schools and improving education quality. Their commitment and vision are integral to overhauling schools across the board.

A teacher’s enthusiasm and devotion to students largely depends on the role of principals. The fact that many schools hire principals in open recruitment is a prime example.

Busan’s effort to assess principals is firmly rooted in the belief that reforming principals is a prerequisite to amending public education. It is a step in the right direction.

We believe that other offices of education should benchmark Busan’s policy and adopt a system of principal assessment tailored to suit each area’s distinguishing characteristics.

The performance assessment for teachers should no longer be delayed. As principals undergo evaluation, teachers will be unable to refuse on any justifiable grounds.

Changes in schools will lead to a change in the performance of principals and teachers, and evaluations will be an essential component of this reform.
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