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HEAD MASTERS AND PRINCIPALS MEETING


By Fr Mallavarapu Rayanna
Hyderabad, Feb. 15. The Principals and Headmasters of the schools and colleges of the Province of Hyderabad had a two-day meeting at Provincial House from 12th to 13th February 2011. Fr Antonyraj Sdb from Don Bosco College Tiruppattur was the animator of the meeting.

The Principals and Headmasters of the schools and colleges of the Province of Hyderabad had a two-day meeting at Provincial House from 12th to 13th February 2011. Fr Antonyraj Sdb from Don Bosco College Tiruppattur was the animator of the meeting.

With the help and guidance of Fr Raminedi Balaraju, the Provincial and Fr Thathireddy Vijaya Bhaskar, the Vice Provincial, Fr M. Rayanna convened the meeting.  The meeting began at 9.00 am with the words of welcome from Fr Rayanna and Fr Pasala Bhaskar led us into prayer.

Fr Provincial welcomed the gathering and in his message he spoke to the participants to be compassionate in our field of work. While we should be compassionate, he reminded us to be professional and to be true to the practice of Preventive System of Don Bosco. Secondly Fr. Provincial reminded the participants to be committed. He cited the example of a corporate school with minimum infrastructure and with only 600 students, but is very famous because of its committed staff.
Later Fr Madanu Rayappa introduced the resource person Fr Antonyraj Sdb to the participants.
The First Session was about the best attitude we should all have - Joy and Happiness. He told us that our skills and talents become useful only if we are at the right place. He gave us several practical guidelines such as to begin the morning talk with a joy etc.,

''Educating the students is a joyful work'', he said. All the staff in the institution should be people who radiate joy that comes from within them, and they should share it with the students. They should create a joyful experience of learning in their students. The result of this would be that there would be less drop outs in the school. And regularly we should check on ourselves as to whether we are growing in this, enjoying every bit of our life's journey. And we need to make sure that every child is enjoying the joy of education. We need to build up the right attitude or positive attitude - Salesian optimism.
Secondly, we need to make a conscious choice to grow and not to be stagnant. Unlike physical growth, psychological and spiritual growth is not automatic. Some of the conscious choices that we need to make for our growth are:
Choice to give
Choice to listen with full attention
Choice to make a difference or to be unique
Choice to do what is right, with the right method
Choice to take care of our health
Choice to connect with a higher power - prayer
Choice to accept responsibility
The success in our interpersonal relationship depends on the fact of being the right person rather than having the right persons with us. And for this we need to have the following:
- Basic honesty
- Tact , be sensitive
- Love - motivated by love
- Wisdom (Jas. 1: 5)
- Consistency
- Prayerfulness
- Positiveness
- Initiatives
- Timing as to when to say and what to say
- Sensitivity
- Empathy
- Clarity
- Open-mindedness
- Patience
- Approachability and
- A sense of humour

At 11.00 am we had Coffee break

The next session began at 11.15 am on Minority rights and Administration
Fr Rayanna introduced the resource persons Fr V. K. Swamy and Br. Showreddy
Fr Swamy spoke about the new trend of Education and the changes in it. He said, ''People hire you for your attitude and train you for your altitude.'' He exhorted us to have framework to maturing quality education. As a practical hint he reminded us to read the lesson plans prepared by the teachers regularly and see the progress they make in the quality of teaching. Likewise we need to create new healthy practices. Her challenged us whether we could build emotional structure between Staff and Principal; between Principal and students; between staff and students etc. he said that the Management consists in doing what is right (process), and Leadership consists in doing the right thing (product). He also gave us 5 Golden Rules for leadership:
1. Challenge the process
2. Inspire a shared vision
3. Enable others to act
4. Model the way
5. Encourage the heart

The outcome of the leader's behaviour will be the following:
1. Identifying and articulating a vision
2. Providing an appropriate model
3. Fostering the acceptance of group goal
4. High performance expectation
5. Providing individualized support
6. Intellectual stimulation

The last 15 minutes of the session was set aside for clarification of doubts on current issues. Fr Joe Pandicherry thanked the resource persons.

At 2.15 we met again for the 3rd session. The resource person was Mr V. Venkateswara Rao, ME Foundation, working for the Elimination of Child Labour and Protection of Child Rights. Fr K. K. Joseph introduced him to the assembly.
Mr V. V. Rao enlightened us on the importance of child's education. He said that compulsory Child's education began from 1880 onwards. Bridge Course according to the age of the child began from 1990 onwards. According to him, the child should be admitted to the school at any time of the year. It is the responsibility of the Government to see that a child goes to school and to ensure that the child gets quality education. He also said that the society and management also are responsible for the child's education. According to him, 25% of the PTA should be parents.

After the input session by Mr V. V. Rao, some clarifications were made especially regarding the practical difficulties faced in implementing the funds etc from the part of the Government.
Fr Chinnappa thanked the resource person fro spending his valuable time with us.

At 3.00 pm Fr Antonyraj took the session on Our Vision and Our Mission.
He explained 10 traits to achieve life-long success (what the parents expect from their children and what the teachers have to make their students do).
The students should be made -
1. A quality producer
2. An independent learner
3. A creative thinker
4. A critical thinker
5. An information manager (ie, to know how to manage information)
6. A cooperative learner ( not a selfish learner, to work as a team - 'TATA family')
7. An effective communicator (All the inferiority complexes will disappear when you learn English)
8. A confident leader
9. An efficient time manager
10. A self assessor

He also explained us about the vision, mission and goals of catholic education in just 5 points.
At 5.00 pm we had the session with Fr Vice provincial and Fr Economer. Fr Rayanna animated the session. Here we discussed the present situations of the schools and colleges in our province.
The schools presented were those of Pezzonipet, Nalgonda, Ravulapalem, Mangalagiri, Sanathnagar, Punganur, Guntupalli, Wyra and Bosco Nagar Provincial House. The colleges presented were DB Academy Degree College, Jr Colleges Chandur, and Gunadala.
The participants gave several suggestions for the discussion in the Provincial Council, especially regarding having a common policy for schools - both for English medium and Telugu medium separately in the Province.
Fr Antonyraj also gave his valuable suggestions that:
- The students are our advertisers
- Cerate awareness of various programmes happening in the school and make the students know the uniqueness of the school. Let them be the advertisers.
- If a school lacks strength, change the scope of the centre. For example, convert the school into a study centre.

Fr Vice Provincial thanked the participants for sharing the present situations in the schools and colleges. He said that all the activities of the communities are activities of the Province. He cited the example of Kolhapur community. He said that as for a follow-up, the Economer can sent a format each to the communities to be filled in. he also stressed on clarity and accountability of each community.

On the second day, 13th, we began the first session at 9.00 am. The venue for the meeting was shifted to BIRDY as there was the Salesian Family meeting arrangd in the Provincial House.
Fr Antonyraj animated the session. He began the session with an exercise on Multiple Intelligence Inventory.
Fr Antonyraj told us that when we try to find the talent of a boy and ask him to develop it, he will develop other talents as well. He said that the possibilities are much more than the previous times for the development of personality. The world is not a narrow place but a vast horizon. He illustrated it with the behaviour of a chimpanzee that was in a small cage and later put in a large cage. He exhorted us to be creative in teaching the subject as people are looking for innovative schools.
Later we had discussion on some selected innovative schools. The entire group was divided into four groups for the discussion.

The second session began at 11.00 am on the Formation Plan for the Students in the schools (part of EPP). It was explained by Fr Antonyraj. He said that the students feel that they benefit a lot from our schools. They also feel that the least they benefit from us is in the field of career guidance. They do appreciate the holistic development they receive from our schools.

In the last session started at 12.15 pm the discussion was on the Administration of Schools and Colleges.
Fr Antonyraj told us that we need to do something new every year in our schools, like updating the class notes every year etc.
Fr Antonyraj elaborated the School Administration in 10 words:
1. Transparency
2. Decentralization
3. Planning
4. Democratic Approach
5. Straightforwardness
6. Concern for the weak (weak in economic situation & weak in studies).
7. Equality
8. Community Responsibility
9. Holding on to Basic Principles
10. Hard work.

It was followed by clarifications of doubts. Fr Antonyraj told us that for better administration, we need more animation. And during the year there should be animation at regular intervals. He also said that there should be animation for different departments separately both at Province level and at community level.
On behalf of the participants, Fr Marianna thanked Fr Vice Provincial, Fr Economer Fr Rayanna for their presence and Fr Antonyraj for animating the sessions for two days. In his thanksgiving message, Fr Marianna said that he learned that learning is a lifelong process. He cited the example of the former prime minister P. V. Narasimha Rao who learned to use E-mail at the age of 78.
The two-day meeting of the Headmasters and Principals came to an end at 1.00 pm on 13th. All the participants really benefited a lot from these two days of meeting. Thanks to one and all.
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