Governance as what an administering body has to do

I am responding to the article 'Enhancing governance in Malaysia' and fully support the writing on the issues mentioned.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has listed good governance and stability as key ingredients for any country to progress.

Since PH came into power, Dr Mahathir said he did not see much problem in administering the country, although there were some people who were dropped because of their abuse of power.

Each and every time The Prime Minister put up a  talk, each time everyone will start doing something based on his ‘talks’.

It is always the need for ‘governors’ to call for governance.

‘Governance’ is as what an administering body has to do or does.

It is understood differently in different sectors for the last two decades.

For example, educators and teachers teach; leaders and managers lead and manage; governors govern. Is this true?

Governance seems like ‘administration; is ‘the system by which an organization is directed and controlled’.

Governance is described as “the leadership, direction and control of an organization” and the primary functions of a governing body are said to be to:

  • Establish the organization’s strategic direction and aims, in conjunction with the executive.
  • Ensure accountability to the public for the organization’s performance.
  • Assure that the organization is managed with probity and integrity. 

Looking at our education scenarios and comments by ‘the elders’ in the news media, many governing bodies are failing to meet the standard.

The existing framework of the education governance does not encourage the execution of this very prominent role, and are said simply lacking the necessary skills to discharge their governance duties.

Clarifying the role of the governing body, giving autonomy and full responsibility for governance in its broadest sense is said to be the solution.

Good governance doesn’t come easy and cheap. Suitable and proper training in development of leaders, plus a back-up plan to replace those who could not or would not rise to the challenge is really needed.

Leaders and administrators must know that they only have the power and are accountable only for specified aspects of school performance, with a purely advisory role in other matters.

Professor Brian Caldwell and Dr Jessica Harris, authors of Breakthrough in Governance, proposed that governance should be seen as “the process through which the school builds its intellectual, social, financial and spiritual capital and aligns them to achieve its goals”.

The structures and roles are a necessary element of governance but then, they are an equally necessary element of all management and leadership processes.

In emphasizing the transformational potential of governance, authors are at pains to stress that the decision-making structures of governance are of secondary importance.

One common feature of the most successful schools was that their executive leaders were closely concerned with governance as well as with the more traditional functions of leadership and management.

The interdependency of governance, leadership and management seems to be the key for and exceptionally governance could be like.

Administrators and official’s education leaders should function equally and complement each other when approaching and handling issues.

In spite of the fact that there's no one organizational show that will convey successful administration in all settings, but it does incite a few questions approximately how we right now organize ourselves to lead, oversee and run  our institutions.

Since many had called for ‘autonomy’ plus the restricted power of the administrators, who is then should the business be hold?

A suggestion will be that the Head educators and teachers surely have the crucial role to do so, while the ministry, state and district offices forming a ‘supervisory board’, assisting in the monitoring and providing advice.

The problem comes when institutions are given the autonomy. The Head and the administration team will have the same governance issues. The ‘shared governance’ would need an own intellectual, social, financial and spiritual capital.

We also need to ensure representation for the bulk interests of parents, teaching and non-teaching staff, the local authority or business sponsors in promoting better governance

The truth is we are not sure our ‘governing’ will be a success. We cannot determine success just by doing ‘experiments’ with some heads and chairs of administrators.

If so, do we need to be bolder in encouraging experimentation with different ways of managing the governance function?

Discussing on governance would address ministerial working group to open up debate, rather than just looking at how existing governing bodies might be modified.

A lot of work is required if good governance is to be as well embedded in the majority of educational institutions.

We may need to ‘willingly experiment’ some different organizational models so that it might make the task more manageable.

Azizi Ahmad is a senior educator


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