Aging SchoolsBlog

Organisational maturity of schools in 1810s and 2010s

It is very revealing to explore the evolution of the organizational aspects of schools over the past 200 years. To be specific in comparison, we have chosen
five important organizational dimensions as listed in the tabular representation.

We have analysed and reported the state of each dimension at the two end-points – 1810s (chosen to be a decade 200 years ago) and 2010s (present). The comparison is presented below:

Status as in 1810s Status as in 2010s
Organisational dimension: Raison d’etre
Separate the wheat from the chaff (focus on the few who could ‘pass’ to become productive industrial workers, the rest did not matter – schools disowned the rest, forever) Ditto
(for instance, no school – across the globe – advertises the achievements of the bottom half of the students as if they are not part of the school)
Organisational dimension: Accountability for outcomes
Almost non-existent! (even generic institutional and personnel appraisal system did not exist; schools used to set their own performance benchmarks and rarely declared themselves short on delivery) Ditto
(schools remain the most unaccountable social institution – the few ‘good performers’ are always credited to school but the overwhelming majority of ‘weak performers’ is always blamed on arenting inadequacies and even the children are blamed and labelled)
Organisational dimension: Customisation for the local
Schools were ‘highly global’ in academic processes/resources (weak integration with local community conditions and imperatives; schools were highly structured organisational form with very limited customization for the local needs & resources) Ditto
(schools rarely develop truly unique character in academic transactions; non-academic transactions may vary to some degree out of compulsions such as resource availability)
Organisational dimension: Status/role of parents (the key stakeholder)
A very piquant situation – parents were hardly a stakeholder – their status was essentially undefined (schools were driven by ‘missionary zeal’ of the governments to get more and more students to school and elaborate laws were framed to that end; by default, governments were the only stakeholders) Ditto
(parents’ stake in the school system is still far from rightful – this is despite parents ‘funding’ schools and handing over their children to the school (‘pledging’ their future too)
Organisational dimension: Scope (depth and breadth of ‘service’)
Shallow in depth and narrow in breadth (only basic numeracy and literacy as per the prescribed syllabus) Ditto, in effect (very broad – focused on overall development – but greatly shallow in quality and at the cost of academic excellence)

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