Before independence, the Inspector of schools was acting like an old feudal lord, because of his strategic position between schools and the State Department of Education. His will was the law. Armed with power and dignity he used to behave like a ‘New Maharaja’ and that the “Maharaja” can do no wrong.
The old world is dead. A new world has already been born with the dawn of independence. Now it is sheer folly on the part of an Inspector to apply the same old feudal lordship in the changed climate. It will be like using warm dress in summer season. In this age of democracy and socialism he is to work with the people and for the people, not by his whim and self-interest.
Now the Inspector has become the first among equals. His duty is to promote initiative, positive activities and great virtues among the teachers. He is a leader among his co-workers and not their ‘boss’.
Diverse ways are followed by different states as regards the recruitment of Inspectors. Some are directly recruited with certain prescribed academic and professional qualifications, experience etc., some arc transferred from colleges and some are promoted from schools. He belongs to the class I cadre of Education Service. He is essentially a teacher. Secondary Education Commission has given the following recommendations about the recruitment of the Inspector.
“We are of the view that a person, to be chosen as an inspector, should possess high academic qualifications (an Honors or Master’s degree) and should have had teaching experience in schools for at least ten years, or should have been a headmaster of a high school for a minimum period of three years. In addition to direct recruitment, the Inspectors should also be drawn from:
(i) Teachers of ten year’s experience,
(ii) Experienced Headmasters of High Schools; and
(iii) Qualified Staff of Training Colleges.
Duties and Responsibilities of Inspectors
The Inspector is the executive officer of the state department of education. So he is responsible for the educational programme of his circle. As a professional leaders he is to act as a counselor and friend of the teachers. The last function of the Inspector should be establishing school community relationship.
The Administrative Responsibilities of the Inspector
With his administrative powers, the Inspector visits schools and supervises whether the school laws and regulations arc properly followed. He distributes grants of the state and attends various meetings within his jurisdiction. He also gives advice to the assistant and the management of schools. He collects statistical data of the schools in his circle. He appoints teachers and clerks. He also deals with the transfers, sanctions of leave of the teachers and clerks.
His administrative duties also relate to the annual inspection of records, accounts, office routine etc. In this connection he maybe assisted by a competent staff. He is also to see that discipline is properly maintained in all the institutions under his control.
The Inspector has the power to recommend to the Director for the construction or enlargement of school buildings, hostel on out house, regarding alterations or additions to the staff and the provision of additional school material or equipment.
The Inspector is (he chief link between the department of education and the schools under his jurisdiction. The department of education also delegates certain powers to be performed by the Inspector.
The Academic Supervision
Supervision demands that an Inspector should interval with the members of the teaching staff in order to improve the quality of learning of students. He may not be the sole contributor to academic improvement, but as the recognised leader and expeditor, he is to play an important role.
The Inspector’s supervisory work is confined to all recognised educational institutions in his area. During his classroom inspection, he should follow all the principles of democratic supervision. As the academic supervisor, the Inspector should make “power with” approach not “power over” leadership. By this he can assist the group members to plan together. He can think as the group to accept his opinion. Work can be distributed on the basis of skill and training rather than order. Thus he is to play a double role. He is to act as teacher’s counselor and friend, yet he must inspect.
Because of the multiplicity of subjects taught in our secondary schools, it is very difficult on the part of the Inspector to inspect all classes thoroughly and give necessary suggestions. So he should take the help of a panel of experts in which he will act as the chairman. In this connection the Education Commission has made the following recommendation. “We therefore, recommend that the academic work of the school, should be thoroughly inspected by a panel of experts with the Inspector as Chairman and this should be done once in three years.
We recommend that three persons may be chosen from senior teachers, or headmasters to visit schools in the company of the Inspector and to spend two or three days with the staff, discussing with them all aspects of school life the laboratory facilities, the curriculum, the organization of extra-curricular activities; the use of the holidays and all other problems connected with school activities. Through these full frank discussions, the inspectors will be in a far better position to help in the improvement of the schools.”
Inspector’s Role in the Community
No one can deny that the school is a part of the community. Therefore Dewey remarks, “what ^he best and the wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all its children.” So school is a part and parcel of the community. Therefore, information about the school should be communicated to the community. As the leader of education, the Inspector should try to gel cooperation from the community for the improvement of the school. He should also try to protect the schools from the “political fishing in the troubled waters” of educational institutions, inciting agitations, strikes and general indiscipline etc.
In each circle, an annual conference should be held under the presidency of the Inspector. In this conference, the headmasters of all high schools, the District Inspectors and other important officers should be present. Principals of training colleges may be invited to deliver lectures, which should be followed by discussions and debates. It will facilitate for the academic growth and administrative efficiency of the officers, which will indirectly help for the progress of school education.
As an educational administrator and supervisor, the Inspector has to be an artist “in human affairs.” His important quality should be humanism. He should not deal only with files. He should know the art of dealing with both human and non-human materials. If he fails to perform this dual role, the entire system will fail.