School Management Simulation Training (SMST) is one intervention within the INSPIRE Project. Link delivered the SMST to representatives of 94 schools in Mchinji district, Malawi in 2016. As part of the Mid-term Evaluation of the INSPIRE Project, Link produced a report which focused on the effectiveness of the SMST and its impact on the INSPIRE project goals.
The overall aims of the INSPIRE project are to improve the performance of Malawian schools and the impact of the Malawian Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) and District Education Offices (DEO) on school performance, by improving integrated planning, multi-stakeholder accountability and the provision of effective support.
Headteachers and community members viewed the SMST as highly relevant to their ambitions to improve their schools and the skills they need to achieve these ambitions. 99% of community members and headteachers were satisfied or very satisfied with the SMST. One community member commented that “the training was more like we were playing, but it was a reality of what is happening in schools”.
The training had a significant positive impact on the capacity of headteachers, teachers and community members to bring about school improvement by providing a professional development opportunity, increasing their knowledge of management techniques, and clarifying the roles of various stakeholders in school management. 87% of headteachers and 93% of community members felt that the SMST was very important in enabling them to support school improvement.
Just three months after the SMST was delivered, beneficiaries were able to identify a number of specific improvements in the management and performance of their schools as a direct result of the training. These included improvements in community engagement, school management and School Improvement Planning. Improved attendance of learners as a result of these improvements was also noted.