Creativity at the Grassroots
Fostering Creativity at the Grassroots – Exploring Theory and Practice Linkages through Quality Improvement Projects. - Suparna Diwakar and N.Ramkumar, Centre for Leadership and Management in Public Services
The Education Leadership and Management (ELM) domain is one of the least explored in the government education system. Functionaries at the level of the block, cluster or school levels, are tasked with the delivery of educational services towards achievement of goals. This high task-completion orientation tends to make the functionaries view their roles rather myopically. The system tends to see them as 'minor technicians' who must follow predetermined processes (determined at level remote from the grassroots) and not as people with a purpose. Over a period of time this notion disempowers the functionaries and their agency, and curtails creativity and innovation in problem solving.
The complexity of issues that the government education system is attempting to address makes it necessary for appropriate and innovative solutions to be identified and implemented at the grassroots. And yet the plausibility of a framework that enables these seems remote considering the scale of the government education system. An exploration of an approach that could be attempted has been made through a Quality Improvement Project Framework as an integral part of an Education Leadership Development Programme in Karnataka. This programme, conceptualised and implemented as a collaboration between Centre for Leadership and Management in Public Services, Azim Premji Foundation and the Policy Planning Unit, Government of Karnataka, throws up some interesting cases that suggest pointers on how this is possible. This paper highlights the salient features of the conceptual framework, and the structures and processes, that fostered innovation at the grassroots.