Values in Educational Administration

Values in Educational Administration

Learning and leadership are indispensable to each other.” It’s a great quote by John F. Kennedy. Educational Leadership is also connected with ‘Educational Administration,’ which plays a vital role in establishing a successful educational system.

The values of a leader greatly influence their fellow people. On the other hand, value-based learning helps build up perfect leadership.

So, value-based education largely depends on Educational Administration. The Holy Qur’an confirms: “…We raise some of them above others in ranks so that some may command work from others…” (Quran, 43:32).

Organizational values are the acceptable standards that govern the behavior of individuals within the organization. If there is no clear vision of values, one might inadvertently make wrong decisions, causing confusion and discomfort for all.

When the vision is based on core values, then leadership will be smooth, and these core values must be universal values. The organizational values must be in line with its objectives and aims.

Different organizations might have different values, but they should have universal core values. In this chapter, only the value-based aspects have been discussed. As it is not the Administration chapter, the discussion here is limited only to value-laden aspects.

Defining Educational Administration

Educational Administration is a specialized set of organizational functions whose primary purposes are to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of relevant educational services. In the Qur’an, the word “tadbir” and its verb “yudabbiru” are used to mean administration.

Allah says: “Verily your lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and is firmly established on the throne of authority, regulating and governing all affairs…” (the Qur’an, 10:3). Early Muslim scholars used words such as “wilayah,” “ri’ayah,” and “amanah” to mean administration. “Wilayah” and “ri’ayah” mean to run and take care of others’ affairs, “amanah” means an obligation to conduct duties and being trustworthy. Mursi defines Educational Administration as “Every systematic and deliberate activity aiming to achieve the educational objectives of a learning institution.” (Saleh, 2002) So, it is a responsibility to run with obligation and great care.

Values Within Any Educational Administration

The following principles might be taken into account as the starting points for identifying values within any educational administration:

Accountability

Accountability is the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility. In any educational institution, it is the policy to hold the institution, teachers, and students liable for their respective duties.

As teachers are liable or answerable for students’ academic progress by linking such progress along with remunerations, maintenance, etc., which are the duties of an administrator, and students are liable for maintaining the rules and regulations.

Accountability may be again defined as the self-control that allows one to judge their deeds. As Allah ordained, “Then guard yourselves against a Day when one soul shall not avail another….” (the Qur’an, 2:123). First of all, an administrator should remember that he or she is accountable to Allah (SWT). The main aim of a Muslim is to gain the pleasure (Ridha) of Allah (the Qur’an, 51:56) through obedience (ta’ha).

Hence, an administrator should do all their activities remembering that it is a part of Prayer or Ibadah and must have awareness of Allah or taqwa inside the heart. “Allah ever watches you” (the Qur’an, 4:1). If an administrator pursues their duty righteously, remembering the sense of servanthood to Allah or ubudiyyah, all their worldly acts will be granted as ibadah.

Allah says, “Work (Righteousness) soon Allah will observe your work and His messenger and the Believers” (the Quran, 9:105).

An administrator is also responsible to their staff. Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) said, “Surely all of you are responsible and will be questioned about their responsibilities.” (Sahih al-Bukhari) Hazrat Omar (RAA) showed several examples of accountability in his span of reign or as Khalifa.

Commanding Good

The Educational Administrator, as a caller or Dayee, should encourage people to do good and discourage wrong deeds.

Allah (SWT)’s injunction must be remembered: “Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining the good deeds or Al-Ma’ruf (i.e., Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding evil deeds or Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful” (the Quran, 3:104).

Counseling or Shura

An educational administrator is obliged to consult (shura) with those who have knowledge and can provide proper guidance. Allah directed us: “And those who have answered the call of their Lord and establish prayer and who conduct their affairs by consultation and spend out what We bestow on them for sustenance” (Surah Al-Shura:38).

Though he is the only perfect man in the world ever, he still gives importance to counseling for making any thought and work ethically feasible and realistic. The Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) always used to consult with his companions for important matters.

Generosity

An educational institute should cultivate good behavior or akhlaq among its members.

Then students will also emulate this practice. “Verily, the most honorable among you, in the sight of Allah, is he who has the best conduct among you” (Quran, 49:13). “…and speak well (words) to (all) men…” (the Quran, 2:83). Unbelievers are seen attracted by the kindness and good manners of the Prophet (SAAS).

According to Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (SAAS) has said, “Show leniency: do not be hard: give solace and do not create aversion.” The running of an institution depends on the solidarity, the unity, and good relations among its individuals.

As the Prophet of Allah said, “The solidarity and relation of the believer to another believer are like the building of bricks and pillars that strengthen each other” (Sahih Bukhari).

“So, by mercy from Allah, (O Muhammad), you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude (in speech) and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter” (Quran, 3:159).

This nice verse shows us generosity as well as how to motivate the supporting staff of an administrator to fulfill their commitment.

Justice and Equality

Equality means treating everyone fairly and providing equal opportunities without discrimination, bias, or partiality.

In the eyes of Allah, all human beings are equal. “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (the Qur’an, 43:13).

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAAS) expounded the verse for us on the occasion of Hajj-ul-Widaa, in the following words:

“In the light of this Qur’anic verse, no Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab, nor does any non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab. Neither black is superior to white nor white is superior to black. Of course, if there is any criterion of superiority and respectability in the sight of Allah, it is Taqwa (righteousness).”

Allah orders us to be just (Adi), “O you who believe, be upright for Allah, bearer of witness with justice; and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Be just; that is nearer to observance of duty. And keep your duty to Allah. Surely Allah is Aware of what you do” (the Qur’an, 5:8).

Any educational administrator should not discriminate between staff or teachers.

Allah commands Muslims to be just even if the verdict goes against one’s own family, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah; even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be they rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is ever Well-Acquainted with what you do” (the Quran, 4:135).

Before making any judgment, it’s obligatory to listen to both sides. The Prophet (SAAS) said, “If two adversaries approach you (for fair judgment) and you hear the claim of one, do not judge until you have heard from the other, for this is to decide the case” (Al Baihaqi).

“You shall not accept any information unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brain, and you are responsible for using them” (the Quran, 17:36).

It should be critically noted that most disasters and destruction occur because of injustice in the form of nepotism, favoritism, threats, and bribery. To help develop the value of justice in society, educational administration is the core element in this respect. It needs Heaven’s help.

So seek Allah’s help: Rabbana La Taj’Aina Ma’Al-Qawmiz-Zalimin.

“Our Lord! Place us not with the wrong-doing people” (Al A’raf 47).

Obedience and Respect

Obedience and respect for authority are the basic fundamental requisites for obtaining work from others and accomplishing it.

It is necessary for those people who are assigned a task to obey all legal and reasonable orders and perform it responsibly, as commanded in the Al-Qur’an: “Obey Allah and His Messenger and those in positions of authority among you” (the Qur’an, 4:59).

Islam offers an incisive Theory of Leadership, which defines the Leader as a “Khadim” or Servant of the People.

As such, he/she is certainly not an autocrat or an authoritarian “Minister” or “Ruler,” but a “Ministering Angel of Mercy,” one who attends to the needs of society and humanity — both of which need ‘Khuddam’ (plural of ‘Khadim’) in all walks of life, including the System of Education. The result of such Islamic Leadership is Egalitarian Partnership between the ‘Khuddam’ and the ‘Awam’ (masses, people), in order to serve the noble Moral Social Purpose and Human Purpose of Perpetual Peace and Development in Sovereign Fraternal Freedom (Azam: 2013).

Perseverance and Optimism

Administration is a job of great endurance. An Administrator needs constant mental support. As an educational administrator, he will consciously make decisions for the betterment of the institution.

He should be mindful and calculating in implementing the decision as adequate steps to be taken. Then TawfcW (Trust in Allah) will make him optimistic (the Qur’an, 3:59).

It will provide mental peace, patience relaxing him from the heaviness of his administrative duty and responsibility, and make him feel firm that Allah is always with him. “…and consult them in (important) matters. But when thou has determined, put thy trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust (in Him)” (the Qur’an, 3:159).

Allah teaches his servants how to implore His grace, and it is as follows:

Rabbana ‘alayka tawakkalnawa’ildyka’anabnawa ‘ilaykal-masir.

“O our Lord! We put our trust but in You alone, and turn but to You alone,.and to You alone is our return in the end.” (Al Mumtahinah 4).

This was the supplication or du’a of Ibrahim (pbuh) and his followers.

Striving for Gaining Knowledge and Improvement

A successful administrator always strives to gain knowledge and improve the institution with new thoughts, creative plans, and activities. Creativity is a leadership quality. A leader must have the initiative for the betterment of the community and Ummah at large.

The Prophet (SAAS) always prays to Allah: “Increase my knowledge” (the Qur’an, 20:114).

In essence, it means the words of poet-philosophers: ‘Knowledge is God,’ and hence the real power lies in it for the betterment of the leaders of the world, indeed.

Stewardship

Administration is a responsibility, a trust, or amanah. Every person is like a steward, as Rasul (SAAS) has said,

“All of you are shepherds, and each one is responsible for his flock. A leader of people is a shepherd and is responsible for them. A man is like a shepherd over his family, and he is responsible for his flock. A woman is like a shepherd over her husband’s house and children, and she is responsible for them. And a slave is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible for it. So all of you are guardians and are responsible for your charges.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah has made the human being the vicegerent on earth and given him the trust. “O you who believe, do not be unfaithful to Allah and the Messenger, nor be unfaithful to your trusts, while you know” (the Qur’an, 8:27). He should have a sense of guardianship in his heart for his staff. The Prophet said, “Who has no guardian, I am his guardian” (Musnad Ahmed).

In the light of the above quotes, an educational institution is truly the steward of all the people within its fold of administration.

Steadfastness

A leader has to be strong as well as firm in his decisions. Steadfastness is a power that makes a man capable of upholding his rationality, reasoning, and morality, fixed on reaching his goal in the right manner.

As Allah reminds us: “Say (O Prophet!): The evil and the good are not equal, even though the excess and abundance of evil may impress you. So, O people of understanding, be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may succeed” (the Qur’an, 5:100).

Avoiding Wastage

An administrator must strive to eliminate any wastage around him at home, in the workplace, or in society. He not only has to be careful about material resources (like water, food, electricity, gases, etc.) but also human capital, energy, time, and machine utilization, among other things.

Continuous striving is the only way to achieve the minimum possible wastage or maximum possible efficiency, which is nothing but Jihad in Arabic. The Holy Qur’an warns against wastage and lavish expenditure in the following words:

“And render to the kindred their due rights, as well as to those in need, and to the wayfarer. But do not waste (your wealth, time, health, talents, opportunities, etc.) in the manner of a spendthrift. For the wasteful are the brothers of Satan; and Satan is ungrateful to his Lord” (the Qur’an, 17:26; the Qur’an, 27).

Seeking Help from Allah

It is universally admitted that man, being subject to death, is imperfect because of his emotions, anger, love, cruelty, etc. These imperfections often lead him to commit wrongs, for which judiciaries, aided by executives, are seen as essential to maintaining a correct human society.

Moreover, the judiciaries are also prone to errors or blunders.

For remediation, it is only God’s blessings, help, mercy, and endowments that are seen miraculously assisting the tortured and the distressed, often in the form of natural calamities. In other words, there is a power to which man ultimately surrenders his life and lives until death.

Allah (SWT) has shown us how to seek help from Him through several incidents in the Al-Qur’an. For example, when Musa (pbuh) sought help, he said: “Rabbish rahli sadri wayassir li amri wahlul ‘uqdatam mil-lisani yafqahu qawli.”

Meaning: “O my Lord! Expand for me my breast; ease my task for me, and remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say” (the Qur’an, 20:25-28).

And when seeking Allah’s acceptance, he said: “Rabbana taqabbal minna innaka ‘antas-sami-‘ul-‘alim.”

Meaning: “Our Lord! Accept from us; verily, You alone are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing” (the Qur’an, 2:127).

This dua was recited by Ibrahim and Ismail when they completed the construction of the Ka’bah. It teaches us that a person should not be satisfied with actions alone.

After completing a significant action, one should remain humble and beg Allah to accept it. Ibrahim’s actions demonstrate this humility. After completing such a lofty task, he did not express pride; instead, he remained submissive and asked Allah to accept the action.

Similarly, the companions of the cave made the dua: “Rabbi ‘adkhilni mudkhala Sidqin wa ‘akhrijni mukhraja Sidqin waj’al-li mil-ladunka Sultanan nasira.”

Meaning: “O my Lord! Let my entry be by the Gate of Truth and Honour, and likewise my exit by the Gate of Truth and Honour; and grant me from Thy Presence an authority to aid (me)” (the Qur’an, 17:80).

The Qur’an emphasizes that Allah does not burden a soul beyond its capacity and that it will bear the consequences of its deeds.

Therefore, the following duas reflect a spiritual and historical significance, showing that the ultimate success of a person’s life depends on religious actions and spirit:

“Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”

Conclusion

The Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg studied levels of moral reasoning. Kohlberg showed that at the lowest level, morality is unquestioned obedience to authority. At the next level, people conform to a limited view of what is good for their family or organization.

At higher levels, they decide what will benefit others beyond the immediate group.

An educational administrator can’t have narrow thinking revolving around the institution; instead, they have to think in a broader sense, considering the students as the future generation of the world. Thinking in this way will lead them to maintain a value-based environment.

The glorious past of Islam shows mankind how to implement these values in real life. It also demonstrates that the implementation of these values will make the educational administrative environment a great success. This chapter is, thus, a discussion of the relevant values in brief.

Critically studying the lives of earlier Muslim administrators and modern administrators of successful educational institutions (like IIUM and IIS) will help students gain in-depth knowledge of value-based administration.

Such studies will surely improve their eagerness to consciously do something positive to flourish in this topic, no doubt.