Governance and Leadership in Higher Education

Strategic Management is the identification of strategies educational leaders can adopt; to achieve improved performance and competitive advantage over contending institutes of learning. An institution of learning is said to have competitive advantage if its profitability is higher than the average profitability of the contending institutes of learning. It is a continuous process of planning, monitoring, analyzing and assessing the learning outcome of the educational institution. The major variables influencing strategy formulations are as follows;

  1. Top management’s mission, vision and objectives for the organisation
  2. The external environment, including competitive opportunities and risk
  3. The internal environment, which focuses on managerial, financial and technical resources and capabilities of the organisation
  4. Organisational responsibility to the society.

Effective leadership by setting values and participative decision-making process is key not only to achieve the vision, mission and goals of the institution but also in building the organizational culture. National Assessment and Accreditation Council  (NAAC) Manual defines leadership as a term used for setting direction and creates a student- focused, learning oriented climate, clear and visible values and high expectation by ensuring the creation of strategies, system and methods for achieving excellence, stimulating innovation and building knowledge and capabilities.

NAAC further explains that the leadership provides clear vision and mission to the institution. The functions of the institution and its academic and administrative units are governed by the principles of participation and transparency. Formulation of development objectives, directives and guidelines with specific plans for implementation by aligning the academic and administrative aspects improves the overall quality of the institutional provisions

The governance structure of the programme must clearly assign authority and responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policies that enable the programme to fulfill its mission. The programme must possess the financial resources necessary to fulfill its mission and programme educational objectives. In particular, there must be sufficient resources to attract and retain well-qualified staff, and to provide them with opportunities for continuous development and career growth. The Accreditation Manual by National Board of Accreditation (NBA) further recommends following the principles of effective and responsible governance; along with involvement of corporate leaders in the governance issues of the institute.

Some of the issues highlighted by NAAC in regard to governance include; vision and mission of the institution, total corpus fund generated, annual financial audit, academic and administrative audit, promoting autonomy and e-governance. NAAC notes that some of the recent e-governance approach has led to online submission of applications and hence a minimum interface with the human element leading to transparency in the overall process.

The soundness of strategies directly affects the sustainability of outcomes expected in the field of higher education. A sound sustainability strategy drives innovation, satisfies learners, engages teachers and hence attracts and retains top talent. Anyone who takes responsibility for understanding and acting on sustainability challenges qualifies as a sustainability leader. Quality of governance is most important in ensuring sustainable policy outcomes. With sustainable strategies, leadership and governance in place; the outcomes of the higher educational institutions also becomes sustainable.


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  • GoM. (n.d.). Management Information System of Higher Educational Institution. Retrieved 11 25, 2017, from Directorate of Higher Education Maharashtra State:
  • NAAC. (2013). Institutional Accreditation: Manual for SSR. Bangalore: NAAC.
  • NAAC. (2017). Manual forAffiliated/Constituent Colleges. Bangaluru: NAAC.
  • NBA. (2012). Accreditation Manual for Business Schools. New Delhi: NBA.
  • NBA. (2018). General Manual for Accreditation. New Delhi: National Board of Accreditation.