Transformation in the education sector is imperative at all levels
According to the United Nations, the pandemic has wiped out 20 years of education gains. The crisis led the world to fall far behind in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG), which guarantees inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all. Thus, now is the time for nations and organisations to take the necessary steps to transform the purpose of education, addressing why and how people educate. It will take leadership at all levels to create the change and transform the system.
To spark conversations, The British Council recently organised School Now! conference with the theme 'Transforming Schools: Leadership at all levels' in Dubai. At the event, global education experts learned about the significance of developing student leaders and professional pathways to leadership. In addition, the delegates explored effective leadership across school communities through keynote presentations, panel discussions, and workshops.
The hybrid event connected over 2,000 delegates from around 30 nations, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Attendees were able to hear about the most recent research, theories, and practices in leadership and school reform. The sessions highlighted the role of leadership in promoting school reform and innovation. It encompassed leadership at all levels of the educational system, from principals and administrators to teachers, students, and support personnel.
Particular emphasis was put on the need for collaboration, teamwork, and mental health in transforming schools, a necessity for continual improvement and a learning culture. Global education leaders also explored issues of the significance of distributed leadership in cultivating an environment of innovation and development. The speakers discussed the importance of excellent communication in fostering stakeholder trust and collaboration and the effect of social and emotional learning (SEL) and mindfulness practices on school change.
As one of the keynote speakers, I got to discuss 'School Leadership: A Paradigm Shift.' I proposed a fundamental transformation theory in how leadership is understood and conducted in schools. Instead of simply managing resources and maintaining the status quo, school leaders are now perceived as agents who are accountable for encouraging innovation and improvement in their respective schools. There is a need for a new leadership style based on cooperation, constant improvement, and learning. Additionally, school leaders must be able to collaborate with teachers, staff, students, families, and community members to identify and address difficulties, capitalise on opportunities, and build a shared vision for success.
The educators also participated in pre-conference workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions centred on specific themes or areas of interest. Hence, they were able to share their experience, learn from others, and form professional ties.
Education is a priority; thus, countries must be back on track to achieving SDG 6. We must embrace the notion of collective leadership so that transformation in education can be a reality. We must transform our work system, including ways we can deliver education and how we recentre the purpose of education to position learners and educators as leaders of a more equitable and sustainable world.
Author: Neeti Tripathi, Vice Principal, Junior School, CIDER International School
Disclaimer: This report was published under paid partnership.