Friday, April 22, 2011

Educational Leadership For The Twenty-First Century Needed Urgently

By Christina Workman

The world has been shrinking steadily for the past fifty years. The ways in which social networking is bringing about political change is the latest manifestation in a phenomenon born of technology. Its evolution has important implications for educational leadership for the twenty-first century.

National boundaries have been eroding now for half a century. When Harold Macmillan spoke of 'winds of change blowing over Africa' He may not have realized how those same winds would change the face of Britain.

Enoch Powell in 1968 foresaw much of what has happened to British society. National sovereignty erodes in many different ways. In Britain immigrants change the face of society. In China, society opens up its economy and then its society to the world. Americans are forced to face the fact that their country is not the whole world.

The demise of world wars, sour faced customs officials and visa restrictions may be a considerable way off but educational leadership for the twentieth century should prepare for the future, nevertheless. The world as a village cannot accommodate citizens who have been prepared for life under a religious or military dictator who sees the world as his personal goldfish bowl.

People who regard themselves as educationists still teach young adults to don suicide vests, walk into public places and annihilate themselves. They follow in the footsteps of other educationists in Germany, England, Japan and America who were until recently busily engaged in teaching the young to kill each other. Educational leadership in the post modern era does not have a great resume either.

The twenty-first century has begun with great promise for educational leaders. Technology is a wonderful weapon in the right hands. Through the Internet and cell phone technology young people living in repressive regimes and subject to mindless indoctrination and rote learning have been set free. They are enquiring and asserting themselves wanting direction. In China young people know little of their own history and are advised to stick with science and technology, but soon discover that those areas are insufficient on their own. In Britain and America complacency about 'quality education' is being shaken by the flexibility and readiness to learn of school graduates from India and China. Such anomalies and problems throw up wonderful opportunities for leadership.

New trends are already in place. In 1968 the International baccalaureate began and it is growing still. The idea is to replace parochial qualifications with those that are internationally acceptable and relevant. TEFOl and IELTS qualifications in English competence are in the same mode. They are accepted world wide because they represent internationally agreed standards. Educational leadership for the twenty-first century has the opportunity to promote the trends already in place.

Educational Leadership for the Twenty-First Century

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