The speed with which the Corona virus has spread across the world has shattered even the hardiest of us. This invisible danger has taken us all by surprise and brought new levels of anxiety. As we contemplate living in a fast paced- 21st century, it is almost mind blowing to acknowledge the reality that despite all the advances in medicine within trillion dollar economies – we have no defence against this invisible enemy.
If ever there was a time for bold education leadership – now is the season. For too long bureaucrats, appointed by their political masters have determined the future of education. Now is the time for the experienced leaders to nurture new talent – thinkers, those who are prepared to challenge the status quo and embark on energetic missions to meet the needs of the next generation. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.
It doesn’t take much to realise that over the last 50 years we have essentially allowed politicians to win elections based on poor education policies. The Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) shifted to standardised testing, long school days and little or no play, sport or recess. Data memory and regurgitation became the requirement. The result has been a dismal failure. During this season we allowed the environment to suffer some of the worst abuse in the history of mankind. Compliant education leaders watched, voiced concerns, but essentially toed the line.
Those days are over
A new band of leaders; strong, determined, professional, proficient and experienced are needed to re-shape education and breathe life into education leadership. The only way we are going to achieve this is for school Principals to create endless opportunities for teachers to be exposed to leadership opportunities. The old “my way – or the highway” has to be replaced by “What is your opinion, based on your experience regarding the best way to move forward?”
The International Confederation of Principals (ICP) is a superb organisation who can nurture this new aspiring leadership corp. Our proposed Conference in Cape Town in June will, either physically or digitally, present some of the best speakers we have been able to gather to inspire and enthuse those in our schools who have the potential to lead the next generation.
Alternatively, the convention will be postponed till February 2021 and should not be missed. The final decision will be made at the end of April 2020.
Leaders are grown. They need endless opportunities to be given projects to run and to be encouraged to see them through to completion. Failure has to be an expectation. GRITTY leaders are those who know the anguish of getting it wrong, but willing to be in the arena struggling to work it out. When aspiring leaders have the safety net of an experienced Principal standing by in the wings, ready to pick them up without condemnation, but rather giving advice and encouragement – then great men and women step forward to take on the role of leading thinking spaces.
Imagine if we could affect education at the speed that this virus infected people. Imagine if social connection, making people feel important, competent and supported, outperformed social distancing. It is possible, if aspiring leaders are given the opportunity to be ignited.
My plea to Principals around the world is to identify your next generation of leaders and equip them with the skills to grow into leadership. We need creative, innovative thinkers who will lead society in a new direction. Now is the time.