Educational Leadership in the 21st Century

Education plays a unique role right from the birth of humanity in its onward journey. In the background of the emerging global country of 21st century, education has incomparably challenging roles to play. The ‘global family’ becomes a close -knit community, minimizing and eliminating geographic, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and all other barriers and the role of education has to undergo a conspicuous change. At this era of reconstruction and redefining, the very concept of education has to be reconstructed, redefined and modified assimilating the good elements of the past and discarding the bad ones. In fact, the basic concept of education remains intact in its mission but pedagogy and methodology have to be reviewed. That is what T.S Eliot said, “It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time — for we are bound by that — but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.”The educational leadership in this century is endowed with the noble role of managing these changes in an effective and appropriate manner.The most important challenge of education is to keep pace with the knowledge society. The knowledge and information evolve, develop and are acquired at an alarming speed. The educational leadership has to help the institution encompass the exploding growth of knowledge lest it would remain obsolete. This emphasizes the education being technologically up to date and scientifically exploring. This paradigm shift is due to the giant leaps in communication and information technology that can be manipulated as an asset rather than a challenge. Thus, the real concern in education today lies in the effective management of this complex phenomenon. Therefore, the academicians need to be dynamically ultra paced in the pedagogic process.The highest edge of competition is the talisman of 21st century. This quest for excellence prioritises the need for competitiveness in all fields. The quiescent knowledge imparted through conventional methods may leave the principal and the agent in the education far behind the signs of the time. The product of an alma mater needs to be equipped with the best to face the world ahead of it. Unless the institution succeeds in this noble mission, it will merely be added up as just one among the others in the list of the so-called millions of schools. Thus, leading innovation in education ensuring uncompromising quality in the minutest of details and at the same time being effective, the educational leadership makes an institution a pace-setting one.An effective education is life education. Advancing one’s knowledge and imbibing competence become worthwhile only when it contributes to the emotional intelligence and quality of life of the individual. John Dewey defines,” Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”. 21st century has the biggest chaos in its values and priorities. Along with achieving professional growth in life, the overall development of the individual needs a special stress. Education should equip an individual to re-define and re-discover the culture and values for oneself. How an individual takes decisions and allots priorities depend on how well the education has expanded his/her horizons. To dedicate oneself to the service of the nation and his/her fellowmen, one needs to be reinforced by the quality of education he/she receives. The question is whether the modern education leads a learner forward along a path where he is enriched academically, culturally, emotionally, physically and spiritually or not. “The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.” — Oliver Wendell HolmesThe education is a vision, mission and a passion. The field of education thus needs visionaries, missionaries and people with zest and zeal. When it comes to Indian educational scenario, a country with human capital as the greatest strength finds, at the same time, its enormously growing population as one of the hurdles in its path to greater heights. Benjamin Distraeli states, ‘in the education of the people of this country, the fate of this country depends’. Provided the population becomes equipped with quality skills and education, the country will have a strong edge over the other nations in the emerging world. Specifically for India, its future lies in how the young generations bring forth favorable changes in all the realms of political, economic, social, spiritual so on and so forth. As the education moulds the generations, so will be the future of the society. To conclude, G.K Chestertson rightly said, “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another”.

Think You’re Well Educated? Alfie Kohn’s Myths About the Purpose of Education Dispelled

So how were you educated? Did you endure tests? Grades? Lessons? For shame! Those backwards concepts are catamount to child abuse! It never ceases to amaze me that Alfie Kohn’s writings still get attention, years after No Child Left Behind’s implementation. Often his writings show up in college education programs as if they are the gospel. Kohn is known for taking extreme stances on education issues and he’s well known for arguing the very purposes of schooling, grading, and merit pay. Kohn has a way of making talked-about issues even more talked about. For example, lots of experts banter on about the issues of standardized testing in schools. Kohn turns the issue on its side by questioning the presence of grading systems at all. He relentlessly shapes issues in a way that causes experts to pause from the normal course of intellectual deb to look at educational issues in ways they have not been looked at before.Myth: Vocational education is a waste.
Kohn maintains that it isn’t the school’s place to train students for their future jobs. The reality is that many students stay in school because they see a connection between their futures and their educations. Two-thirds of all high school students attempt college or university, but only one-fifth of students end up with a four-year degree. Nowadays, a university education is a huge financial burden to take on without knowing what the return on one’s investment is going to be.Myth: Schools are too much like businesses.
Kohn finds fault with the accountability movement’s premises that competition among schools will lead to eventually better quality education for young people. Kohn argues that schools lack a worthy purpose. He lashes out against the memorization of facts. His solution? “To be well educated, then, is to have the desire as well as the means to make sure that learning never ends.” Ok, I get that Mr. Kohn, I really do. He calls for universities to get more involved in education reform. Good stuff.Myth: Schools overemphasize achievement.
This is Kohn’s pill that I can’t swallow. Kohn writes that authentic learning is stifled by pushing students to excel according to grades, especially standardized testing. He doesn’t agree with the SAT. He attacks grade inflation and even teacher praise of students in general.Kohn is to educational reform what Malcolm X was for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. That is, as far as reform goes, they both were important propelling sources who affected the mainstream way of thinking but were not always accepted by the mainstream. I appreciate Kohn’s brilliance, but only in a wow-that-makes-you-think kind of way. Yes, too much of our financial and human resources seem to be devoted to educational reform policies that blow with the political winds, seemingly in a different direction each election. Kohn may be the Gargamel of public education, but his arguments are important because us educational smurfs come up with the best potions under pressure.