Introduction Top

Education International strongly believes in every child’s right to public or publicly funded education of good quality. EI recognizes and cherishes the critical role played by principals, other school leaders and their schools in providing education services to the communities in which they operate. School leaders, in particular, are strategically positioned to ensure that their schools provide quality education by creating conditions for effective teaching and learning in their institutions.

However, EI notes that the rapidly changing economic, social and cultural environments in which schools operate have created new challenges for school leaders. For example, the implementation of decentralization policies and new accountability demands have made school leadership more and more complex. These demands require school leaders to be more multi-skilled and more versatile, as they are called upon to make more complex management and administrative decisions, while at the same time providing the necessary pedagogical leadership in the school. Education International supports school principals and other school leaders in their quest to improve teaching and learning in their institutions and the conditions under which they, teachers and other education employees work.

Policy Top

EI's policy on school leadership is essentially shaped by the various resolutions passed by the World Congress since 1995, particularly the 2004 and 2007 Congress resolutions on school principals and school leadership. These resolutions recognise the critical role played by school principals and other school leaders in the development of learning establishments and in the provision of quality education. They acknowledge the changing roles of school principals, particularly at secondary school level, and call for appropriate capacity building programmes designed to help school leaders cope with their new roles. Therefore, EI believes that school leaders need appropriate training and continuous professional development and support in order to cope with their ever changing roles. Working conditions for school leaders ought to be conducive and attractive.

Education International promotes democratic and collaborative leadership in schools. Such distributed leadership should involve teachers and other education employees and seek to improve teaching and learning. Therefore, pedagogical leadership is central to school leadership. School leaders and teachers should promote democracy, human rights and social justice in their schools and ensure safety and security for all their students, teachers and other education employees. Schools should be accessible to all, and offer the best opportunities to all, including children with disabilities, children from poor families and minority groups.

EI is committed to improving school leadership and works closely with international and regional organisations such as UNESCO, the World Bank, the OECD, European institutions and the Commonwealth Secretariat in this endeavour.

Activities Top

In line with the 2004 Congress resolution concerning the position and role of school principals and school leadership in secondary school establishments, EI organizes international school leadership meetings. Participants to these activities include not only representatives of teacher unions, but also partners such as the OECD and UNESCO.

Education International strives to influence school leadership policy and practice at international and regional levels. For example, EI has been involved in the OECD School Leadership Activity under the auspices of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC).

The final conference of this activity was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 14-15 April 2008, culminating in the launching of two important publications (Improving School Leadership: Policy and Practice and Improving School Leadership: Case Studies and Concepts for Systemic Action) and a toolkit on school leadership. For more information about both past and future activities, please visit the Calendar.

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