Leadership in education: interaction of policies, schools and community
NEPC 2018 annual conference, that took place in Baška, Croatia, on April 16th-17th, was dedicated to School Leadership, as a natural continuation of the past three year’s strategical exploration of the topic.
NEPC has been exploring school leadership directly through its two recent studies on school governance (Gabršček, 2016; Lenskaya, 2017). Studies show the great power and important role school principles have on school governance level, as well as a lack of professional support available to them in some countries and the tendency to confuse leadership with management – not only by school leaders and school staff but in, some cases, by policymakers.
From these premises, the conference aimed to point out some of the policies, practices, and concrete case examples that can better support effective yet inclusive leadership in our schools.
The political context matters!
It was remarked that the social and political context in which the educational system operates makes all the difference. In some countries, school leader is seen more as a function (job description that happened to someone?), rather than a personality trait, a passion to manage and lead and be visionary. Nonetheless, according to several experts, what works in one context is not necessarily and directly replicable in another, and the “travelling” pattern of good practices do not always follow the traditional divisions “north – south”/“west-east”, as one of the key messages of the conference was that actually all societies and systems are facing same, or pretty similar, issues and challenges. Exchanges, confrontations and flux of information should be mutual and a multi-way process.