Education Minister Shawn Edward has highlighted principals’ critical role in education and urged them to embrace change and innovation.
“These are not normal times,” the former educator declared as he urged principals to adopt a 21st-century mentality and not become stuck in the past.
Edward spoke on Wednesday at the 38th annual education conference organised by the National Principals’ Association (NPA) and the Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology, and Vocational Training.
The theme for the conference was: Reinventing, Reorienting, Recharging: The Evolving Roles of Education Leaders.
Edward described the theme as apt.
“The occurrences of the last two years have set the stage for a revolution in education and you principals are at the forefront of this uprising, leading the charge,” the Minister declared.
In urging the principals to press ahead, he recalled how suddenly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classrooms transformed from four walls to digital platforms, teachers became remote instructors and students, distance learners.
“Our education system as we knew it is no more and it is very unlikely that it will revert to what existed before 2020 prior to the onset of the COVID pandemic. What then does it mean for the educational leaders in the new era of rapid and dynamic change?” The Dennery North MP asked.
“We can all agree that the roles are evolving and your functions are not static. You have to roll with the times. You have to be quick thinkers and you have to move to the demands of the day. It is very easy for all of us to proclaim that change is inevitable. But even with this, how ready are we to embrace change?”
Edward warned that as veteran education administrators, it can be tempting to fall into the rut of the past or even be held captive by the present fearful to glance at the horizon and welcome the rising tide of a new era of education.
In this regard, he echoed the words of the Greek philosopher Socrates who declared that the secret of change is not to focus all your energies on fighting the old, but on building on the new.
“The acceptance of this is inevitable. We have to build on the new. It is not optional. The recognition that your role is evolving is something inescapable and the acknowledgement that it is your duty to strategise and prepare for change is also imperative,” Edward told the principals