It is essential for educational leaders to have a future vision and to inspire the people around them to implement it. Such views were at the forefront at the meeting of the European Union member states’ education politicians, experts and practitioners. On 9-10 September, during the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, a conference entitled ‘Leadership in Education’ takes place in Vilnius. Representatives with direct links to education policy in EU member states will discuss the role of leaders in ensuring the quality of the systems of education, their efficiency and effectiveness in a rapidly changing world.
‘Even an orchestra of the most talented musicians needs a good conductor in order that he joins the unique styles of different musicians into a solid and wonderful sound of music. Likewise, schools also need a strong leader if we are to achieve the best results that ensure both personal and public welfare in the future. This can be provided not only by formal education but also by creative thinking and the ability to create innovations and embracing the advancement of science’, the Minister of Education and Science of the Lithuanian Presidency Dainius Pavalkis said during the opening ceremony of the conference.
‘The generation who are attending schools today differs from the one who came yesterday. Therefore, we must apply different methods and use different means of education and we must be open to changes: the youth that we are working with cannot stand stagnation’, Dainius Pavalkis emphasized. ‘The people working at schools must be very bright, show initiative and be creative. We must put efforts into attracting and preserving them and in trying to help them fully reveal themselves and, ultimately, improve themselves.’
‘The teacher’s role has changed out of all recognition. In the 21st century, knowledge and information are easily accessible to all; therefore, the new generation who are now at schools – which are sometimes called the ‘digital generation’ – often have more knowledge, information and skills than any teacher of an individual subject has ever had. In this century, a teacher should feel safe and be a facilitator who helps students to improve themselves, to more rapidly find reliable sources of knowledge and proper solutions. These are the teachers that our children want to see’, the Minister added.
The participants of the conference are representatives of EU member states and EU candidate countries, the members of the European Free Trade Association and the representatives from the European Commission. The conference is organized in close cooperation with the European Commission.
The aim of the conference is to contribute to the discussions on educational leadership by providing opportunities for EU member states and candidate countries, countries of the European Free Trade Association and representatives of the European Commission to share their experience and best practice of educational leadership policy and related issues. The outcome of the conference will complement the conclusions of the EU Council of Education on innovative leadership, which are planned to be adopted in November 2013.
The conference is intended for educational leaders, including politicians, administrators, school principals, teachers, teacher educators, and representatives of professional networks and associations. The participants of the conference are invited to share their knowledge and information, to make and reinforce international relations, transnational cooperation, and to enrich the national and European strategies by the outcome of the conference and the discoveries in the field of educational leadership.
Education plays a vital role in the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy and it is the key to advanced sustainable growth. Leadership has an essential role in trying to create the conditions for success on all the relevant levels of educational systems.