Commitment to professionalism
World Economic Forum, in its 2016 report, ‘The Future of Jobs”, predicted that many skills currently deemed important may no longer be relevant by 2020. Almost half of the knowledge that students obtain from schools now will also be outdated by the same year. Education experts and employers agree that education systems are transforming much more slowly, compared with the drastic changes in skill-set demands. Discussions on youth, technology and economic growth are expected to pervade national and regional discourse and influence government decisions.
The Singapore experience is that the top third in each cohort are recruited for the teaching profession. This raises the basic standards of educators as well as contributes to a strong cultural regard on education’s importance within the larger society.
The professionalism of the teaching cadre in the primary and secondary education is important in setting a high barometer for the society’s expectations in education aims to enlighten science-talented youths. This could be accomplished through discussions and dialogues with top scholars and technologists in the world. It invariably promotes the international friendship and cooperation among the best young students of the next generation in Asia. Further, professionalism in Academic cadre also important in setting a high standard for expectations of youth.
Strategies are also needed to excite and retain the trained teacher as well as trained Academic within the educational field. While Professional Development is an important goal to improve pedagogies and the self, Career Development is the complementary policy to meet a teacher’s longer-term career aspirations.
Singapore adopts a three-track system for all classroom teachers to head into: teaching, leadership, and the specialist. Each track is important in larger education ecology.
Next to teachers, school and university leaders are crucial to developing schools and universities as learning organizations, contributing to teacher satisfaction and enhanced student learning outcomes. School leadership, identified as the second-most important factor within schools to improve a student’s learning outcomes. Similarly, leadership in higher education is also important in improving student’s learning outcome.
When a leader is not appointed within the system the passion for the development deteriorates due to lack of understanding of the basic foundation of the system. Visionary leaders are essential in secondary and higher education sectors to improve futures orientated strategy in any country.
Sri Lankan leaders in many of these sectors lack Integrity, Professionalism, respect for diversity and a strong commitment to the mission. Therefore, it drastically affects the development process. Consistency and continuity of reform measures in education are needed without political interests.
Synchrony in ideas and practices
There is a distinct need to consider synchrony on multiple levels: horizontally and vertically. Horizontally, for any educational reform to be successful, a ‘whole-of-government’ approach is needed that ties the ministries of education, manpower, national development, and finance, etc. closer together. One of the key components contributing to the success of many countries is the tight integration and link between education and economic development. Education has always been for a larger purpose within society and the economy. Comprehensive economic master plans attempt to forecast trends in the labour market, and the identification of skills gaps amongst the next generation of workers, have been the foundation for the push to develop students with the necessary skills and knowledge.
Holistic understanding of development
I think that a genuinely holistic understanding of development has to give as much attention to its cultural aspects as to its economic, political and technological ones. Infrastructure is not much use if there is nowhere to go with it! Education has always been for a larger purpose within society and the economy. Many development practitioners and social theorists have noted that any development process has an important cultural component. Efforts to improve quality of life or reduce inequality, for instance, are inherently tied to local customs, values and social systems.
Accordingly, research has found that culture can foster development as well as hinder development outcomes. Thus, it is important that development planners take cultural considerations into account, as benevolent interventions made without attention to cultural conditions and factors may prove futile or even have unexpected adverse effects. After the post-colonial era countries shifted the focus of education from meeting colonial needs to increase access to education.
Sri Lanka is still struggling with increasing the access to education as well as higher education due to a limited number of well-established schools and universities. In order to increase the efficiency in the Industrial economy expansion of universities and polytechnics were taken place in many countries. Countries have introduced streaming to reduce attrition and improve system efficiency. In a knowledge economy stronger focus was given to high value, higher productivity industries and the emergence of a service economy. Education had to focus on thinking in a knowledge economy. Countries have adapted “Teach less-learn more frameworks”.
In an entrepreneurial innovation and competency-based economy emphasis were given to adapted skills and 21st century competencies. Dynamic economic futures demand student competencies tackle new challenges. Emphasis on more holistic student outcomes. And the introduction of skill future initiative is important at this phase. Close linkages are important during each of the three phases of economic development.
Ministries of Education, Trade & Industry, and Manpower
Successful ‘use’ of education for national development has been a key variable in the success of many countries. In many of the countries whole-of-government perspective prevails across the Ministries of Education, Trade & Industry, and Manpower.
Students are taught for individual development, but they are also crucially shaped for participation in the market. This horizontal partnership across the government demonstrates the tight link between education for economic and national development. (Janadari Wijesinghe)