Transformative Educational Leadership

Manila Bulletin, December 15, 2001 | Go to article overview

Transformative Educational Leadership


Byline: Patricia B. Licuanan, Ph.D.

PERHAPS the most defining characteristics of these times is rapid and far-reaching change. Change is most obvious in the domains of politics, economics, technology and culture.

Democratization

In politics, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe has been felt world-wide. Authoritarian regimes are progressively shifting to more democratic, pluralistic systems in many parts of the developing world particularly in the Asian region. This development toward liberal democracy has opened up channels for broader-based people participation in political economic as well as social areas.

Globalization

Economic liberalization and the dominance of market forces and private enterprise are major trends contributing to the development of a global economy characterized by worldwide expansion of trade and transport, flows of capital and investment and liberalization of financial markets.

The new global business landscape is a world of global corporations, global jobs, global consumers and global products. Knowledge is the new global product. In place of the traditional, tangible goods of the manufacturing economy, intangible products such as ideas, processes, information are taking a growing share of trade in the global marketplace.

Technological advances

Fast-paced technological change particularly in such areas as communications, electronics, biotechnology, computers and robotics are inventing new products, wiping out old jobs and creating new ones in their place, revolutionizing work relations and practically removing distance as a consideration in any activity.

The media revolution

And media's impact on all aspects of contemporary life is another characteristic of today's world. While print media has grown in importance, the major revolution has taken place in television and video and the Internet which transmit images and messages to millions of people all over the world and have become powerful instruments of a growing global culture.

A world in crisis

The new world we face this century is also a world in crisis. It is characterized by conflict - large-scale and small - hostilities between states, civil and ethnic wars and conflicts between groups and individuals unable to manage differences. Asia has its share of conflicts. China and Taiwan are gearing up and threatening military action; the old conflict between India and Pakistan may yet become the world's first nuclear war; the separatist conflicts in Indonesia and the Philippines continue. And it is yet uncertain how the recent terrorist attacks in the United States will impact on Asia.

Despite marked increase in environmental awareness, human beings continue to threaten our air and water and forests and other natural resources. The gap between rich and poor - whether countries or people - is dramatically widening. Globalization has its winners and losers with poor women being the biggest losers with feminization of overseas employment, heightened commoditification of women in media and expansion of trafficking in women.

And the family is endangered. Too many children - whether because of poverty, discord between their parents, abuse or the demands of day to day life and work - are dislocated or alienated from their families. And there is the crisis of the spirit - widespread materialism, growing cynicism and mounting priority given to selfish interests over community and the common good.

A world of opportunity

But while the world we work in is in crisis, it is also a world of immense possibilities. Science and technology have extended lifespans, shrunk time and space, and made information available to all who seek it. The rules of power and advantage have been changed expanding opportunities in business beyond the established elite to other players such as young entrepreneurs with less resources. …

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