Magazine article New Zealand Management

Schools 2025: Who Will Lead?

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Schools 2025: Who Will Lead?

Article excerpt

Imagine a future in which teenage students are based not in one location but spread throughout the community--in businesses, factories, marae, shopping malls, sporting academies or museums.

Instead of expecting a single school to be expert in everything, students might rely on an education adviser who brokers a suitable mix of programmes. Students might learn accountancy from an accountant, biology from a vet, and business administration from a captain of industry.

This possibility of schooling being delivered within a networked society is one of four scenarios devised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and being used by Secondary Futures: Hoenga Auaha Taiohi (www. secondaryfutures.co.nz), a project set up to encourage discussion about the role and purpose of secondary schools in 20 years' time. It invites consideration of what young New Zealanders will need in order to be successful in this future world, and how institutions, and those who work in them, might respond to meet this need.

Traditionally, schools and the wider education system focus their strategic planning on the next three to five years. But the world is changing at an unprecedented pace and educational leaders of the future will need to navigate waters that have yet to be charted.

Research commissioned by the OECD puts New Zealand in a group of the second highest performing countries in reading, maths and science. However, we had a wide distribution of achievement scores in each subject. Disparities between different groups of students should temper celebration of these results and suggest a reason for promoting change.

New Zealand is a sectorised society: education, business, health and other sectors have had little interaction with each other. In the future, the sectorised approach may not produce the best outcomes. Educational leaders may need a stronger relationship with business and the wider community to ensure schools produce students who are adequately equipped to work and live in an increasingly complex environment.

A key issue is who will lead the secondary schools of 2025. In keeping with other countries, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand could well suffer a school leadership crisis. Already, one third of teachers are over 50. Another third are aged 30 to 50, and only half of them are expected to still be teaching in 20 years' time.

Teachers now under the age of 40, and especially those under 30, are likely to be in a position to assume leadership roles by 2025. This represents only nine percent of the current workforce, a situation aggravated by the growing attrition rates among recent graduates. …

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