Excellence in School Leadership program integrates 5 core competencies

Different from the usual program design, the recently concluded Excellence in School Leadership program under the SEAMEO Education Development Fund (SEDF) integrated the 5 core competencies of a successful school head into one program. Twenty-eight (28) school heads from 11 Southeast Asian country successfully completed the 3-phased course. 

The program aims to strengthen the school heads’ integrated set of leadership and managerial competencies. With the continuously evolving education landscape, school heads take on a more challenging role as they ensure that their learners are future-ready. School heads are expected to think strategically, lead innovations, manage school operations, ensure continual improvement, and engage the community all at the same time 

Through the 3 phases of the program, participating school heads were able to analyze the current and emerging trends in the education landscape, review their own strategies and learn better practices from each other, and conduct stakeholder analysis to identify ways to better engage the community. Phase 1 of the program, which was held on October 2018, focused on getting to know each other, profiling participants’ own strengths and areas for improvement and their expectations to the program were also leveled off.  Through online discussions, they were able to share individual reflections on their daily life as a school head. The participants were also able to exchange ideas about the current issues and concerns that impact the way they lead and manage the schools. 

“We are very busy occupying ourselves with the operational work in school that we have no time to observe what is happening outside our school and ponder how they can impact us as educators,” shared Mdm. Teng Lai Kwan, one of the participants from Singapore. 

Phase 2 of the program, which happened on November 2018, is where most of the work is done. In their 2-week stay in the Philippines, the participants were able to deepen their understanding of the current and emerging changes in the education landscape that impact their schools. Using experiential learning approach, they were able to strengthen their competencies as well as practices along the  different core competencies of a school head. An important part of the program was the two-day school immersion where a team of 6-7 participants worked closely with the host school principal and together, they came up with a shared understanding of the issues and concerns being encountered by the host school. This enabled them to suggest some priority action points to address the pressing school issues and concerns.  The participants considered this as the high point of the program. The group of participants were assigned to different schoolsValenzuela National High School, Polo National High School, Pio Valenzuela Elementary School, Commonwealth High School, and Quirino National High School. At the end of the 2-week session, the participants were able to develop their own Action Plan to address the priority areas they have identified for their respective schools. 

“From the school immersion session, I learned how a successful school leverage on every possible resource to educate a child,” said Ulysses Tennyson, one of the participants from Brunei Darussalam. He also shared that he learned the importance of learning from the community and incorporating them to the school’s agenda. He said that this is one of the first things he will do to improve their school.  

The Excellence in School Leadership program may have ended with the last online discussion in December 2018, but the learning doesn’t stop there. As they return to their own schools, the participating school heads started to implement some of the activities they have developed during their stay in the Philippines. The learners also continue the knowledge sharing and exchange among them as they discuss the lessons they have learned through online discussions. 

This experience proved that no matter which stage of your career you are in, there is always more to be learnt and to enrich when there is a community of like-minded people gathered to share and exchange great tips to apply when one returns back to school,said Mrs. Mabel Leong, one of the participants from Singapore. 

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