FACULTY OF EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON QUALITY EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP:

A PARTNERSHIP OF EAST AND WEST 

     The International Conference on “Quality Educational Leadership: A Partnership of East and West” was organized by the Faculty of Education, Assumption University in collaboration with the University of Wollongong, Australia during 25-26 November 2005 at Bang Na Campus. This conference was a remarkable academic event in the history of Faculty of Education as the theme and the focus areas of the conference were relevant in the era of Globalization. The participants and the keynote speakers from Australia, United States of America, New Zealand, India, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam and United Kingdom have really made the conference intellectually stimulating and academically enriching.

     On the opening session of the two-day conference, Rev. Br.Bancha Saenghiran, President of the Assumption University welcomed all the delegates and called for team-work to make a real difference in Education by preparing our students to maximize their creative power to compete and lead in the global society. He quoted the Irish poet W.B Yeats, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire” and requested the academic fraternity to spend more time on inspiring and igniting the minds of students by making learning a life long process. He also stressed the importance of inculcating moral values in students to make them responsible members of the society. Br. Bancha highlighted the quality leadership in educational institutions as the need of the hour.

 
President Dr.Bancha Saenghiran giving the welcoming speech while sharing the podium With Khun Abhisit Vejjajiva, Leader of Democrat Party at Bang Na campus on November 25 during the Educational Leadership Conference.
 

Khun Abhisit Vejjajiva greeting President Emeritus Dr.Prathip Martin Komolmas after accepting the bouquet of flowers from President Dr.Bancha Saenghiran at the opening ceremony of the Conference on Educational Leadership.

 

President Dr.Bancha Saenghiran and Vice Presidents Dr.Visith Srivichairatana and Dr.Srisakdi Charmonman conducting Khun Abhisit Vijjajiva around Bang Na campus on November 25, 2005

     H.E Abhisit Vejjajiva, Leader of Democrat Party, in his opening remarks highlighted the emerging issues and challenges in Education and the reforms that are being implemented in Thailand over the years. He emphasized on the political commitment for quality education and mentioned that peace and prosperity are necessary for any progressive society and education has a major role to play in this regard. Educational institutions need to design a learning process by keeping in mind the dynamic nature of society and plan strategies to make the realistic plans into effective programmes by involving all the stake-holders of education to build an harmonious nation which is pluralistic in nature. 

     Dr Narottam Bhindi, in his keynote address titled “Educational Leadership in culturally diverse contexts” mentioned that the educational system is facing considerable turbulence, reform and debate about, ideology, quality, relevance, delivery, access and costs. Globalization has made avenues for cross border and cross-cultural educational contexts. Leaders operating in such contexts need to address at different key challenges namely, understanding contextual complexities, cultural relativism, acculturation adaptation, managing conflict and harmony and developing cultural savvy. Culturally sensitized leaders are better equipped to deal with the complexities of cultural diversity than those who aren’t. It was also argued that while human behavior, leadership and management practices were substantially culture bound and therefore they need to be harmonized with humanistic, ethical and moral values as core elements, which cut across all cultures, the way of living and pulsating testimony, symbol and explanation of who we are and why we are and what we are.

 

Prof.Dr. Terry Burke from University of Wollongong Australia, Dr.Ediberto C De Jesus, Director of SEMEO Secretariat, Dr.Jintavee Monsakul presiding over the Educational Leadership Conference at Bang Na campus on November 25, 2005

 

Acommemorative photo with Prof.Dr. Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, President of Social Science Association of Thailand, Dr.Methi P. and participants during International Leadership Conference on November 25, 2005

     The two-day conference focused specifically on the themes such as Integrating IT for Educational Leadership, Educational Leadership for Lifelong Learning and communities of learners, Leadership for student centered learning, Leadership for student centered learning, Leadership in curriculum and instruction and building leadership skills through effective communication.

     Prof. Srisakdi Charmonman, the vice president and CEO of College of Internet and Distance Education, Assumption University presented a worldwide scenario on Information and Communication Technology in Educational Leadership. He highlighted that the IT can be of great use in every aspect of Management in education; curriculum development, delivery, assessment, data management, information management and student welfare services. He is of the opinion that every education institution must make use of IT potentials and develop quality education system. Prof. Lee Bu Sung from Singapore elaborated how virtual classrooms and international networking of institutions are working effectively in collaborating teaching, research and development activities. E learning and its potentials were thoroughly discussed and provided best collaborative practices in Singapore, United States of America and other developed countries.

     Dr. Ediberto from SEMEO raised the social, cultural and political perspectives of life long learning and called for the concerned efforts and leadership for lifelong learning. Dr. Jintavee’s presentation focused on the potentials of ICT for promoting life long learning and also highlighted the community of virtual learning contexts. Prof. Kriengsak Chareonwongsak proposed a model of specialized universities to improve the quality of higher education in Thailand. He advocated for the transformation of higher education in Thailand from comprehensive Model to specialized university system to promote quality of research and teaching for excellence.

     Prof. Deanne Magnusson, University of Minnesota, USA delivered a keynote on the leadership for student centered learning by elaborating on current practices and successful experiences of United States of America. The session on Leadership for Curriculum and Instruction focused on the different curriculum practices in Thailand namely British curriculum, American Curriculum and Thai curriculum. The presentation stressed the importance of context-based curriculum implementation in schools to promote quality education and thereby meet the demand for instructional leadership.

     Dr. Maria Bamforth emphasized on the need for developing leadership skills among educational leaders to make things happen in the organizations. She advocated the assertive leadership qualities necessary for quality educational leaders. Dr. K. Pushpanadham, focused on the persuasive communication and demonstrated how organizational communication needs to be structured to make things easier and to avoid misunderstanding and develop collegiality. Dr. K. Pushpanadham was of the opinion that the quality educational leaders must be assertive and practice healthy organizational ethos through persuasive communication. Communication is lifeblood of any organization to perform the four fundamental activities such as envision, enable, empower and enact. If leadership is to influence people in the organization, it has to follow persuasive communication models.

     Apart from the keynote presentations, there were about 25 paper presentations on various themes of the conference. Participants had discussed the ideas presented by the speakers thoroughly and made the conference an intellectual brainstorming event. Prof. Methi Pilanthananaod, Dean, Faculty of Education and the Director of the International conference proposed in his closing remarks that Leadership is the energetic process of getting people fully and willingly committed to a new and sustainable course of action, to meet commonly agreed objectives by having commonly held values. People do not need the intricate directions, time lines, plans, and organization charts. These are not how people accomplish good work; they are what impede contributions. But people do need a lot from their leaders. They need information, access, resources, trust, care, love and follow-through. Leaders are necessary to foster experimentation, to help create connections across the organization, to feed the system with rich information from multiple sources-all the while helping everyone stay clear on what is agreed and what must be accomplished. Dr Methi thanked all the participants for their co-operation and students for their active involvement in organizing the conference. Associate Professor Dr. Kitima Preedeedilok coordinated this conference with her team of students and the faculty staff. 

 

 

Contributed by

Dr. K. Pushpanadham

pushpandham@yahoo.

 

 

แหล่งที่มา : ABAC TODAY (Vol. 20 No. 6 December, 2005) หน้า 8-10

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