Folkuniversitetet (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 476-480
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The problems that humanity faces in the 21st century make a new educational leadership indispensable if humanity is to survive as a species and the planet Earth as an ecosystem. The undeniable fact that humanity is at a crossroads can be seen in the environmental degradation which could become irreversible, in increasing criminality among youth, in the divide between the haves and the have-nots which threatens peace at a local, national and global level, and in the exponential growth of social ills like alcoholism, drug addiction, trafficking and an epidemic of youth depression.
Due to the exigencies of the economies of the 21st century, usually both parents are forced to work to make ends meet. The result is a growing number of neglected children who are in danger of becoming social outcasts, delinquents, or victims of drug abuse.

This situation makes the need for a new educational leadership based on ethics and not just on academic achievement absolutely necessary.

Education as a Purchasable Good
Education in the 21st century has turned into a commodity. Schools, colleges and universities have become tantamount to conveyor belts of graduates who possess marketable skills for potential employers. The human dimension of education has become neglected- the issue of whether our students will be happy, productive, empathic citizens of the world is usually ignored. Nevertheless, the increasing number of school shootings, of skyrocketing juvenile delinquency, of violence against women, and of the most grotesque animal cruelty, among other social ills, show that we cannot continue educating as usual. Due to globalization and interdependence, the problems facing humanity cannot be kept away by national borders.

The traditional sources of moral authority, like politicians and churches have lost all legitimacy due to ubiquitous scandals of, among other vices, corruption, sexual abuse of minors and embezzlement. At the same time, the increasing divorce rate has left a vacuum in the leadership young people need to become happy, productive, and virtuous human beings.

Due to the fact that it is governments and interest groups who determine school curricula, topics which require urgent attention like environmental degradation, animal cruelty, and the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots with all their consequences are usually left out.

A New Educational Leadership:
In a school, like in any organization, a leader needs to have a vision which must go beyond fulfilling the aims of the curriculum. The leader’s vision has to motivate the people in his or her group, and the motivating purpose must be put into practice in a measurable way. [1] While leaders need technical capacities, educationalists who are to make successful graduates out of their students need attitudes that are as important as his or her technical capabilities. [2] Precisely because educational leaders have the mission of leading young people who are the future of humanity, educationalists must be leaders of maturity and integrity.

[1] Osieja, Helen, Pedagogy and Conscience: The Teacher as an Agent of Awareness, 2014, p.55
[2] Ibid, p.56.
Educational leadership, ethics, deontological preparation, responsibility, self-restraint.