What we have learnt over the course of the pandemic is that teachers and schools matter greatly. Economies cannot function if schools do not open their gates and children are in our classrooms. What we have also learned is the crucial role that schools have played not just in teaching their students, but the institution of ‘school’ is often at the heart of the community, where the issues a community faces are often reflected and, often, resolved. Whether that be related to poverty, vulnerability or the multitude of areas that we see in our schools, daily, the point we make is that the school does a whole lot more than just teaching its students.
As leaders of schools around the world – from schools in locations as varied on a boat in Bangladesh, to inner city New York and to the mountains of Bhutan, we teachers and school leaders have gathered online in huge numbers over the last six days at the World Education Week, to share our expertise with 100,000 others – a truly global meeting of minds.
Amongst the many illuminating conversations, one overwhelming lesson has been reinforced, especially after six months of Covid crisis and decades of an emerging climate catastrophe – that we must reframe how we view our educational institutions to value resilience above efficiency. Because now is that reframing opportunity, no doubt.
For too long, our education systems have placed too great an emphasis on delivering learning outcomes in ways that not only minimise cost and juggle resources but judge our abilities to be “efficient” to be of a higher importance, even if it’s mostly unspoken.
What this week has underlined and what this year has emphasised is that the resilience to meet huge challenges is the key to maintaining the continuity of education for our children, both to ensure the highest standards of learning and to re-establish the social glue of schools as communities. This requires financial investment and leadership.
It is about making the connection between teachers and children the fundamental point of the existence of schools.
No matter what the question, education is the answer. Quality and continuity of education builds future success for both our individuals and our whole communities. Our pupils, our parents, and our planet need schools able to adapt to crises and evolve to our changing future needs, while remaining central pillars of our communities.
It is time for our political and system leaders to understand that and to re-frame how they view the management of education funding and the purpose of the institutions they’ve asked us to build.
As teachers and school leaders of 100 schools, recognised for our expertise around the world, we call on heads of government, education and finance ministers of our countries to deepen their investments in education rather than cut them so we can perform the roles more effectively not just for our students but for our communities and for the overall growth of our countries.
Bangladesh Kandapara Poshchim BRAC Primary School; Sauderosri BRAC Primary School; Vati Jamal Gor BRAC Primary Boat School
Bhutan The Royal Academy
Bosnia & Herzegovina General Gymnasium of the Catholic School; Centre & Bl.Ivan Merz Banja Luka
Botswana Humpty Dumpty Nursey School
Brazil Escola Bosque; EMEB Viriato Correa
Brunei Darussalam Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB
Chile Colegio Alberto Blest Gana
Colombia Institución Educativa Rosedal, Jardín Infantil Buen Comienzo; Institución; Educativa Jaime Garzon
Croatia Osnovna škola Čazma
Denmark International School orf Billund
Finland HEI School Ruoholahti
Georgia Ilia Chavchavadze Sachkhere Public School N2
Ghana Afiadenyigba D/A Basic School; Yoo R/C Junior High School
India Chevella Freedom School; Choithram School; Government Primary School Aadi Peepli; iTeach (RSM) Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj English Medium Secondary School; Mahatma Vidyalaya; Riverside School; Samaritan Mission School; School of Excellence; Zilla Parishad Primary School
Italy ITT Ettore Majorana
Japan N High School; Ritsumeikan Primary School
Jordan New English School
Lebanon Al Manar Modern School; St. George School
Malaysia Methodist Girls Primary School
Mexico Aliat Universidades; Avalon International School; Colegio Valle de Filadelfia
Moldova International Heritage School
Morocco Ibnou Rochd; Tilila Preschool
Nepal UWS Mude
Netherlands Communityschool de Vuurvogel
New Zealand Green School
Nigeria Baptist Primary School; Christ Anglican Primary School; Ikangba Erinlu United; Anglican Primary School; Dream Catchers Academy; Local Government School III; LGEA Kurmin Mashi
Norway H20vgs upper secondary school (Hersleb)
Pakistan Beaconhouse School Margalla; Beaconhouse School Multan
Philippines Xavier School; Alem Elementary School
Qatar SEK International School
Russia Hospital School
Serbia Primary School Milan Rakic; The School of Economics
Sierra Leone EducAid Maronka Primary School
South Africa African Leadership Academy; Hyacinth Primary School
Jakes Gerwel Technical High School; Learn to Live School of Skills; Parklands College; Pinelands High School; Roedean
Spain IES Las Musas
Thailand United World College
Turkey Istanbul Kültür Education Institution; Technology & Humanities College (TINK); Turkish American Association Cinnah Preschool; Zübeyde Hanim Kindergarten
UAE Hartland International School; Kindergarten Starters; Shining Star International School
Uganda Wakadogo School
UK Alperton Community School; Dunoon Grammar School; Feversham Primary School; Kingussie High School; The Charter School Dulwich; Queen Mary’s College; Swiss Cottage School
Ukraine Melitopol Specialized School 23; Novopecherska School
USA Opal School; PS-55; Sayre Language Academy; Think Global School