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UB Imprint Vol 48: UB Launches Second Master’s Program - Master’s in Educational Leadership
The Belize Education Sector Strategy 2011-2016 Policy Objective 2 refers to Improving Quality and Relevance of Education at All Levels. Also identified in outputs 2.1 is improved school leadership and management for school effectiveness. Furthermore, Target 2.2 denotes that all school administrators (principals and vice principals) become certified in school leadership. The need to empower school leaders and educational administrators in Belize is aligned to research, which suggests that more than half of a school’s impact on students’ success can be attributed to both principal and teacher effectiveness with principals accounting for 25 percent and teachers 33 percent of the effect. That is, schools that make significant progress are often led by a principal whose role is radically re-defined. School leaders, and educational administrators, are no longer expected to be merely good managers; but rather, effective leaders facilitating sustainable education reform.
Therefore, given the need for a comprehensive program to scaffold candidates to create meaningful educational changes in Belize’s Education System, the University of Belize launched its Master’s in Educational Leadership on March 8th, 2019 – a program, which was developed jointly with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).
The program was designed to develop professional school leaders and educational administrators that are capable of analysing the role of education in the process of economic growth, social change, and national development. In essence, its primary purpose is to train professionals – current and future, who are seeking to broaden their knowledge in the field of Educational Leadership to manage public and private educational organisations. The Master’s of Educational Leadership is solidly anchored on:
• A work-based practical approach to facilitate integration of work-based learning and experience with theories of leadership and management
• Reflective practice including use of online platforms to facilitate self-assessment of practical leadership and management skills
• A constructivist approach to knowledge and learning that emphasises integration of skills, attitudes, knowledge and experience across courses, and collaboration within a community of learners
Like many developing countries, the real challenge facing the educational sector is no longer how to improve but, more importantly, how to sustain improvement. Courses such as “The Future of Education in the Developing World” and “Leading Curriculum Change” will provide school leaders and educational administrators with the capacity to maintain and support developmental work in an environment of shared responsibility and commitment to change. The change to be created among individuals and social systems will provide skills to consciously motivate others and improve standards and quality of services in Belize through a variety of mechanisms. This includes skills to collaborate with stakeholders to establish strong schools and community relationships by promoting greater ownership. In addition, school leaders and administrators within the educational sector will develop capacities to examine and address strengths and weaknesses in order to maximize potentials, to optimize performance, and to enhance educational outputs.
Moreover, the pragmatic elements of leadership will be an integral component of this program. Principals and prospective leaders will develop strong leadership skills. Strategic direction, which is a critical area of change, will be utilized to promote visionary leaders and meaningful educational changes. In addition to the acquisition of pertinent management skills, leaders will be empowered with competencies to use performance management practices to track school and instructional competencies.
Undoubtedly, school leaders and educational administrators are of crucial importance for continued improvement of Belize’s educational sector. They must possess the necessary competencies to develop and foster learning organizations with a shared mission driven by initiatives and meaningful educational change to operate in today’s global economy. The University of Belize understands its role as the national university, and with the addition of its Master’s of Educational Leadership, it will continue to maintain its pro-active stance as Belize’s premiere degree granting university and will strengthen its position as the bedrock upon which Belize will build and re-imagine its path to growth and advancement.
Throughout the program of study you will build upon the knowledge and skills to research and project solutions to complex issues in this rapidly changing educational sphere and conduct an individual research project that is linked with interests so as to advance education in Belize.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat