On August 16, 1975, Jive Talkin’ was the top hit on Billboard’s 100 (USA). You know when something is so good, it stands the test of time. Almost forty years later, it’s just as fresh as it was then. I cannot say the same for the managing structures of many of our schools.
So, we’re off and running on another year. In spite of the world’s horrific problems at the moment, international schools are expanding at a rate that is making them one of the fastest growing business sectors in the world. Venture capitalists, investment groups, philanthropists, and multinationals are buying up schools like hotcakes. Many of these have clear business models for governance which generate profits. Some are more innovative than others.
What are the implications of this? We talk a lot about innovation and design within teaching practice but little about how schools are being managed and who is doing it. This will have a huge impact on the direction and vision for international education. Does this phenomenon enhance the type of innovations we are talking about in our industry? Does it promote the type of creativity, risk-taking, and new thinking that drive the passions of 21st century learning or is this becoming a multi-national business venture that is conservative and controlled somewhere far away?
I have to hope that private investment in schools is innovative and good. I have to hope that this will nourish the type of changes our schools need to meet the complex demands of a world that so desperately needs innovation and leadership. I have to hope that the business model for schools supports the risk-taking and possible profit losing propositions that come with new designs and new thinking.
Otherwise, what we’re doing is just…You guessed it.