OUTSTANDING school leadership is the driving force behind exceptional students who will become Malaysia’s future leaders.
In line with this, the Education Ministry through Aminuddin Baki Institute, organised the third International Conference on Educational Leadership and Management (Icelam 2023) with the aim of facilitating the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
In its third installation, Icelam 2023 saw 810 face-to-face participants and 2,000 online participants consisting of international school leaders and educational organisations coming together to share knowledge, experience and best practices in the field of education management and leadership.
The conference also aimed to create a network among education leaders, academics and thinkers, and researchers in the field to discuss the latest issues and challenges in education.
Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek, who officiated Icelam 2023, said the theme of the conference — “Sustaining and Retaining Human Dignity in Educational Leadership and Management” — summarised a fundamental principle and the essence of educational leadership and management.
“In pursuing excellence, we recognise the significance of achieving remarkable results and ensuring their continuity.
“Maintaining and preserving human dignity in education, leadership and management can be achieved through protecting values and respect for individuals in the educational environment.
“This principle encapsulates the wisdom of achieving success by meticulously nurturing and upholding the elements that contribute to excellence, ensuring their continuity across time. It is a top-down and strategic approach that goes beyond the temporary highs of achievement and focuses on the enduring vitality of the achieved standards,” she said in her speech at Aminuddin Baki Institute here on Tuesday.
The journey in retaining academic excellence, she said, required a comprehensive and strategic approach involving everyone — from visionary leaders to dedicated educators, teachers and passionate players.
“Effective relationships and governance are crucial in maintaining the current education standard, which involves clearer educational goals, articulating a compelling vision for the organisation’s future and empowering leaders at all levels to make informed decisions and to take ownership of their responsibilities, which would enhance our drive towards sustained excellence.
“We must commit to a holistic model of educational leadership that promotes continuous improvement, innovation and collaboration.
“A student-centred approach is also fundamental to retaining educational quality, such as prioritising individual students’ needs and learning styles.”
Fadhlina called on educational leaders to practise instructional leadership — where a leader works, guides and inspires educators towards improving learning and teaching educational processes in their daily practices.
“Successful schools are those which have practised instructional leadership. I have witnessed that, and that’s why I have asked Aminuddin Baki Institute to bring back this niche.”
Fadhlina also outlined some directions to retain and sustain educational success.
Among them was to recognise the importance of fostering a stable and supportive learning environment and maintaining a sense of continuity.
She said adequate resource allocations would also ensure that teaching and learning were sufficiently supported.
She added that schools which focused on students’ individual growth and characteristics also created a big impact on the country’s educational system.
Icelam 2023, held from Oct 2 to 5, is a conference focused on the development and knowledge-sharing in the field of leadership and education management in the country and abroad.
There were five keynote speakers: three from abroad and two locals.
There were also master classes and six best practice presentations, along with 54 paper or work presentations, that were offered simultaneously in parallel sessions.
BEST PRACTICES FOR EDUCATORS
According to Aminuddin Baki Institute director and Icelam 2023 organiser Rohayati Abd Hamed, discussion on best practices would empower educators and students, and provide valuable insights into the practices of schools across Malaysia and other participating nations.
“Not all principals in Malaysia know about activities in other schools. This convention provides the opportunity for them to discuss and share best practices.
“The exhibition that was held by students throughout this conference could help expose them to activities in other schools. An excellent example is SMK Kota, whose co-operative had managed to garner about RM1.3 million in sales.
“Usually at the school-level, schools will ask for (monetary) help from the relevant authorities, but for this school, their co-operative helped the school financially. These are among the activities that need to be exposed to other schools for them to realise that there are a lot of initiatives that they can implement,” she said after the Icelam 2023 launch.
“One of the presenters, Associate Professor Dr Hairon Salleh from Singapore, said Singapore is facing almost the same issues in Malaysia in the context of the stream of expertise of the educators.
“So we can learn from what has been implemented by Singapore in navigating their issues, exchange ideas and improve similar issues in Malaysia.”
Besides the keynote speeches and presentations, foreign participants were able to visit the Permata Kurnia School, a comprehensive early intervention centre for children with autism and their families.
Rohayati said there were also master classes conducted by four experts in the field, covering areas such as instructional leadership, change management for humanistic education development and digitalisation in education.
The aim of these sessions was to help participants master these areas and apply it within their respective organisations.
The parallel presentation sessions addressed various sub-themes related to Sustainable Development Goal 4 under the United Nations Development Programme, which focuses on quality education with the goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable education and promoting lifelong-learning opportunities for all.
“The best papers out of the 54 presentations papers would go through a review process by editors and appointed assessors in their respective fields of expertise and would be published in journals including the Aminuddin Baki Institute Journal of Management and Education.
“We will also compile the overall convention to be made into a proceedings book.”
Rohayati also hoped that Icelam could showcase Aminuddin Baki Institute as a leading institution in the field of educational leadership training at the global level.