2006 Convention - Opening Presidential Address
International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI)
Welcome to the 19th Annual Conference of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement in wonderful Fort Lauderdale. On behalf of the ICSEI Board, I would like to thank you for attending and contributing to the sharing of ideas and the discussions that will take place here. ICSEI is one of the most important and influential educational organisations. The purpose of ICSEI is to provide a forum for researchers, policy makers and local politicians, school leaders and teachers, district administrators, and professional developers to share and discuss ideas, to promote research, and to encourage practices that will enhance the quality and equity of education for all students. Our goal is to learn from each other, through research, discussions and dialogue and development opportunities, how to address issues of equity and excellence in schools across contexts as varied as Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, North and South America and Europe. At the same time we are a forum for critical discussions of political, social, cultural, educational and research challenges and issues that affect school effectiveness and improvement.
ICSEI has developed from a small group of researchers who met in London in 1988 into an international community linking researchers, policy makers and practitioners in more than 70 countries. Our members network widely and have access to key educational thinkers and ideas through ICSEI’s annual conferences which has spanned most parts of the world, its newsletters, its website and associated journals.
One of the important issues in contemporary education that is discussed extensively within ICSEI is the challenge of societal and cultural diversity it is therefore timely and appropriate, that he ICSEI 2006 Florida Organising Committee has chosen a theme: - Embracing diversity: Challenges for School Effectiveness and Improvement in a Global Learning Society that is critically important in this period of time. In an increasingly globalized world all educational systems are, like all nations, faced with new challenges and possibilities. The new conditions for societies foster new challenges for policy makers and therefore for educational systems. One aspect of this being that the constant flow of resources and finances from one part of the world to the other produce new challenges to national public sector management that has in many cases brought tighter models of management and accountability to educations. Another aspect of the changes is that the flow of people from one part of the world to other parts of the world has increased considerably, offering on the one hand new and profoundly rewarding opportunities for cultural exchange and sharing, on the other hand new challenges to the educational system to transform from taking care of students from one culture only to taking care of and utilizing the cultural and ethnical diversities in class rooms and communities. I am sure that sharing experiences and thoughts on these challenges across the cultures represented here at the conference will be rewarding for all of us here who are members of the ICSEI community. A community that is a diverse, open minded, inclusive, sharing and discussing community.
The ICSEI Board would like to thank and congratulate the ICSEI 2006 Florida Organizing Committee for organising this Conference. We would also like to offer special thanks to all of their supporting organisations and other sponsors for their generous support. ICSEI is extremely grateful for the commitment they have shown to enhancing education for all children and young people. I shall conclude this welcome by wishing all of us a rewarding and enjoyable conference.