The Character of an Educational Leader
Humans will never be complete in their knowledge as ignorance is part of the human condition, Lord George Carey told students, faculty and staff during a lecture in early April.
“Education is successful when a teacher can provide for his or her students a lifelong love of learning,” he said.
As part of the Asia Leadership Center’s Eminent Leaders Lecture Series, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury who is actively involved in the U.K. school system, converged the topics of education and leadership to explain his viewpoint of what makes an inspiring educational leader.
Citing British examples of exemplary educational figures - such as Robert Owen, a 19th century philanthropist in Wales who saw education as the key to development, and Kathy August, a present-day figure who lead her Manchester city school to receive the title of “outstanding” - Lord Carey named four characteristics of inspirational leaders in education.
1. They must have vision.
2. They must motivate others.
3. They must have moral vision.
4. They must implement the tools of simplicity and failure.
A good teacher, he said, can break down information so that even the slowest pupil can understand and encourages a lifetime of learning.
The presentation continued with an open dialogue among students, discussing what they perceived as the greatest needs in Cambodia. The students’ responses of poverty, high unemployment and government problems all boiled down to the developing quality of education in the country.
Lord Carey encouraged the students to engage not only in formal education, but non-formal education as well - learning through their job and community experiences and through resources like newspapers and the Internet.
One audience participant commented that in Cambodia, the trend among university students is to study two or three majors at several different colleges and asked Lord Carey's advice on how to manage such studies.
“We mustn’t think of universities as places to be trained to do jobs,” he said, alluding to the idea that students shouldn't think of a
university education as a guarantee to finding a job, especially given the downturn of the global economy. “In the U.K. they are more seen as a place where you are prepared to do life.”
Many of the students and staff took away valuable lesson from the lecture.
Prang Chanthy, a second-year Business Management student who also works with Save the Children Australia, said she plans to share the information she learned with her colleagues.
“People believe they can do everything when they have money, but that’s not true,” she said. “Look at the example he gave of Kathy August. She didn’t have money and she still was able to improve children’s lives.”
Soeun Dara, an assistant in the College of Social Sciences, said he appreciated Lord Carey’s mention of leaders, like Abraham Lincoln, who started at a low level and were able to move themselves up in the world through education.
“The road to real education is not just from school, but it also through informal education, from the outside,” he said.
The ALC's lecture series aims to expand upon the meaning of leadership among students and community members by inviting leaders from around the world to share their leadership experiences. In May, the series will continue with a presentation Nobel Laureate Dr. Javier Solana, Secretary-General for the European Union. For more information, visit www.alc.uc.edu.kh.