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"Culture of competition" not in the best interests of schools

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Brett Henebery | 11 Feb 2015, 02:45 PM Agree 0
Do you think a 'culture of competition' is good for our schools and students?
  • Paul Burgis | 12 Feb 2015, 10:59 AM Agree 0
    I respond respectfully to Lila Mularczyk that the idea that independence creates a negative culture of competition is a myth.

    As a Principal of a large independent girls' school in NSW I see strong evidence of collaboration within and between independent schools.

    This is true at a personal and an institutional level.

    PERSONAL: In a couple of weeks time all of the independent girls' schools will send students to be poolside at Olympic Park, cheering on their own teams. Yet they will also be developing connections with one another, building respect and friendship. At the student level independence builds a strong sense of identity and a respect for others.

    INSTITUTIONAL: As someone who has engaged with or who has visited many hundreds of schools in five nations (Australia, UK, Zimbabwe, The Philippines and Tanzania), I have found that independence allows school leaders to really foster and develop values and culture. In African schools it allows for leadership to guide the school rather than grinding bureaucracy. Examine, for example, the enormous difference in the quality of education that the Katoke Project has had on the Bukoba district in Tanzania - not just for the independent schools, but the flow on effect to public schools in providing excellent, local professional learning opportunities for teachers. Associate Professor Watson OA deserves the awards he has received.

    Paul Burgis
    PLC Sydney
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