The quality of a country’s human capital is primarily shaped by education. The value of education has only grown with globalization because it is now easier to outsource low-skilled jobs. One may assume countries have become more focused on investments in education to improve their competitiveness but the reality could not have been more different. There are numerous factors that contribute towards slow progress in the global education sector such as bureaucracy, funding cuts for public education, and lack of sense of urgency on the part of the elected officials. In addition, there is hesitation towards changing the structure of the local education systems because any change would involve uncertainty and the scale of the challenge discourages most from even making an attempt. This is as much true for Saudi Arabia as it is for countries with some of the finest academic institutions in the world like the U.S. My work experience in the academic sector as well as knowledge gained from extensive reading on the issue has convinced me that education sectors around the world are in dire need of education leaders who are not afraid of thinking outside-the-box as well as the challenging the quo. This is why I have decided to pursue my Masters in Educational Leadership because it will provide me with knowledge and insights to bring about positive changes in Saudi education sector.
I realized early on in my career that Saudi Arabia invests quite a low figure in its education system and I knew things won’t be changing soon. This motivated me to educate myself on different education systems around the world to investigate how educators like me may be able to revamp the local education system, even with limited resources. My extensive research as well as conversations with fellow education professionals has yielded several useful insights which I hope to share with my fellow students in the Educational Leadership Program as well as seek their input. Probably, one of the most unexpected insights I have gained is that the importance of resources available to educators is often exaggerated. What may be more important is the organizational hierarchy of the academic institutions as well as the ability of different stakeholders including teachers, parents, and public officials to work together to identify issues and implement innovative and efficient solutions.
During my academic career, I have worked in a wide range of capacities including teacher, administrator, accountant, and trainer. This has helped me gain a comprehensive knowledge of how the whole education system works and I believe that education system in Saudi Arabia can import lessons from not only education systems in other countries but even non-related sectors such as Corporate America and non-profit sector. In fact, non-profit sector in developed countries like the U.S. serve as a great example of importing ideas from other industries. More and more non-profit organizations are being run like commercial organizations, with huge emphasis on efficient management of financial and human capital as well as higher accountability for performance. I believe public education system in Saudi Arabia and other countries including the U.S. will also have to adopt business-like approach to their operations. Similarly, I have learnt from multi-national organizations that every industry should keep an open eye on the external factors and trends that are shaping our world. For the first time, traditional education model is under attack because technology has changed the way students now learn.
I will bring unique insights into the Educational Leadership program and am excited to learn from my fellow students who may come from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. The knowledge and skills learnt in the program will help me further refine my educational leadership philosophy and make positive contributions to the public education sector in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.