Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The British Council recently gathered 42 of the most influential leaders in the education market from across Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Kuwait in the UK to explore the future of education leadership across MENA. The trip enabled policy makers, school leaders and academics to collaborate, exchange ideas and experiences on how the education landscape has changed since Covid.
Representatives were able to learn how schools are building leadership capacity to drive improvement and meet with student leadership teams and hear about their roles with staff and pupils. During the trip, participants heard about different styles of leadership that have needed to be modelled in challenging times and share their learnings on how to be an effective leader.
On the first day of the conference, the attendees were welcomed at the British Council Headquarters in Stratford, London by Chief Executive of the British Council Scott McDonald who noted, ‘Our aim is that young people should have access to first-class educational services, setting them up for a rewarding life ahead. The period we are living through is full of challenges, and we owe it to young people to give them as much support and encouragement as we can. Across the Middle East and North Africa, the British Council is trusted by around 400 schools – and thousands of students and their parents. That’s a huge responsibility, and we take it very seriously.’
He continued saying, ‘Partners, and partnership, are at the heart of our work. I know that everyone in our teams across the region – and here in the UK – is looking forward to working with you to give students the very best foundation for their future.’
Amongst the highlights of the trip was a visit to the House of Lords where the leaders met with Baron Dodds of Duncairn. In addition, the delegates were able to see and meet representatives from Kensington Primary School, Copthall School, University of East London and Heron Hall Academy.
On the trip Bazlur Rashid, Principal, Bangladesh International School in Riyadh said, “It was a great honour and a high privilege for me to participate in the “MENA UK Study Tour…we had ample opportunities to explore the theme of school leadership; we had productive collaborations, shared and exchanged ideas and views among ourselves and also with UK school leaders for best practices of the effective and successful school leadership qualities, which will certainly enhance and ensure the holistic development of our school. During the Tour we visited Copthall School – Secondary and Sixth Form, Kensington Primary School, Little Ilford School, Houses of Parliament (Houses of Commons & Houses of Lords), Science Museum and we met with school leaders and students’ Leaders from Heron Hall Academy and University of East London. We learnt a great deal from the British Council representatives, tour leader and the delegate of Youth Sports Trust and from the all the successful leaders’ invaluable speeches and dialogues, that we had visited during the whole tour. This was indeed a great platform for us to foster our school leadership at all levels.”
Globally, British Council Partner Schools works with more than 2,100 schools, supports over 60,000 teachers and touches the lives of about one million students. With attendees from across 39 schools across Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan this trip helps to support the mission of the British Council in building connections, understanding and trust through education.