The HEAD Foundation convened a workshop from 23 to 24 November 2015 with two of its fellows, Dr Sheldon Shaeffer and Dr Molly Lee, as a consultative expert review of the Foundation’s research work and ongoing agenda.
The researchers of The HEAD Foundation, Uma Natarajan, Catherine Ramos, Madeline Ong, Loke Hoe Yeong, Thammika Songkaeo and Justin Pereira, made presentations on completed and ongoing research on a diverse range of themes in education and leadership, including the financing and accessibility of higher education, skills and employability issues in Southeast Asia, the use of ICT in Education, educational leadership and teacher development. These presentations encapsulated the rich research activity of the Foundation since the planning meetings at the beginning of the year with international experts, which charted the strategic research direction for the think tank on education and leadership issues in Asia.
The workshop was also the occasion for a roundtable discussion on the salient issues in education and leadership. Dr Shaeffer expounded on the integral role of early childhood education to the development of students, which have largely been neglected or under-invested, in much of Asia. This is in line with UNESCO’s 2030 goal of inclusive and equitable education for all. He also suggested for THF to undertake a critical review of the status of pre-service teacher education in countries in the ASEAN region by examining the curriculum, assessment and practicum components as well as the governance in each of these countries. Studying the decentralization of the education system in Indonesia is another recommendation. Dr Lee, meanwhile, spoke on a range of themes in education that The HEAD Foundation may pay heed to in going forward, from the management and governance of universities to issues of the all-rounded education and employability of graduates in Southeast Asia, particularly in relation to regional integration in ASEAN.
The two fellows also mapped out the complex ecosystem of international organizations, academic researchers, policymakers and practitioners working on education issues, with the aim of situating the work of The HEAD Foundation, both at present and in the path ahead, within the landscape.