What does it take to lead schools and education systems to help students develop the competencies they will need in the 21st century? 

The Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education supports the development of global education leadership for 21st century education by conducting research on innovative practices, training leaders, and creating a dynamic learning network of global partners interested in educational innovation.

Read More

Education is on the move and in need of new forms of leadership around the world. The information economies of the 21st century require education leadership oriented towards the future, rather than built on education theories of the past. The ability of leadership to support the development of students’ 21st century competencies – critical analysis, innovation, creativity, scientific thinking, self-knowledge and self-management and the interpersonal, social and perspective-taking skills to work in teams – are increasingly important not just for individual and national economic well-being but also for promoting vibrant civic spheres, solving pressing issues, and nurturing effective collaborative organizations. Yet education leadership preparation in many of the world’s emerging economies is not only based on theories of the past, but delivered in outmoded ways such as rote classroom instruction. The innovation gap in education leadership preparation is dire, as leadership is one of the key levers to improving student learning. In addition, a knowledge gap hinders educational practice and policy world-wide, as no trusted source exists of what leadership approaches are most effective. We risk a huge lost opportunity to build leadership for the education systems that serve the majority of the world’s children.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Global Education Initiative, together with partners around the world, will leverage the unparalleled intellectual resources of Harvard University to address these knowledge and innovation gaps in education leadership. Through collaborative research, international convening, and worldwide dissemination of breakthrough materials in education leadership, we will answer what is perhaps the critical question facing education worldwide: What does it take to lead schools and education systems to lasting improvement towards helping students develop the competencies they will need in the 21st century?