One of the activities undertaken by the newly elected president in 2004 was a discussion with the outgoing EMASA Executive Committee. The purpose of these discussions was to ensure that the current members of EMASA continue to be role players in EMASA. The new Executive Committee of EMASA is fully aware that the cooperation, contribution and engagement of the outgoing Executive Committee is absolutely crucial if the new ideals for EMASA are to be attained.

The new Executive Committee of EMASA has also held a meeting, where the following action steps were agreed upon:

  • That EMASA needs to look for funding sources as a matter or urgency
  • That EMASA membership has to be broadened to embrace all role players in EMD
  • That EMASA needs to be more visible through its activities
  • That EMASA should be looking at strengthening the relationship with EMD practitioners and academics through regular communication

International Links
Through the MGSLG, EMASA will be part of Foundation for International Dialogue on Educational Leadership and Management (FIDELM) whose aim is to create a South-South dialogue though ICT.

The president of EMASA will also be engaging Ms. Patricia Sallis, Ms. Jo Howse and Mr. Petros Parshiardis, who are key office bearers in the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management (CCEAM)

Role of EMASA in Leadership Development
Networks, partnerships and linkages are essential catalysts for driving education management development and will constitute the foundation for the way in which education management development is conducted. EMASA provides the opportunity for leadership in schools to form networks, partnerships and links with other practitioners both within and outside the country. The annual EMASA conference should be used as platform for both academics and practitioners to bridge the gap between theory and practice by allowing greater input from practitioners and by exposing practitioners to recent research papers in the area of management and leadership.

EMASA can serve as a conduit between practitioners and other initiatives in the field thus keeping those in the profession abreast with the latest trends. EMASA should showcase the innovative management and leadership initiatives of principals in South African schools who are creating resilient schools despite difficult circumstances.

EMASA should provide a forum for discussion on management and leadership issues that plague developing countries such as those in Africa so that we can jointly generate a body of knowledge that speaks to the realities faced by our contextual realities.

It is argued that there should be a new way forward for schools seeking to meet the challenge of effective leadership and management in the new millennium. As the educational environment becomes more complex and the demands on schools increase, EMASA should open up dialogue on the challenges that face schools.
Trends for accountability are greatly impacting on the role of current and future school principals. Confronted with growing external expectations for improved performance, principals have new expectations foisted on them, for which many may be ill prepared. EMASA can provide a platform for policy debates in a turbulent policy environment and on how effective principals can successfully respond to this environment.

Way forward
There is no doubt that the high expectations for delivery in education can only be met through outstanding leadership at all levels. In South Africa, the drive for equity, excellence and equality implies the need for high quality, continuous professional development and support to education leaders and governors. We need to build a cadre of leadership that would promote the best practices in school improvement and innovation as well as excellence in all schools. One challenge for education leadership and development in the South African education context is the need to promote a strong professional commitment to build individual and institutional capacity and a culture of lifelong learning.