After several delays due to Covid, the biennial conference that was supposed to take place in the autumn of 2020, was finally held in Limassol, Cyprus. For up to 450 people that were present it was a pleasure and a relief that we could meet, learn, network and celebrate together being physically present again. The opening and closing words from both ESHA president Chris Hill and organizing host Michael Constantinos, on behalf of our member organization POED, expressed the appreciations and emotions of having this conference. School Heads have had a very difficult time, with a lot of workload and worries, and even yet the pandemic has its reflection in everyday work.
On the first day of the conference participants had the opportunity to visit schools in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos to get a taste of current educational endeavours in Cyprus.
The second day offered a multitude of thoughtful speeches. After the powerful opening keynote lecture by deputy minister Kyriakos Kokkinos, several speakers shared their knowledge and information on a high level that challenged school leadership and the issues School Heads deal with in their profession during these uncertain times of disruption and unexpected happenings. Professors, educators, teacher trainers, directors of various educational facilities and educational consultants from several European countries presented their most recent projects and thoughts. The parallel sessions gave the participants the opportunity to attend workshops in the fields of their particular interest.
In the beautiful Parklane venue, participants vividly discussed the keynotes, their own situations, learning needs and all that they face in their job, during the generous coffee and lunch breaks. People contemplated on new words and understandings like ‘Edupreneurship’ (a challenge to translate in foreign languages) and ‘HECI’, meaning Humanities, Ethics/ethos, Creativity and Imagination and a lot more that should be part of today’s school leadership.
Cyprus presented itself with a musical performance at the start of the conference and traditional dancing at the gala dinner, where participants met, talked and danced all night.
At the second day of the conference Mr. Suzanna Hitrec announced that her organization will host the next ESHA Biannual that will be held in Dubrovnik from 24-27 October 2023. The representative of OECD, Tanja Bastianic talked about how the Programme for lnternational Student Assessment (PlSA) contributes to improving student learning opportunities and well-being by empowering teachers and school leaders through global connections and international benchmarking. Michael Risku and Michael Paul Bottery triggered the School Heads in a very challenging way, on their vision and attitude for the future and how to respond as leaders and educators. The ongoing struggle of facing the various global issues of our world and emphasizing that education is an extremely important gamechanger were reoccurring themes both during the lectures and the coffee breaks.
ESHA wishes to give heartfelt thanks to the organizers, the Pancyprian Greek Teachers Organization and the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute and all the sponsors.
See further information about the presenters and the workshop sessions: download the booklet (PDF)