Educational Leadership for Social Justice: Towards Weaving a Framework for Leading Adult Vocational Training Institutes in Greece in the Era of Crisis
The role of the public vocational post-secondary training institutes cannot be confined to simply “imparting to trainees scientific, technical, vocational and practical knowledge and cultivating skills with a view to facilitating occupational integration and adaptation to the changing needs of the production process” (OECD).
With soaring unemployment rates in Greece, “at a time of economic crisis, when education is under siege by neoliberal capitalism and by neo-conservatism and aggressive nationalism”, it is the institute’s role to give hope to cohorts of unemployed or threatened by unemployment men and women who invest time and effort anticipating a more promising future. Since without hope, we are hopeless and cannot begin the struggle to change.
Freire contended that the basic importance of education lays in the "act of cognition not only of the content, but of the why of economic, social, political, ideological, and historical facts...under
which we find ourselves placed."
Complementarily to the curriculum imposed centrally, onscientisation” practices should be fostered, in order to enable adult trainees to reach critical consciousness by critically understanding of the “here and now” and taking action against the root causes of their oppression through dialogue and reflection. In this way the institute can contribute to end the culture of silence, in which oppression is not mentioned and therefore maintained. This culture of silence
implies a heavily colonized with distorted communication lifeworld. The institute adopts dialectical practices tending towards the Habermasian ideal speech situation whereby equality, reciprocity, moral values and liberation are presuppositions.
In this initial study we bring together theories like Freire’s critical pedagogy, Habermas’s ideal speech situation and Mezirow’s transformative adult learning as well as reflections and insights
from personal experience in order to weave a theoretical canvas for leading adult vocational training institutes. The ontology and paradigm of educational leadership for social justice is explored.