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Eduleader Bytes: Michael O’Sullivan

EducationWorld January 14 | EducationWorld Eduleader Bytes

Michael O’Sullivan, Chief Executive
University of Cambridge International Examinations, UK
How important is the internationalisation of education in the 21st century?
Very important. Private and public schools around the world are showing great interest in international curriculums and qualifications. Cambridge International Examinations receives exam entries from over 10,000 schools in 160 countries. This includes 337 schools in India from whom 50,000 exam entries were received this year.

What is the best prescription for improving public education in India?
As everywhere else, it is important for government and society to trust teachers, encourage them to innovate and provide them opportunities for continuous in-service training and improvement.

Thinker/philosopher you admire most.
Bertrand Russell, for saying among other great things that, œthe whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

Favourite Nobel Laureate.
Dr. Amartya Sen. A great Indian and a great Cambridge scholar.

Leadership style.
I like to encourage decision making at all levels. Organisations and companies should encourage people on the frontline to make judgements and decisions. People need to be trusted and they will justify that trust.

Recommended books on leadership.
I don™t believe that leadership can be learnt from books and manuals. It needs to be learnt from direct observation and practice.

How receptive are India™s Central and state governments to offshore school examination boards?
We have received excellent recognition statements from India™s Central and state governments. Moreover our requests for equivalency have also been sympathetically considered.

Should education outlay be doubled by cutting defence expenditure? What™s the UK experience?
This is a spurious either/or debate. Monetary allocations are not sufficient to improve education systems. That requires society™s support for continuous teacher training and development of education leaders.

How satisfied are you with the growth of Cambridge International Examinations?
Very satisfied. We are growing by about 15 percent per year by way of examination entries from around the world.

Optimistic or pessimistic about the future of Indian education?
Optimistic. Young people in India are highly motivated to acquire quality education and qualifications and students receive unusual degree of family support. Diversity and competition within Indian education is an engine for progress and change.

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