Skip to main content

"Invest in people, prioritize education": What it means for a school leader

This interview was originally published by the UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning on 23 January 2023 prior to the International Day of Education. 

17 goals and seven years left until the world reaches the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals for the people, planet, and prosperity. With the clock ticking, education must be prioritized to accelerate progress toward all the SDGs, especially amid growing inequalities and fast-evolving challenges. 

On the International Day of Education, IIEP-UNESCO caught up with educational planners and decision-makers, to hear what is on their radar as the race to 2030 continues. Their testimonies also launch a year-long celebration of IIEP’s 60th anniversary and an opportunity to reflect on the future of planning education and learning for all. 

Hailing from the Caribbean Island of Montserrat, Hyacinth Bramble-Browne is the Vice Principal of the nation’s sole Secondary School. She is also an educational planner and was the president of IIEP-UNESCO’s Trainees’ Association while she pursued a year-long training programme at the Institute in 2015-2016. She shares her vision of this important day for education. 

International Day of Education matters to me because it serves as a scheduled time not only for me, locally – but all educators – to zoom in on the issues facing education while searching for solutions.   This day ensures that we plan, and hold discussions aimed at finding solutions and at sharing good practices with our stakeholders while at the same time listening to what is taking place regionally and internationally. Hopefully, we will learn from the best practices shared and make positive in-roads in meeting the 2030 Education goals. 

In my current role, I need to make sure that secondary education meets the needs of all students, and that we add value to each child. In Montserrat, our education system is inclusive and universal.  All students come and there are no school fees for attending the public primary and the lone public secondary school.  This means that as a leader, I must provide support for teachers to ensure that they feel confident and are equipped to deliver not only subject content but morale and social values to equip our students to fit readily into the world of work and to function effectively in higher education.

The world needs to invest in education because quality education pays value to each country. Research indicates that increasing the quality and standard of education in a nation increases its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Even without that, an increase in education will have spill-offs in health, and other social sectors resulting in a higher standard of living for all. If we do not choose to spend the required funds on providing a quality education system fit for purpose, then we will find that we will need to spend the money on other social sectors like health, social services, housing, prisons, and so on. 

Read all the interviews conducted by IIEP-UNESCO on what “Invest in people, prioritize education” means for planners and decision-makers here.

Photo credit: Hyacinth Bramble-Browne

Caption: Hyacinth Bramble-Browne Vice Principal of the nation’s sole Secondary School in her office.