Julia Belgutay & Kate Parker

Why FE needs to respect its elders

Many communities around the world place a great value on the wisdom of their elders – but further education, it seems, isn’t one of them. When a principal with long service retires, their decades of experience are usually lost to the sector for ever. But that could change with a new proposal to create a ‘council of elders’ who could help to guide today’s leaders through an increasingly treacherous college landscape, write Julia Belgutay and Kate Parker

FE must respect its elders

In many cultures, elders are at the heart of families and communities – respected, valued, supported and relied on for their wisdom and experience. In Native American culture, for example, elders are seen as repositories of knowledge, passing on essential information and tradition to future generations.

In Aboriginal societies, “one is designated an elder after acquiring significant wisdom and experience”. Elders have even found their way into the education sector, with a curriculum proposal for Ontario in Canada defining them in the 1990s as “men or women who, recognised by others, possess ...

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