Education and leadership are related concepts, for their main focus is the enhancement of human society. Both of them also play complementary roles to each other. For instance, it takes well integrated, focused and balanced quality and quantitative educational process to produce quality leadership. In other words, education without necessary political attention may not succeed, as leadership without quality education is bound to fail. This paper adopts a conceptual study of the role of education on qualitative leadership for sustainable development in globalized economy. Accordingly, concepts of leadership, education, sustainable development, education and leadership for sustainable development are discussed using philosophical tools as basis for analysis of concepts and languages to convey clarity of meaning and coherence. The paper subscribes that for any nation to achieve sustainable development, the issue of education and leadership must be taken seriously. It regrets that education and leadership in Nigeria, like in most other African countries, are far behind international standards. The paper, therefore, calls for a change of attitude on the nation’s education and leadership systems.
The concept of sustainable development is not new; what seems new is its reawakening in the global context. Every nation or society, no matter its size, designs an education system which it pursues for common interest of all. No education system is established without the aim of building human capacity for societal development, for the present and the future generations. One of the main functions of education is to produce quality manpower that would occupy the various sections of the societal life: politically, socially, economically, morally, etc. Education therefore plays a major role in achieving quality and durable leadership. Quality leadership also encourages adequate and functional education. When leadership attitude to education is positive, the human development index continues to appreciate. This then adds credence to sustainable development. It therefore takes a positive working relationship between education and leadership to achieve the much desired sustainable development in any nation of the world.
This paper examines the concepts of education and qualitative leadership, respectively, to shed more light on their meaning and relate them to the achievment of sustainable development at both the global and continental levels. The question then is: What are qualitative leadership; education; and sustainable development; and how do education and qualitative leadership contribute to the sustainable national development in a globalized economy?
Concept of Leadership
Leadership is a sacred responsibility. It is for those who possess the spirit of sacrifice and selflessness. It is the ability of the individual to successfully direct the activities of a group or organization to attain the group’s or organization’s goals. Leadership, according to Fayemi (2008), is “the ability to take an initiative, to motivate, to influence, to direct and control the thoughts, the opinions and the actions of the followers in any given society towards the achievement of purposeful desired ends” (p. 3). From the definitions it is clear that leadership is a key factor for any major change in the society. A leader must have a vision and a mission devoid of selfishness. He must be properly informed of the people he is leading. Leadership requires a person of high intelligence, a motivator and of positive influence, who is result oriented, as well. For effective leadership to be realized it requires exceptional gift of knowledge, intellect and training, since it involves the general well-being of all. A good leader is one who not only preserves the lives of his people, but also transforms them into human beings.
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