What College leaders need is a Gaga Strategy

Lady Gaga as a child

Lady Gaga as a child

Dining amongst some of those who support the traditional dinner of the Network of Black and Asian Professionals network as part of the AOC Conference last night reassured me. So, I doubt that the creative leadership talk by Professor Jaime Anderson on the first day of the conference will change many of them. Though, it could change a few and I would love to see how applying a “followship strategy”, rather than a leadership one, possible via a Youtube, twitter or a blog that has over five million followers, pans out.

But let’s face it. The Gaga Strategy as he advocated could be just the approach needed to reveal the way out of the funding conundrum the sector faces – a robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario reflected in the predictions of AoC Chief Executive Martin Deol, BBC Newsreader Emily Maitlis and BBC Radio 5’s Chief Political Correspondent John Pienaar when they addressed the packed auditorium just before the political party reps came on stage.

As Martin Doel said to FE News, he saw little difference amongst the political parties because the headlines are much of the same and we will all be keen to see the details of their pledges in the next six months before the general election.

Being humans, principals will wonder what the heck Professor Jamie’s message was. Yes it was clear that the ease of access to technology and how anyone has been able to broadcast themselves since the emergence of Youtube was central to his message.

Yes, the education sector can and should capitalise on that. There was some sort of reverence to “meaningful intimacy” allowed by technologies such as twitter that has seen Lady Gaga and the likes of Justin Bieber create a group of followers that could win elections.

The irony is that his call to engage with generation-y in the FE and Skills sector immediately hit the barrier of diminished resources. While private schools charge higher fees for the 16 plus cohort, the FE and Skills sector has seen funding for this cohort dwindle. Principals have also been feeling the difficulty in recruiting and keeping good English and Maths teachers since the government handshake to attract these teachers to schools.

But perhaps Professor Jamie’s 4Es of the Gaga Strategy might provide the blue sky thinking the sector needs.

e1 Excellence
e2 Empathy
e3 Exclusivity
e4 Engagement

Those who weren’t there might want me to spell out those Es. Well, anyone who can workout what the Gaga Strategy is will do so without trouble. So I’ll leave it to you. A tip, though: it does require blue sky thinking about blue sky thinking… and maybe we will find the answer to inject funds in the sector while reducing the deficit.

Since I live for technology in education, a well devised and deployed Gaga Strategy will see unpredictable levels of sector engagement with students that will make them all want to follow, rather than attend, education, skills training and research.