The IMTEC Foundation – past and present
The end of the 1960’es was characterized by student demonstrations and criticism against the school system. Books were written about ”de-schooling” (Illich & Christie), and the interest for what happens when schools face renewal challenges was awakened. Center for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI in OECD) accepted the challenge and started a research program to analyze the educational systems’ capacity for change (Dalin, 1973). As a result of this program, a leadership development program was created: ”International Management Training for Educational Change”, based on the assumption that knowledge about how schools improve is important to school leaders. This also instigated a number of national school leadership programs. Later the word “Management” was replaced by “Movement”, and today the foundation’s name is “IMTEC – International Movement Towards Educational Change”.
Professor Per Dalin was IMTEC’s founder and leader during the OECD period in Paris. Upon his return to Norway in 1977, he brought back with him the name and the project idea, and IMTEC was established as a Norwegian foundation. The aims for the foundation were mainly
- To contribute to international school development through the establishment and participation in networks between organizations, projects and individuals.
- To contribute to an increased knowledge in the educational field through conferences, publications, evaluations and research.
- To contribute to school development in Norway.
Two issues became vital for the foundation’s credibility. Firstly – its independent state. IMTEC should not be a part of another organization or be financed through any fixed economical agreement. Secondly – IMTEC should have a non-profit profile. Although the foundation was privately owned, its profile should be non-commercial. Both nationally and internationally, IMTEC’s collaborators were mainly within the public sector. This made it even more important to have a non-profit profile.
Over time, IMTEC’s professional focus has changed. Where the projects used to be mainly international, they are now mainly national, although there is a certain degree of participation in international school research programs as well. The focus has also shifted from being aimed only at school development to now include other public institutions. IMTEC’s own profile used to include research projects, but instead of doing our own research studies, we now cooperate with several internationally renowned school researchers.
The key word for IMTEC’s work is development, which we approach in various ways:
- We offer in-house training to institutions and organizations that want to create a more active development strategy.
- We provide professional assistance in organizational development and change projects.
- We conduct evaluation studies of development projects and in organizations that are involved in change processes.
- We assist in the process of establishing networks between organizations and individuals who wish to be a part of a professional development orientated community.
- We offer programs for leadership training.
IMTEC’s clients are mainly within the public sector; particularly within the educational sector. We work on all levels; on a system level (the school owner), on an organizational level (the school leader), and on an executive level (the teacher).
Our approach is process oriented, aimed at strengthening the internal capacity for change in the organizations and individuals with whom we cooperate. We offer professional assistance through supervision, coaching, counselling, training, evaluations and studies.
We wish to make a contribution to the development of professional knowledge and proficiency in our field of expertise through publications, networks and conferences.
Evaluation on all organizational levels
On the system level the municipal administration is responsible for the overall coordination and execution of all municipal activities. On the organizational level, e.g. in a school, the school leader is responsible for maintaining a high teaching quality and teaching methods that cater to the needs of all students. On the teaching level, the individual teacher is responsible for leading each student’s learning process.
IMTEC offers evaluations on all levels. It is our opinion that a qualified evaluation depends on a systematical approach and the ability to see how levels and actions within an organization interact with and influence each other. Through evaluation we want to find the strengths and weaknesses in the work processes. We want an evaluation to be a positive assistance in a learning process and a tool that can actively improve and further develop necessary actions.
Networks can be aimed at joint learning, the exchange of ideas and at giving critical feedback on practice. In order to create a constructive network environment, local meeting places must be established with attention to proximity, individuality and common needs. Networks may also be arenas for international meetings where dissimilarities and contrasts may be used to stimulate growth and development in those who participate.
IMTEC arranges conferences and seminars aimed at staff members in kindergartens, employees in after school-programs, teachers, school leaders and school owners on both municipal and national levels. Our aim is to share new knowledge about the way children and young people learn, to share new research from the educational field and to create visions for future training and education on all levels.