Abu Dhabi: Without effective school leaders it is virtually impossible to have effective schools, the education minister said on Sunday.

"We have invested heavily in our school leaders as we view their development as the key to bringing about positive change in our schools. Decades of research have shown that without effective school leaders it is virtually impossible to have effective schools," Dr Hanif Hassan told a conference.

Hassan, Mubarak Saeed Al Shamesi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), and Professor John Edward Sexton, the 15th president of New York University (NYU), highlighted school leadership practices in front of 1,200 school principals and professionals from various public/private school across the UAE.

Speeches and sessions during the ADEC initiative titled the 'First International School Leadership Conference,' highlighted the certification system and standard; global leadership trends; collaborative strategies; professional development and student development plans.

Following the presentation, academics from all over the world shared their educational experience with schools in a forum. Some of the topics covered were self-evaluation, career counselling and behaviour management.

The minister emphasised that a school leader is required to demonstrate proficiency in the administrative and instructional use of technology and become proficient in the English language.

"We have developed, in cooperation with higher education institutions in the UAE, a series of school leadership modules based upon internationally accepted best practices. All UAE school leaders will eventually be required to complete the modules and demonstrate their proficiency to become UAE certified school leaders. We are also encouraging our school leaders to complete a Master's Degree in newly developed programmes on school leadership at our higher education institutions," said Hassan.