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From the editor

| October 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

This edition of Independent Education marks an extraordinary point in the history of the planet. As school marketing specialist Keryn House (citing the work of author Nassim Taleb), observes on page 76, ‘A black swan is a random, unexpected event that has huge impact.’

She is of course referring to the advent of COVID-19, which meant we decided to combine our winter and spring magazine editions to bring you
extended coverage of the timeline of the virus’s impact on schooling and society.

In this regard, House goes on to observe that: ‘[Due to the virus] our well-entrenched behaviours, beliefs and fragile knowledge were shattered. It
revealed our limitations. But we changed, we adapted and we embraced the new normal.’

We may be adapting, but perhaps, like me, you still stand in queues and gape at the sight of people bumping elbows and marvel at the strangeness of the emergence of a mask culture.

Our further adaptation should take into account three related trajectories. The first is the origin of the virus and how it has affected our understanding of our relationship with nature. On page 40, World Wide Fund for Nature International director general, Marco Lambertini writes:

Taking stock of how things stood before the pandemic struck, it was already clear that we were suffering the consequences of a deeply unbalanced relationship between people and planet… to help curb future pandemics, the trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife must be stopped. And we must also tackle the deforestation and environmental degradation that leads to risky interactions between humans and wildlife.

On page 79, you can find our cover story and read how Chartwell House Montessori Eco School cofounder and directress Heather Kreusch and her
colleagues are teaching children how to be deeply mindful of the environment. Says Kreusch:

Under the supervision of Belgian lepidopterist Jan Praet, we have scattered our grounds with indigenous larval host plants for highveld butterfly species, to promote the natural fauna and flora in our area. The children revel in the sight of these translucent beauties floating from flower to flower and flitting through the sunlight.

The second trajectory to consider is how we treat other humans. Social distancing is now mandatory, yet our fractured global society is evidence of how we have always allowed some people in and kept others out. Mike Bruton has penned an article for us about African innovation in a time of crisis, and quotes Belinda Shaw, founder and CEO of Cape BioPharm,
who has told the media that:

Africa has always been at the end of the queue when it comes to receiving vaccines and therapeutics. It’s enough now. We have the capability, we have the expertise, we have incredibly clever people, to be able to ensure the security of our own supply of pharmaceuticals.’

Please also share with your colleagues the story on page 28, which details the disturbing facts of the impact of the novel coronavirus on the world’s most vulnerable children. Then ask, how can we effect changes that are both global and local in nature? Here I must also make special reference to the articles on fake COVID-19 news (page 25) and the current global rise of racism (page 21). Don’t miss the teachable moments.

The third trajectory concerns the firm establishment of technology as a means to sustaining schooling. Some of our authors have referred to the
arrival of the fourth industrial revolution. However, I would suggest that it’s been here for some time. By now, while no-one can afford to ignore it, many simply cannot afford it. Kyle Lauf, who teaches at Assumption Convent in Johannesburg agrees, and created a marvellous article for us by interviewing other teachers at other schools and their attitudes to online lockdown teaching. You can read the piece on page 42 and follow that up by reading the stories about ISASA schools all over South Africa and one international school in Vietnam and their virtual interactions with their students this year.

Throughout lockdown, ISASA staff members have worked with calm commitment to ensure that member schools were well-equipped with knowledge and support. On page 59, Margaret Chifamba, the principal at Premier Independent Primary School in Mbabane, Eswatini, says: ‘We joined [ISASA] at just the right time, only a few days before the abrupt
closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Zoom discussion forums on a weekly basis have been of tremendous help. I don’t even want to imagine how we could have managed without support and guidance from ISASA.’

Category: Spring 2020

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