From the editor

| March 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

In her excellent article on page 20 of this issue, Mary Worch, Executive Director of the Independent Education association, operating in the greater Washington, DC area, observes that “the uncertain economic outlook, both in the USA and globally, is forcing [our] member schools to think differently about how to do business. Yet our schools are rising to the occasion!”

In putting together this issue of Independent Education, I have been delighted to make contact with a number of South African independent schools that are also “rising to the occasion” in different ways, and are the embodiment of ISASA’s guiding principles of Quality, Values and Diversity.

Bedford Country School, for example, in the heart of rural Eastern Cape, has chosen to preserve its independent status and enhance its capacity by joining ISASA. You can read the story of this journey on page 12.

In the same province, another small ISASA school, The Kat River Valley Montessori School, honours on a daily basis the founder of the education philosophy that advocates self-directed learning. Dr Maria Montessori, says author and Directress Sharona Scholtz, was as passionate about independence as she was about children fulfilling their potential. Read how life on a working citrus farm enriches the Montessori methodology on page 40.

Across the country, in Lenyenye, Limpopo, another ISASA member – Matseutseu Maropeng Combined School – is choosing to thrive rather than just survive, despite challenging circumstances. Deputy Principal Ruth Tsitsi Chadambura was delighted by the opportunity to write the story of this low-fee paying school about which she and her colleagues are so passionate, and I believe you’ll be inspired by the story of the school where one of the most abundant resources is caring.

Throughout this coming year, we will feature schools that have yet to grace our pages – low-, mid- and high-fee schools; new and old; small and large; rural and urban; co-ed and single sex; boarding and day; Waldorf and Reggio Emilia; Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and secular; and German, Chinese and International.

Worch’s article also confirms that other regular sections in our magazine are in line with international trends. In this issue, for example, we feature new ISASA member Greenwood Independent School in the Western Cape, and the more established Forres Preparatory School in Rondebosch, Cape Town, whose stories on learning how to improve the energy efficiency of cheap housing, and on how to join the Roots and Shoots Programme, are a clear indication that ISASA schools are turning green goals into daily lived action. Furthermore, our technology feature ‘Heads in the clouds – ISASA teachers predict the future’, on page 72, brings together a whole host of member schools of all kinds, and demonstrates that Information Technology teachers in these schools are both informed about the current impact of technology across the curriculum, and about its future potential.

We also welcome a new section in the magazine that will feature articles by ISASA’s Policy Unit (page 16) and are pleased to include in this Autumn issue a piece explaining the importance of ISASA’s financial sustainability workshops (page 18). And because our readership extends beyond both ISASA’s and our country’s borders, we will continue to feature topical news, both rooted in a southern African context, and with an international flavour – such as ‘The diversity factor in leadership searches’ (page 28) by Patrick Bassett, President of the National Association of Independent Schools in the USA, and our special report on indigenous languages in South African state schools in our teaching and learning section.

Of course, I’ve only provided a snippet’s worth of information here to whet your appetite about schools that are, to quote Worch, “truly meeting the needs of society, while keeping and enhancing both mission and purpose.” In a recent survey of our readership, this kind of extensive coverage prompted one respondent to say that Independent Education is “…an essential read for anyone with an interest in education in South Africa”. We hope you’ll judge for yourself.

Category: Autumn 2012

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