Thinking Differently: Better Late Than Never

In a post-COVID-19 world we (independent schools) are going to need to up our game if we plan to stay in it. It is time to get creative and think differently. So why aren’t we talking about it?

Let’s be brutally honest – anyone involved in education has known for quite some time that our approach to schooling needed more than a spruce-up. Yes, there have been forays into robotics, coding, tech, e-learning and other such (marketable) areas that we think represent the future our learners will face. But it has taken the big boot of COVID-19 to propel us, kicking and screaming all the way, into the educational revolution that’s been right in front of us for a long time.

But we’re still not talking about it.

IASA’s executive director Lebogang Montjane’s most recent annual general meeting (AGM) address really did underline the writing on the wall. The statistics he shared were, for some of us, downright depressing, but the message was clear: the nature of what we do has changed. Radically. Whether we want to accept it or not.

In an increasingly threatened sector we have a choice: we can continue to compete with each other for the shrinking demographic that can afford our school fees, or we can get creative and start collaborating with each other – genuinely collaborating – in new ways that benefit all of us.

Why are we not talking about creative collaborations that can help us keep our schools afloat during times so tough that they are going to sink some of us (if they haven’t already)? Sharing the cost of expert teachers by using hybrid methodologies to teach at more than one school comes immediately to mind.

Professional learning communities (PLCs) dedicated to specific learning platforms is another. Are we afraid to share something that gives us an edge over another school? Does it diminish us to share expertise? Is that why these conversations aren’t happening?

We are 18 months into this pandemic and we still aren’t talking creatively about methods and practices that will ensure that our schools are sustainably in front of it. With the wealth of expertise we have in each other, why on earth not?


Jacqueline Aitchison
Executive Head, Education Incorporated