“We need to do something about our educational system or we are going to sit where we are for a long time. If our institutions, such as our Department of Basic Education, are in trouble, we are in trouble. We are living in a country where, 20 years after democracy, we are experiencing a seriously short supply of leadership. I am appalled by recent destruction to our universities’ infrastructure and the burning of books – I can’t reconcile the damage of over R1billion to our universities. Someone needs to take responsibility. We need our leadership to speak up”, said award winning journalist, TV host and author, Justice Malala on Tuesday 27 September at the first annual Engaging Exchange hosted by The Independent Institute of Education’s Varsity College.
This collaborative platform, attended by more than 80 educators, provided an opportunity for school leaders and teachers to network and share leadership best practices.
Malala also emphasised the urgency of bringing School Inspectors back into the fold. “How do we deliver quality education and monitor school leadership of we do not have minimum measurement in place?” asked Malala.
Louise Wiseman, Managing Director at Varsity College said: “The positive feedback that has been shared with us by our invited guests is encouraging. This year’s education conference was the first step towards actively engaging with our stakeholders in a way that adds value to what they do on a daily basis. We hope that discussions and insights shared by both our keynote speaker, Justice Malala as well as our workshop facilitators will make a positive contribution to the South African education community”.
During the conference, which has been described as innovative, inspirational and motivational, delegates were addressed by several esteemed speakers. These included Dale Tomlinson, CEO The Hardy Boys; Aneesha Mayet, Senior Research Manager The Joint Research Trust and Anne Whaits and Liesl Scheepers of The IIE’s Varsity College.
The topics that were discussed during the collaborative breakaway sessions included: branding and communications, innovative staff development, digital literacies and the future of the teaching profession.
“The Engaging Exchange was a really great event with tremendous engagement. Not only did we see principals chatting to principals, there was interaction on a variety of topics. It was a productive morning,” said Margie Boosey, Principal The IIE’s Varsity College Durban North.
Said conference delegate Deidre Freitas (Northlands Girls High School): “Today was a good starting point. Insightful ideas that we can take back to our schools and apply to our different situations were shared. It was also a great opportunity to meet teachers from other schools and to learn from each other.”