In 2014, during the Innovation in Education Bloemfontein Summit, as school principals and leaders of learning organizations deliberated over the solutions needed for their learning environments, Dr Patrick Maesela (MP) lamented over the excessive negativity that he heard. He was, together with many others, deeply concerned over the 'paralysis' evident from the critical tone of the reflections. It all sounded like one big noise and a "pathetic effort to cover your own nakedness with leaves", as the Doc put it.
'If we are the government' Dr Maesela challenged, 'the capacity to change what should and must be changed, is in our hands'.
Inspired by this gauntlet, the last day of the summit was dedicated to answering the single question: 'How do you turn a Noise into a Voice?'.
Everyone present not only understood the importance of the question but vowed to take the necessary steps in order to act on the implications of the probe. School principals, Leaders, Teachers, Managers in the corporate sector, Investors from South Africa and Italy immediately after November 2014, dedicated their time and financial resources to turning that noise into a voice.
Unhindered by distances and logistical handicaps, individuals and businesses connected with each other, sourced information together, funded travel and donated money and time to support and fund a wide range of projects. Ranging from Special Needs Education to Saturday Classes to Reading Improvement Technology-Assisted learning projects, these initiatives were crowned by the first major milestone in June earlier this year when twenty one voices carved out precious time to source additional knowledge and skills in order to bring crisp clarity to the powerful ideas that they harbour for this land.
The business sector, with Royal Haskoning DHV and Communications Management Support, at the forefront, responded by dedicating additional funding for these leaders to impact their schools and learning organizations. Also, the Swedish-based non-profit, Learning Academy Worldwide, prodded for these leaders to be the experts and asked for a bigger slice of the funding to be allocated to this priority.
As a direct result of that support and the commitment from Principals and their schools, space was created for contemplations and reflections. Structured around interactions with collaborators from South Africa and Italy, the June 2015 event provided a basis for powerful concepts to be refined in preparation for the Wisehub Innovation Summit in Education scheduled for October.
During that pre-summit event in Cape Town, three major areas were discussed: Fiscal Management, Special Needs Education and Leading as Mentors. These were chosen as a starter and represented a set of categories based on concerns that were raised in earlier dialogue with Learning Academy Worldwide founder, Theophilus van Rensburg Lindzter.
As a consequence of all these, Saturday, 17th October, 2015, will bring with it the achievement of a major milestone - one where the contemplations and reflections of these serious men and women will be showcased to stand as pillars upon which others can build.
For once, the expert who will turn a noise into a voice, will not be another sage on the stage, but a tower in the trenches.