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January 2018 

‘Excellent’ Education

Project leaders, Phil and Rachel Bowyer are meeting regularly with Municipality officials to explore the possibility of establishing inclusive and equitable quality education in Durban’s Inner City. One of the action points has been to write and submit a proposal outlining the requirements of a school in line with the Department of Education Guidelines, Norms and Standards.  As well as requirements for classrooms, location, outside space, parking, and so on, the proposal emphasizes the synergy between our vision for, ‘affordable, excellent, poly-sensory, transcultural and democratic education by 2020’ and Durban’s Vision to become, ‘Africa’s leading, most vibrant, liveable, walkable City Centre’ – starting with what it means to be leading…

‘Leading’

As part of our 2016 feasibility study, Soul Action invited 97 parents to rank the factors that most influence their choice of school: ‘Excellent teaching’ ranked highest. Since Soul Action believes every child is uniquely created – with a capacity for curiosity and creativity – ‘excellent teaching’ involves provoking learning by making space for discovery, expression and experimentation. Research shows that,

‘If we provide a variety of pathways for learning to occur, [educators] are more likely to reach all students and each is more likely to grasp the concept.’

Our school will facilitate a place of learning where children develop knowledge, understanding and skills that are relevant to today’s society and resonate with their interests and ambitions. South Africa’s National Development Plan – 2030, views ‘education and skills’ as ‘Drivers of change’ and thus favours teaching that will help, ‘school leavers find work that is stimulating and through which they can fulfil their aspirations.’

In 2017, the World Economic Forum published ten skills that the world will require by the year 2020:

‘Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, People Management, Coordinating with Others, Emotional Intelligence, Judgement and Decision Making, Service Orientation, Negotiation and Cognitive Flexibility.’

These are the sort of skills that Soul Action would expect to see as a result of ‘Excellent teaching’.

‘Every child begins their journey through life with an incredible potential: a creative mindset that approaches the world with curiosity, with questions, and with a desire to learn about the world and themselves through play. However, this mindset is often eroded or even erased by conventional educational practices. 98% of children in kindergarten are “creative geniuses” – they can think of endless opportunities of how to use a paper clip. This ability is reduced drastically as children go through the formal schooling system and by age 25, only 3% remain creative geniuses. Most of us only come up with one or a handful of uses.’

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