Message from the head's desk: 17 November 2023

By Dani Cooper

The Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) publishes a quarterly magazine Independent Education, which presents articles on research and trends in education and showcases specific work in schools. It provides some pleasant and inspirational reading for teachers.

I was browsing through the latest edition last week and I was not surprised to come across several articles on mental health. This is currently a focus for all schools as we experience increased levels of anxiety and stress in young people.

In the same edition of Independent Education, certain programmes and webinars were promoted with the intention of helping children achieve their desired success. The phrases: develop a purpose, plan a path, prepare for the route were repeated continually in the promotion.

These programmes encourage children to map out the years at school - to set goals and to plan each step on the path to their desired outcomes.

The message for our children is that there is little space in childhood and adolescence for languid exploration of interests, for play and recreation, for spontaneity and the formation of self. Everything we know to be normal. Rather, education and in fact everything, must be clearly defined and deliberately planned for one’s ultimate success.

It concerns me that the obsession with achievement and success is causing the decline in our children’s mental health and well-being.


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