Our Head of School Andre Casson Shares His Experience at the Annual Cognita Head's Conference
During the holidays Dr Groughan, our School Principal, and I had the opportunity to attend the annual Cognita Heads’ Conference. This event brings together the Heads of School of the seventy Cognita Schools from around the globe. It is an opportunity to share best practice with colleagues and to remain abreast of the latest trends in education. The two main themes of this year’s conference were...
1. What does the future hold for our students
2. Mental Health and Well-being
Both were significant topics but it is the former with which I would like to focus in this Newsletter.
I was particularly struck by some of the comments of one of our Keynote Speakers, South African businessman and futurist, Anton Musgrave. He shared with us his research based views on the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning. His candid insight painted a concerning picture in which computers will be moving into the domain of many occupations that, in the past, were seen as the exclusive realms of humans. Accountants, doctors, lawyers and even teachers did not appear safe! To paraphrase Anton – we will not be able to compete with machines in these areas, as they will simply do these jobs better than we can.
As he led us on this depressive path, he turned the conversation in a direction of hope and positivity. He spoke of the fact that rather than trying to compete in areas that are positions of strength in the machine world we should focus on those areas in which we excel. Those aspects that make us human – collaboration, empathy, team building. Anton shared that we will always be better in these aspects of life. His comments reminded me of the words of one of my lecturers from Harvard – “Our academic achievements may get us a place at a good university and even a good job but it is our ‘human’ skills that will result in a successful career.”
This gave me cause to reflect on the education that we have here at AIS. We certainly are providing our students with excellent educational fundamentals but more than this we are educating for character – those uniquely human skills that will keep us one step ahead of the robots! As I spend time with our students, both inside and outside of the classroom, I am struck by their mature and deep interactions. From our youngest pupils through to our Year 12s I see young men and women of character and substance; individuals who I know will have a positive impact on the world.
Armed with this knowledge I do not lament an uncertain future. I am excited by it as it will be led by the AIS students of today who understand the importance of being truly human.
I must also share that at the conference AIS was bestowed with the a ”Education O-Ward” at our final dinner. Nominated by the Cognita Education Advisory Board, this O-ward seeks to recognise a school that especially enables its students to achieve high academic standards while also delivering a holistic education. The opening of their Early Years facility in the Early Learning Village was influential in AIS being awarded this prize. I was incredibly proud to receive this award on behalf of the School. It acknowledges the remarkable work of our passionate staff working with our exceptional students – a recipe for success!
Finally I would like to wish our Year 10 and Year 12 students all the best as they commence their final examinations this term. They have worked diligently to consolidate new work and have developed excellent study skills. Importantly, they have worked tirelessly with their wonderful teachers to be as well prepared as possible for these assessments. I know they will all receive the accolades that they deserve.
Simply register online to secure your child’s place at AIS.