conversation with .... Jil
recently established a knowledge exchange
programme with leading educators in top
Australian schools. How will this benefit
the learners in South Africa and
me start off with an introduction to our
visit to Australia.
Network visited Australia to establish a
relationship / partnership with leading
Australian schools and to gather
information about how children and
teenagers around the world are being
equipped with the skills they need for
life in the information / knowledge age.
The information gathered will be presented
at an international conference in 2000.
I met with
leading educators in Australia and we have
established a knowledge exchange programme
between learners and educators in top
Australian schools and Knowledge
Network Partner Schools in South Africa.
knowledge exchange programme forms a small
part of the International Associate
people leaving school today are entering a
business environment which involves
digital communication and negotiation.
Further, many young people will work in
groups / teams spanning different
countries. These young people may never
meet their team members, except via email,
net meetings and video conferencing.
therefore important that these young
people are equipped with the skills -
computer and life skills - needed to cope
in this type of business environment.
addition, they will need to be able to
manage knowledge relating to different
projects / tasks in different countries
with different laws, different social
structures and environments, different
values, business rules, understanding /
interpretation of international languages
and business etiquette.
way to equip these young people
effectively is to establish a learning
environment which simulates the real
business world they are set to inherit -
to develop them for their role as
knowledge workers in a knowledge
does the programme involve?
between learners and educators,
participation as team players in joint
projects involving learners from different
countries, (collaborative working),
working together with learners in the same
country on projects for learners in other
countries, international competitions,
participation in international conferences
(live and via video conferencing),
participation in local and international
do you see this being implemented in
schools in South African and Australia?
What time frames are you looking at?
implementation will take place in
different phases. The first phase, which
involved the selection of associate
schools in Australia, took place in
with the educators in Australia was
inspiring, they played an important role
in assisting us in establishing a
connection between Australian and South
African schools in a relatively short
time. Schools in Australia are in the
process of being partnered with schools in
involves establishing structured, directed
and focused communication between
the learners and educators in schools that
have been selected as partners in the
programme. Partners have been selected
based on their technology and ethos. Phase
2 also involves the introduction of
international competitions and events.
involves joint projects and conferences.
The implementation of all three phases
should be completed by mid-year."
was your impression of the Australian
was inspired by the learning environment
in Australia. It was a privilege to spend
time with the principals, educators and
learners in the various schools in Sydney,
Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The
uniqueness of the learning environment in
each of the schools and campus-like 'vibe'
learners displayed a confidence, maturity,
responsibility, respect and pride which I
have not experienced in all the schools I
South African schools, confidence,
responsibility, and respect for each other
and the learning environment is still
being developed. This needs to be
developed fairly quickly if learners want
to be successful in a world without
learning opportunities exist on the
Internet for learners to acquire skills
and knowledge on their own, educators, a
new approach to learning and interaction
with people as well as technology will
ultimately determine how today's learners
are equipped emotionally, spiritually and
mentally for success in life. The role of
educators/mentors in the development of
creativity, lateral thinking, logic, life
skills and in building confidence in
learners should never be
schools have linked up as sister schools
across countries. From our research, not
all joint projects have been successful or
have continued over a long period. How do
you see your programme changing this?
infrastructure to support a knowledge
exchange programme and the development of
knowledge workers is key to the success of
negotiation, meeting the needs of the
educators and learners involved, and the
dissemination of information is often
neglected. A programme such as this takes
many people out of their comfort zone and
this needs to be approached with a
sensitivity and understanding of the
current needs, fears and ideas of those
of focus, direction and motivation to take
individual projects to completion in an
agreed time frame appears to have been a
difficulty in some of the failed projects
we have researched.
is to manage the programme, ensure that
all projects / events are learner-centred
and involve educators in the different
infrastructure we have established for
this programme takes care of the problems
you have addressed."