In 1985, the then-headmistress of Brescia House School, Sr Anselm Peace, wrote in her report: “Today’s pupils will live in a dramatically changed South Africa and in a world society which will no doubt be very different from our own.”
The resonance of her foresight is strikingly evident as Brescia House School proudly celebrates the accomplished journey of their Grade 12s of 2023.
These matrics experienced high school amid a whirlwind of change, navigating a world marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). In the wake of the recent global Covid-19 pandemic, international conflicts and an exponential surge in the virtual domain, these girls were trailblazers showing grit and grace while emerging stronger and more adaptable than ever before.
The Grade 12s of 2023 were the ones who had to grapple with subject choices, while confined to online learning during their Grade 9 year in 2020. It was a testament to their ability to adapt and thrive in a world of constant disruption, and to foster a mindset of continuous learning, collaboration and creative problem-solving.
Central to their educational journey has been the integration into 21st century skills. Under the banner of education beyond borders, Brescia House School partnered with schools in their global Ursuline network to take their pupils into classrooms and educational spaces, all over the world.
Leveraging its well-established global exchange programme, the pupils partnered with The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York, on a project titled "Reaching for Global Equality & Equity."
Substituting technology for passports, pupils worked in interdependent groups comprising pupils from both schools and had to navigate the challenges of time zones, differing opinions and technology together. Each group focused on a specific aspect of inequality such as housing, education, healthcare, transport and economic opportunity.
This project is one example of a number of Education beyond Borders projects that Brescia House School has implemented. The aim of the programme is to leverage the familiarity with online communication and collaboration technology, in order to expose students to not only different thinking and viewpoints, but also preparing them for the dynamic future workforce.
The value of the programme is evident in the experience gained from working on a real-world problem and making decisions together in an international cross-cultural team. While the project might guide students in a formal way, there is also significant learning that takes place from the informal conversations and sharing of information between students of the same age. Social connections have been established between students that have lasted beyond these formal projects.
The Ursuline schools network spans across the continents and offers students exposure to a range of global issues and diverse perspectives. This shapes them into responsible, well-rounded global citizens prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.
As Brescia House School bids farewell to its class of 2023, it celebrates not just their academic achievements but also their determined spirit and global mindset. This is a testament to their readiness to embrace a rapidly evolving world and make a meaningful difference on a global scale.