Round Square Africa Regional Conference
Round Square Africa Regional Conference for 12-14 year olds
20-24 March 2019
Hosted by Dainfern College
Round Square is a global network of innovative schools in 50 countries on six continents that share a passion for experiential learning and character education. The Round Square approach is built around six IDEALS of learning: Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service.
The Round Square Discovery Framework offers a structure that connects the IDEALS with twelve Discoveries that students explore on their learning journey: Inquisitiveness, Tenacity, Courage, Compassion, Inventiveness, Ability to Solve Problems, Self-Awareness, Sense of Responsibility, Appreciation of Diversity, Commitment to Sustainability, Communication Skills and Teamwork Skills.
Within this Framework, students and faculty in Member Schools are encouraged to discover and develop their own capabilities through a range of experiences, activities, collaborative projects and challenges, both in and beyond the curriculum, including international, regional and local social service projects, exchanges and conferences.
A visionary in his time, and the inspiration behind Round Square, Kurt Hahn regularly spoke of the need to educate for character and compassion above all else.
In Germany in the 1920s, Hahn’s views certainly weren’t mainstream, but today character education and the acquisition of “soft skills” are widely acknowledged to be essential in the development of well-rounded, active and informed global citizens.
“I see it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all, compassion” – Kurt Hahn.
This year 6 boys (Craig Balding, Fletcher Brown, Willem Greeff, Brandon Lightfoot, Sahil Maharaj & Peter Watt) represented St Stithians Boys’ Prep at the Africa Regional Conference. We departed, together with 6 girls (and staff) from St Stithians Girls’ Prep, on Wednesday 20th March for Dainfern College. The theme of the conference was: Discover…
After registration and ‘discovering’ our rhythm, staff and delegates were welcomed to the conference. All delegates and staff then moved to the conference centre in Krugersdorp, which would be our home for the next few days.
Thursday started with bright and early with ‘discover’ your balance – an hour of yoga & stretching on the grass. One of the highlights of the conference was a talk by Joey Evans, who described his journey from being a paraplegic in a wheelchair to completing the Dakar Rally (From Para to Dakar) on a motorbike in 2017. It was most inspirational. The second guest speaker was a young man, Nhlanhla Lux, the founder of Native Airways, whose message for success was: 1) Pitch up 2) Be ready and 3) Don’t quit.
Friday, was very much in line with the South African public holiday of Human Rights Day, where delegates spent time at the Regina Mundi Church, Hector Pietersen Memorial and Vilikazi Street (where the homes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are) in Soweto. The evening was spent gazing at the heavens through telescopes under the auspices of the West Rand Amateur Astronomical Society.
On Saturday, the delegates visited Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves, which was most fascinating. After a fun and emotional closing ceremony, the delegates ended their conference with a “Glow Party”.
Our thanks go our colleagues and girls from Girls’ Prep for accompanying us and most importantly to Dainfern College, for a fantastic conference, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all! We are looking forward to next year!
"In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one's social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education.....but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one's development as a human being: humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow man - qualities within the reach of every human soul."
Nelson Mandela (in a letter to Winnie Madikizela Mandela, 1977)