Jambo and a Happy New Year from AISA in Nairobi,
As we commence 2019 I am mindful that this is the start of AISA’s 50th Anniversary year. I thought I might begin the year briefly recalling for you the very early years of AISA and describing how our organization came to be.
The idea of putting together an Association of International Schools in Africa was initiated by the Office of Overseas Schools of the US State Department, under the leadership of Paul Lubke, the Regional Education Officer for Africa from 1969-1979. The thinking at the time was that the best way to enable the development of and provide support to international schools in Africa was through in-service training of personnel. I find it interesting that 50 years on we are still primarily concerned with supporting the professional development of the leadership, educators and co-professionals in our member schools. Back then, the schools targeted for this early support where those that were functioning primarily to serve the families of United States Embassy personnel and were referred to as American-Assisted Schools. While these schools were financially sponsored by the US State Department (and most remain so to this day), AISA’s membership has now grown to include many different types of schools supporting families from all over the world.
In 1969, there were only 14 American-Assisted schools in Sub-Saharan Africa. The nascent organization was referred to as the ‘Sub-Saharan Regional Association’. Thankfully that name changed over the years (as “SSRA” is not nearly as catchy as “AISA” to pronounce). After discussions with school administrators in the region it was decided to focus the first organizational efforts on an annual conference at a venue in Africa, with the first taking place in Accra, Ghana in 1969.
How we have grown! We now have over eighty member schools and over 40 Associate Members - all with the goal of supporting quality international education for families living in cities across the continent. From that single conference event in Ghana half a century ago, we now offer over forty learning events and institutes in venues from Khartoum to Cape Town and Accra to Zanzibar each year. These attract over 1,000 educators whose aim is to improve student learning in AISA schools. We now support programmes in Governance, School Effectiveness, Service Learning, Child Protection and Wellbeing. For our students we offer awards for excellence and leadership in service.
As we reflect on our achievements to date, I invite you to share your experiences with the global AISA community on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/aisa.or.ke/
This weekend sees another anniversary with the staging of the 10th edition of the AISA Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS) at the International School of Tanganyika (IST) in Dar es Salaam. This important student focused event will bring together students from around the globe to share ideas on how they can meaningfully and authentically contribute to improving the lives of those in their local communities in sustainable ways.
Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you the very best for 2019!
Dr Peter Bateman