In 2013 NHC started to consider a range of new initiatives in the education sector to benefit over 60,000 Christian private schools around the world. John Frisken, the managing director of ISG was initially approached by some director of International School Associations in Asia and the United States to provide advice as to the best way of providing for the creation of this infrastructure. The objective was to make the functionality widely available to all schools at reasonable commercial cost and allow schools in emerging economic regions at a reduced costs. John’s thinking was further extended when he was approached by the African director of one of these organisation to assist the boards of school organisations to understand the best way they should be structured and operating in order to provide a mature governance structure that would provide confidence to organisation wishing to fund or provide assistance to individual schools.
In 2014 the concept of a community based development approach to provide for education, healthcare, and community facilities was birthed driven by an understanding that once these concepts had been matured within Australia as a test bed they would be transferrable into other countries in the region, including those newly emerging economies of Asia. From a technology perspective the initiative became embedded within a Smart City initiative, where access to knowledge-based learning and design of housing estates masterplans, including community facilities for sport and recreation for use by the community, would be utilised by community schools and colleges .
The idea is to encourage children to remain in the community for education, supervised by learning facilitators and care providers. In this learning model every child would have a learning and development plan and the learning facilitators would better understand the challenges of each child by the school being co-located in the community. In this model no child is expected to walk more than 500 metres to school. This contrasts to the current paradigm in Australia where kids are streamed in classes of similar ability and a learning plan is developed for each class. Individuals are tested as to their ability to respond to assignments and tests in a quality control approach consistent with production line philosophies.
Teamed with new technology that will assist to design and deliver learner centred curriculum, optimum school sizes will fall dramatically as with the move away from subject based delivery (which is centred around the teacher) and move to project based learning where students work together to deliver education outcomes. This requires much more flexible teachers who are experts in how children learn rather than the content of their subject areas. Schools will be located close to where children live fostering a greater sense of community and integrating before and after school care into a continuum of care within the community.
As part of the commitment of ISG to delivering positive change within our community ISG is undertaking a range of social impact investments to assist in supporting the move to new changes in education within our community. SafeNet and Learn IT are two portfolio products that will begin to deliver sound education outcomes for learners in Australia and eventually other countries, including eventually developing countries. SafeNet will deliver a safe working environment for students, teachers and parents who will interact in the new Learn IT systems providing learning modules, student assessment systems and parent feedback systems. This will start with new products to support teachers to deliver project-based learning outcomes which are mapped back to NESA and Australian curriculum requirements which are currently subject based. These will be integrated with explicit Character and Value based learning.
NHC has a commitment to assisting those who are not as well off in our world. Working through Charities like New Hope International Limited and education associations like the Association of Christian Schools International ISG is working to assist schools in developing countries like Africa. Part of the work we do on projects is ear marked to go towards assisting development projects. Clients can nominate the areas where their fees contribute (including to their own nominated charities) and then participate in following the impact that their contribution makes to the lives of children overseas.