Spotlight on Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative – Global Best Award Winner @ IPN2012
The IPN is delighted to be able to highlight the work of The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI). MAEI was a Global Best Award winner in the category, ‘Partnership’s for the development of enterprise and entrepreneurial skills’ at IPN2012 in Durban, South Africa. MAEI is a charitable organisation that supports education for Aboriginal students across Canada. MAEIʼs guiding vision is to empower Aboriginal students with the knowledge and confidence they need to complete secondary education and go on to further study. MAEI are involved in a variety of initiatives including:
• Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Program
• Accounting Mentorship Program
• Promising Practices in Aboriginal Education.
If you are interested in finding out more about these and other initiatives visit the MAEI website and read their most recent Newsletter.
IPN2012, Durban, South Africa!
Now that the conference is over and everyone has gone home or gone back to their day job, we at the IPN are working hard to get all the information, pictures and videos ready for you to view here on the IPN website and on the IPN2012 conference website. As well as the more formal conference reports and presentations we also want to capture the experience of IPN 2012 from the perspective of all involved, from local MIET Africa staff dealing with the practicalities of organising the conference to delegates who travelled thousands of miles to take part. To help us do this we would like you to share with us any pictures you have which you feel capture a particular moment during IPN2012 or for you to share with us the moment, event or discussion that will sum up the experience for you, something positive that has come out of your experience at IPN2012……it is up to you!! To find out what my highlight was read on……..!
IPN2012 – A Personal Experience!
As you would expect, on the long trip back to Scotland from Durban myself and my IPN colleagues (Alex and Jane) chatted about the conference, things that had happened, people we had met, or not met (for those I missed, there is always Brussels), people who looked different from what we imagined, things we would do differently…. etc etc. Then came the challenge! What was your highlight, the bit you will always remember, the bit that will sum up the whole experience for you in years to come??
For my colleagues there was a lot of head scratching, and as we say in Scotland, ‘humming and hawing’, it was hard to narrow down the options (The Global Best Awards, the Cocktail Evening, the Cafe Conversations, the Cultural Evening….the list is endless). I would have faced that same challenge had I not had an opportunity which they did not share.
I had an opportunity, unique to myself, Jill, a few hundred South African school children and a NASA astronaut!
I am not new to the concept of spacemen and schools, we in Scotland have been bringing the two together for more than 10 years. Whilst I can say that the experience is amazing and inspiring every time, this time was different!
On this occasion I was thousands of miles and a million light years away from the relative familiarity of schools in Scotland when I accompanied NASA Astronaut Alvin Drew to Clarence Primary School and Umlazi Com Tech. Perhaps I should have been prepared for something different but, I wasn’t!
At Clarence the children were impeccably turned out in their school uniform, and displayed the same excitement and enthusiasm you would see in any scottish primary school when an astronaut drops by; but there was something different, something special!
Maybe it was the singing that started as the first of a couple of hundred children made their way into the school hall, or the intensity with which they listened to Alvin, or the amazing questions they clamoured to ask or the excitement on the faces of those who didn’t fit into the hall when Alvin dropped by their class, I’m still not sure!
The journey to Umlazi Com Tech in a township on the outskirts of Durban, was an experience in itself, seeing what you don’t see as a ‘tourist’ staying on the Durban beachfront attending a conference at the Moses Mobhida Stadium. Meeting the Head-teacher (Lucky) was equally moving. The passion and commitment he showed towards the school and its students surpassed anything I have experienced, even among the many committed teachers I have met in Scotland. He is without doubt a force to be reckoned with and no soft touch when it comes to discipline and the expectations he has of his students. He demands and appears to get, the same passion and commitment to learning from his students as he shows. Like the visit to Clarence the students were enthusiastic, enthralled and asked great questions of Alvin, no different from a typical visit to a scottish secondary school, but once again there was something special, something different! Maybe it was the fact that we were in a school hall that had pigeons fluttering overhead while Alvin talked about his journey to space, or that the electricity supply for the laptop and PA system depended on a strategically placed milk crate, or maybe it was the spine-tingling version of the South African National Anthem that Lucky broke into, followed by the students at the end of the visit, I’m still not sure!
All I know is that I feel privelaged to have had this experience and it will remain as much an inspiration to me as I hope Alvin’s visit was to the amazing young people we met.
Send your photos, thoughts, comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Best Awards @ IPN2012
For conference report, pictures and videos watch this space! (for the unofficial pictures click here!)
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