Asia-Pacific Rountable 2021
Following the very successful 2019 Roundtable in Singapore last October, which focused on strategic school improvement plans and teacher training needs, ACSI Philippines is keen to host our 2021 Roundtable.
Ces Tajale, ACSI National Director Philippines, looks forward to welcoming many delegates. Pray that international travel will allow key leaders and educators of the Asia-Pacific region to gather together.
ACSI Global Update
Christian schools in most countries in Europe are blessed by being recognized, accredited and financially supported by the governments. This is not true for France, Switzerland and some other countries. The school year has now ended in most countries in Europe.
If you have high schools who wish to participate in our Online Student Leadership Conference on September 21-25, 2020, please encourage them to check the information and register at www.acsieurope.org/cms/en-us/events/slc-2020
May the Lord grant us wisdom to navigate effectively through the storms of COVID-19. I see that this virus situation has greatly challenged man’s individualism and independence, and our reliance on scientific predictability.
Laszlo (Laci) Demeter , Regional Director | ACSI Europe, Budapest
Schools have partially reopened in 2 of my 4 regions. Rates of infection are plunging everywhere and everything is opening. But something worse that the virus is stalking us; unbridled fear. In my province a petition signed by 30,000 people went to the government demanding that schools remain closed. People’s perception of the danger of the virus is vastly exaggerated. Many refuse to leave home.
In this context our schools resume to declare, through all learning experiences, that we serve One who is Love. We don’t have to fear death. We can serve our neighbours even risking our own lives because our biggest problem is solved and we really, literally have nothing to worry about ever again!
It is a joy to be an ambassador for Jesus in these days where so much is being shaken. We are praying that the shaking won’t stop until many hearts have been broken and many eyes have turned to the Rock that cannot be shaken
Philip Hills, Regional Director | ACSI Western Canada
Greetings! Both public and Independent Schools have begun the slow process of phasing in the return of children to school. Whilst this is a relief for our ACSI Schools, there is growing concern about the exponential growth of COVID cases in South Africa. A number of schools have already closed due to cases of teachers and children with COVID. The real financial impact of this pandemic has been felt by all schools, yet we are all aware that the months ahead are going to be even tougher. Many schools have reported loss of student numbers together with significant reduction in the payment of fees. A number of schools have needed to retrench personnel and have plans for further reductions during the course of the year. At the same time we rejoice in the many testimonies of God’s miraculous provision.
Both Zimbabwe and Eswatini schools still remain closed with no indication on when they may possibly open. This is naturally a real concern for those schools and their financial viability.
We continue to pray for God’s providence as we trust him to learn the lessons we need to learn and as we love and support the Christian School community. Our office continues to pray for the global offices around the world. May you endeavour to model a ‘different spirit’ in these times that brings great support, encouragement and blessing to your schools.
Sean Moore, Regional Director | ACSI Southern Africa
The number of cases has risen past 2.2 million and the number of deaths past 119,000. While the virus continues to spread, it seems that the large cities most affected have seen a plateau in cases and deaths. Christian schools have been closed across the nation and now the discussion turns to whether schools could/should reopen in August when most should start their new year.
You will have seen the other problems in the international news that the US is facing during this time with the racial tensions. We lament the situation and are praying that God will heal our nation. Our brother Vernard Gant said recently that he has never in history seen the number of these types of protests across the nation and that many of the protesters are white as well as black. This may give us an opportunity as a nation to truly address the injustices that some of our people have suffered throughout the years. Whatever the causes for all of the turmoil in the US, it is apparent that we have become exposed and vulnerable as a nation. It is a powerful time in which we have the opportunity to seek the mercy of God, repent and be healed – II Chronicles 7:14. Please pray with us.
Mike Epp, Senior Vice President | Global ACSI Headquarters, Colorado Springs
Papua New Guinea
ACSI schools in Papua New Guinea include:
- Highlands Christian Grammar School, Mt Hagen – Principal Emmanuel Sarsalejo
- Sunrise Bethel Christian School, Port Moresby, with new campus Edai Christian School – Principal Rebekah Cook
Rebekah (Becky) writes, “At the moment most of our classes are back at school, with half of each class attending 2 days a week. This is in order to maintain the physical distancing required by the State of Emergency in PNG at this time. PNG has done very well with the virus – and it needs to! If the virus should take hold in PNG the results could be tragic as the resources to cope are not available. My husband Steve and I are still in Australia, and it has been interesting running the school remotely, but also wonderful to see our staff rise to the occasion. This time in AU has already been well spent on documentation that will help us develop more schools in the future, and grow our current schools. Thank you so much for your prayers and responses to our needs. Bless you.”
Read the Sunrise Bethel’s latest newsletter here.
In Mt Hagen, Highlands Christian Grammar School’s mission is to provide, in partnership with parents, a well-rounded educational program which is Bible-based, Christ-centred, academically excellent, culturally sensitive, and supportive of individual personalities, needs and gifts. HCGS was established in 2009, as a school primarily for expatriate children of mission organisations in the area, and those of Christian and commercial families who desired to have an international-level, high quality of Christian education.
Current Principal is Emmanuel Sarsalejo who reports, “Generally speaking we are doing well despite the interruptions brought by COVID-19. Per confirmed cases PNG has very low record with zero fatality. We thank God for His evident protection upon our community. HCG managed to prepare for the inevitable implications of the lockdowns. Term 2 classes at HCGS resumed on Monday 4 May. During the closure teachers prepared work sets for students to work on at home during the week and gave parents and students the option of a normal schooling mode (synchronous) or blended learning mode (asynchronous) via Google classroom. During the first two weeks of Term 2, students completed school work at home and sent their work to school on a weekly basis. Some students were not successful via this approach, mainly because of the lack of parental support and home structure and routine. Generally, most were successful. Towards week 3 some students came back to normal schooling. Praise God that all students are now back at regular schooling”.
In the ongoing context of the pandemic, the re-envisaged Christian Schools National Policy Forum Livestream was held recently. It was an excellent time together with thought provoking guests, content and discussion around the implications this pandemic will have on the Christian education sector moving forward.
CSA has launched a new podcast series by Dr Rob Loe. Rob’s focus is on relational schools – in fact he coined the term ‘well-belonging’ to emphasise his focus. We are delighted this week to welcome Rob and his wife Helen, along with their daughters Emily and Harriet, to Australia and to the CSA Executive Team. They will make Melbourne their home base following a 2-week mandatory quarantine period.
Dr Darren Iselin, CSA Director of Research and Innovation, provides regular updates via the CSA website on the Cardus Education Survey Australia, along with a number of other exciting research projects. ‘Thought Leadership’ and ‘Evidence-based Research’ are going to be crucial if 21st century education is to be authentic, relevant and engaging.
ACSI Philippines sponsored a recent webinar which revolved around mental health. This was part of a webinar series under the theme Fortifying Engaged and Thriving Schools. The speaker was Dr. Ruel Billones, a research fellow at the National Institute of Health, USA
Ces Tajale, Country Director I ACSI Philippines
ACSI Update – Pakistan Focus
Read more on the Pakistan Focus in the latest ACSI Update here.