From his recent trip to Latin America, Dr. Simon Camby, Group Education Director, shares his thoughts and observations from two of our fantastic schools in Mexico and Colombia. 

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting two schools that have recently joined our global Cognita community. I was travelling with Siobhan McGrath, the Executive Principal of Southbank International School in London. In both schools, we spent time with students to learn more from their perspectives. Two schools, two countries but a similar theme.

Colegio Olinca is in Mexico City and its mission is to, ‘Form better, full, confident and enterprising human beings.’ We met with a group of 22 students from across the school’s age ranges. Without exception, each student was articulate and purposeful in their communication; willing to explain their own perspective on learning, education and aspiration. The standout points of learning were:

  • A deep sense of being grounded and proud of being Mexican and all that this means on multiple levels of culture. This was accompanied by an optimism and aspiration as global citizens. Many students spoke of their desire to study and learn in order to make a difference in their home nation.
  • An understanding of the fact that learning is messy, things go wrong and we need to have the resilience to pick ourselves up and re-group.

Santa Francisca Romana School in Bogota, Colombia is committed to, ‘Educating global, inclusive citizens, respectful of other people and differences’. In short, they aim to nurture, ‘Unstoppable women’. Here we met Sara, Paula and Gabriela all aged 15. As we walked around the school campus, a maturity beyond their years shone through. The standout points of learning were:

  • Their enjoyment for learning and the shining eyes when talking about specific subjects or aspects of school that they really enjoy.
  • Their sense of aspiration for the future is accompanied by a healthy dose of trepidation about all that the world offers.
  • A deep pride in their school, what it stands for and their experience of it.

In both schools, the students reflected on their privilege as students in private education and the accompanying responsibility that this brings to use their education for the greater good of others. Both schools were living out their mission.

Our shared reflection following these conversations can be likened to a tree. The students in both schools showed a strong sense of grounded reality and humility. They know their roots, are proud of their roots and want to sustain their roots. At the same time, they are growing and reaching for the sunlight. They have aspiration, optimism and excitement about where their learning can take them.

Trees grow over years because of strong roots and strong branches. These students were similar, they have both. In Cognita our global purpose is to enable everyone in our community to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. That certainly appears to be happening here! Bravo to their parents and teachers who nurture and create the right conditions for this to take place.