2020 started out full of promise. The second decade of the 21st Century! A neat repeating pattern of numbers that seemed to herald stability, order and continuity.
CASME had closed out a 3 year strategic cycle and was about to revisit this to consider some new focus areas. In particular we were looking to consolidate our learning around ICT integration in mathematics and science teaching, our role in education research, and our place as a convenor of collaborative efforts to strengthen the education system.
At the centre of our work remained our vision of changing the lives of learners through quality and innovative mathematics and science education.
Then the reality of COVID19 hit. Without re-living this painful year that we are trying to move past, some themes emerged; gratitude, resilience and grit.
Underpinning these was the work we had done to prepare for our next phase of organisational growth and development. We had resolved to grow our partnership network, involve ourselves in sector strengthening efforts such as NASCEE, position ourselves and our thinking to take on more research and evaluation work, and consolidate our approach based on evidence of what works in education devleopment.
This is usually the time of year when we thank all our supporters that enabled us to continue with our work. This year we do so again but in particular to thank our funders and supporters for recognising the really challenging realities facing the social change sector. They consulted continously, tried to be flexible, allowed for novel solutions. Yes, sometimes we had difficult conversations about contracts, budgets and deliverables, but always with a view of the future and with an openness to listen. In offering gratitude we must also consider that we have survived where others have not. We also spare a thought for those who have succumbed during the pandemic.
It is really quite hard to believe that just over 9 months have passed since the world changed. If nothing has been clearer, it is the capacity of individuals and organisations to bounce back. And in bouncing back to come to a new place of understanding, to have acquired new insights, new skills and new ways of working. The CASME team, schools, teachers and learners we work with have demonstrated this capacity over and over. It is this capacity that inspires hope. But if there is one thing that we should cling to, in fact should fight for, is to "Build Back Better", a concept from the Sandai distaster response Framework of 2015. It refers not merely to being better than before but also to be more resilient in the face of future disasters. And this means we must make hard choices, and we must draw on a depth of character to not slide easily back to our old ways. For CASME this means many things, including leveraging technology, continuing our support for teachers in the poorest schools, supporting the system and being willing to learn from evidence.
Lastly, grit, more relevant now than ever when a life-changing event such as the COVID19 pandemic throws obstacles, failures and blockages in our path. Grit is our ability to push through. Grit is also about doing the right thing in the face of those obstacles. For example, when it was convenient to move online, CASME along with many others, recognised that millions of children did not have access and needed a different solution.
We will need to draw on our grit as we navigate the next phase, in order to truly Build Back Better.
We know that you will join us on this exciting new time and journey.
We encourage you to follow our social accounts (Facebook, Twitter) to stay in touch with the day to day interactions and support that the CASME team deliver. The team's tireless efforts cannot go unrecognised. They are the heart of all that we do.
Please note that our office will re-open on 6 January 2021. We look forward to connecting with you during the course of the new year and wishing you all the best for a restful festive season with family and loved ones.
In the meantime, enjoy the collage below from the year that was 2020 (!)
Yours in education
The CASME Team