In November last year (2022), Global Independent Schools Association (GISA), was incepted as a pathbreaking international alliance of school organizations for creating a voice of independent schools globally for a positive business and regulatory environment and improving educational outcomes for all. Five major international school companies—Cognita schools, UK, Nord Anglia Education, Inspired Education Group, XCL World Academy, Singapore and GEMS Education, UAE/India are its founding members.
GISA’s Executive Board, which will shape its strategic direction, includes Andrew Fitzmaurice, CEO of Nord Anglia Education; Sunny Varkey, Founder of Gems Education; Nadim Nsouli, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Inspired Education; Frank Maassen; Group CEO of Cognita; Brian Rogove, Group CEO of XCL Education; and Dino Varkey, Group CEO of GEMS Education. The association launched with a call to action to attract members from around the world, whether they are a single classroom private school in a low-income country, a school run by a charity or foundation, or a school operating within a multinational chain.
On March 29, the newly formed Association launched its India chapter in the hope of uniting 340,000 plus independent (private) schools across India in mission of collaboration and coordination to influence nation’s school education. “We are thrilled to announce the launch of GISA in India,” said Francis Joseph, India lead of GISA Global. “With India’s rich history of academic excellence and cultural diversity, independent (private) schools in the country can play a critical role in shaping the next generation of leaders and innovators. The deep knowledge across India’s vast network of independent schools can play an important role in helping to improve global education. It is a key responsibility of private school operators to work together with governments and policy makers in the country”.
For India, GISA agenda will include Government Partnerships & Policy Advocacy, National Education Policy 2020, One Global Voice in Education, International Collaboration in Education Leadership and Collaboration in Best Education Practices.
“This global association seeks to co-ordinate, represent, and give a voice to the global K-12 independent education sector – filling a “representation void” of a sector that educates 350 million children around the world – including 52% of secondary school children in South Asia and 45% of primary school children in Latin America,” said a statement released in New Delhi as part of the launch event. The new body, started, with an urgent call for knowledge sharing between the independent sector and governments to help improve education worldwide. Crucially, GISA hopes to make its voice heard as a valued partner in achieving SDG4: ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality education for all by 2030.
Andrew Fitzmaurice, CEO of Nord Anglia Education and Chairman of the GISA’s Executive Board, said: “Independent schools are often centres of innovation that introduce new methodologies, pedagogic styles, and technologies. GISA members can provide considerable insight and best practice, which can be shared to benefit state and independent schools everywhere. From important areas such as supporting the professional development of teachers to the latest uses of technology in teaching and learning, we can make an even greater impact on education by working together.”
GISA aims to become the “go-to” voice for the independent education sector, showcasing its impact and acting as a resource for the world’s governments and global institutions to tap into, talk to, and lean on in times of crisis. It will provide a forum for the sector to share its vast accumulated knowledge and expertise within the independent sector. At the same time, it aims to work with policymakers and governments worldwide to help raise standards in schools of every background, whether public, independent or third sector.
“I am delighted to represent Nord Anglia Education, India, and join other providers of international education in India to launch the GISA India Chapter”, said Christopher Short, MD Nord Anglia Education India.“GISA gives us an excellent platform to promote the benefits of international schools in India and highlight how we can work alongside the National system to promote high standards and educate the next generation of leaders”, he added.
GISA will enable its members to exchange knowledge, jointly develop resources, and benefit from access to advanced research and reports, as well as innovative workshops and exclusive events. Additionally, the association aims to organise an annual conference where policymakers, sector representatives, non- governmental organisations, and renowned thinkers will come together to engage in high-level discussions on accelerating the achievement of high-quality education for all.