A Message From Principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner, December 2018

Shalom Kehilla

At this year’s end-of-year assemblies, I told the students of the story Mr Sakurada, the Cyber Security Minister in Japan. According to The Economist, this very successful businessman has become the overseer of the digital, online and infrastructure security of Japan. When asked by a parliamentary committee about his familiarity with cyber security matters, he admitted that “I myself am not that familiar.”

As someone who says that “I never touch my computer myself” and says that “I’ve never felt any inconvenience from not being able to type by myself,” Mr Sakurada’s position seems a little surprising.

Admittedly, I am conflicted on this story. The subject of amusing commentary in the international press, Mr Sakurada is clearly an impressive business person and manager, whose wider skills and relationships have supported him to gain a very senior role (even if he admitted in the committee that in relation to responding to questions, “my biggest job is to read out written replies without making any mistakes”).

On the other hand, his lack of bespoke skills for the technical aspect of the role – which one would have thought would include the use of a keyboard – have made him the subject of amusing global commentary.

As we approach the summer break, what message can we take away from this story?

Firstly, holidays are an opportunity to explore a broader range of experiences or learn a new skillset. Meeting new people, going to unfamiliar places, learning new skills in a less structured environment – these are all important outcomes of a healthy extended break.

Secondly, this is a good time to consolidate existing skills and experiences. It has been a busy year at school. In the classroom, theatre, sports fields, gymnastics studio and practice room, if we have “seen further”, to quote Isaac Newton, “it is because I have been standing on the shoulders of giants.” We have learnt from the best in Jewish education, in wider education through our engagement with educators from the universities of Melbourne, Monash, Harvard and Swinburne. Our staff have also learnt from the best in Italy’s Reggio Emilia, in Israel and in the United States because consolidating our teachers’ learning is important too.

I hope that in our assemblies our students have reflected on Mr Sakaruda’s experience. It is important to never stop learning, to use the skills and experience of our past but also be hungry for new skills and new experiences, and to thrive in the reality that just as the world never stops spinning, so we as global lifelong learners never stop learning.

Whether you are travelling a long way or staying at home, whether you are spending time with friends or family, and whether you are solidifying old achievements or moving to pastures new, I wish you health, wealth and happiness into the new year and a nesia tova – a good journey.

Jeremy Stowe-Lindner

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