What is IACESA?

IACESA is the first and leading professional organization in Southern Africa devoted to the development and support of a diverse Southern African community of successful and responsible ‘conceptual age’ thinkers.

It is a Non Profit Company (NPC) funded by annual membership subscription fees with a membership spread through Southern Africa, including educational leaders.

As a regional network, it attempts to address concerns  regarding cognitive education at a local level, but maintains links with the International Association of Cognitive Education and Psychology (IACEP), with Cognitive Education units at more than one university and with various international initiatives to ‘teach thinking’.

What is IACESA’s Mission?

IACESA’s mission is to influence education, thinking and learning of individuals at all levels, ages and stages of development. In order to achieve this, IACESA:

  • disseminates reliable and theoretically sound information to schools, teachers, other professionals, parents and the general public about international and local initiatives already in existence that are known to improve the quality of thinking and learning;
  • encourages and supports the creation, implementation and systematic research of new, uniquely, South African and contextually relevant approaches (and processes) for the enhancement of thinking and learning;
  • promotes research that investigates the effectiveness of both international and local initiatives to improve the quality of thinking and learning and disseminates the research findings;
  • provides consultation required by schools, teachers, other professionals and the general public to advance cognitive education and enable individuals to skillfully and mindfully apply cognitive tools when confronted with problems and challenges in their respective contexts;
  • supports the continuing professional development of teachers and other professionals in the field of cognitive education; and
  • Promotes networking and the exchange of ideas about how to enhance thinking and learning, both within and as an adjunct to, the National Curriculum.


What is IACESA’s Vision?

IACESA’s vision is to make an influential contribution to the development and support of a diverse Southern African community of successful and responsible ‘conceptual age’ thinkers.

Successful and responsible thinkers learn independently, have the ‘kind of minds’ and abilities to design their own future, flourish in ever-changing circumstances and make creative contributions to the quality and democratic functioning of their contexts.


IACESA’s vision and mission will be achieved inter alia by:

  • Close collaboration with The Cognitive Education Research Group at NWU.
  • Cog-Ed Seminars
  • News Updates
  • Conferences
  • IACESA website
  • Publications (articles, books, pamphlets, etc)
  • Support for regional interest groups
  • Networking and collaboration with relevant institutions or organizations



There are five kinds of minds that we should cultivate in the future. Three of these minds are primarily cognitive:  the disciplined mind, the synthesizing and the creating mind. The other two minds deal with the human sphere: the respectful mind and the ethical mind. None of these minds is exclusive to the future but their individual and joint cultivation requires particular urgency at the present time.

(Gardner, 2007)


What is the history of IACESA?

IACESA has been active for nearly 21 years, but where and when did it all start?

In efforts to modernize education and training in Southern Africa different cognitive approaches were imported from the late 1970’s by individuals, NGO’s, Universities, Technikons, business and commerce. Over time, a need arose to unpack the underlying theories and belief systems of different and often complementary cognitive education approaches.  This made it possible to compare and assess different intervention strategies and to select and adapt programmes most likely to be effective with different target groups in Southern Africa.  As the same time it was important to make information about developments in cognitive education (the active mediation of thinking skills and dispositions) available to a growing number of users and potential users.  It was also necessary to acquire a collective voice to influence educational reform in the democratic transformation taking place in South Africa.  The International Association for Cognitive Education in Southern Africa (IACESA) was established at an inaugural conference at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1994 with 100 foundation members.

Prof. Mervyn Skuy was the first President of IACESA.


What is in the IACESA constitution?

Constitution revised February 2015