The radical social changes that took place in the 1960s and ’70s presented independent schools with many new dilemmas that they brought to Conference.
Religion was high on the agenda in these years because it was generally felt that the faith of the students in member schools was rapidly dwindling. Racial issues were also a regular topic of discussion.
Independent schools that were intent on admitting pupils of all races struggled with legal advisors to determine whether this could be achieved.
As a temporary solution it was decided that applications to Conference schools by people of a different race should always be sent straight to the government authorities so that the refusal to grant a permit would be seen to be the doing of the state and not of the selected school.
Following are some of the developments that the conference saw during this turbulent period:
August 1977 the Conference adopted a resolution ‘declaring it in favour of the removal of all restrictions to the admission of pupils of all races to private schools’. This resolution was sent to the Minister of Education, Dr P J G Koornhof, and the following year a limited number of non-white children entered Conference schools.
The conference created the Association of Private Schools of South Africa (APS) in 1974, to do away with the need for the Standing Committee of the Associated Church Schools and the Natal Private Schools Association.
APS was the forerunner to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), and the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA) thereafter.