The ongoing challenges faced by the education sector in South Africa, and across the continent, have precipitated the need for even greater collaboration and synergy between the private and public sectors to address existing issues, including employability and access to new learning platforms and technologies. Monash South Africa (MSA), has been actively involved in various education related community engagement initiatives over the past decade and has stepped up its efforts further by collaborating with Partners for Possibility to facilitate a learning partnership with a local school.
Gauteng’s MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi initiated a 66 Schools Programme with Partners for Possibility and has identified 66 under-resourced schools in Johannesburg where the programme will be run. This programme seeks to empower principals to act as change leaders both in their schools and communities by facilitating cross-sectoral reciprocal partnerships between business, government and the social sector. Monash South Africa is well placed to enter into such a partnership, as the institution is a leading facilitator of academic excellence and strong student outcomes. The institution for higher education has committed to mentor West Rand School, one of the 66 schools identified by the MEC.
“Education is a basic human right and every child, regardless of their background or circumstances, deserves to be given the opportunity to grow into fulfilled, productive members of our society. When communities thrive, nations prosper, and we consider it a great honour and a privilege to enter into a partnership with Partners for Possibility and the 66 Schools Programme. It is through education initiatives such as these that South Africa is able drive development. Academic excellence within the context of social development is something we are passionate about and this is something we hope to inspire and encourage through our work at West Rand School,” says Monash South Africa’s Academic President, Professor Alwyn Louw.
Quality Education for All
In order to achieve Partners for Possibility’s bold goal of quality education for all of South Africa’s children by 2022, the programme in conjunction with Government leaders and businesses seeks to bring about positive change in under-resourced schools at four distinct levels:
- School principals are inspired to lead with confidence
- Business leaders assist principals to develop school management structures into strong and cohesive teams
- Teachers are encouraged to re-engage with their schools as a result of the combined efforts of the principals and business leaders
- The parents and greater community are invited to be agents of change.
“Monash South Africa features a strongly actioned ethos of developing skills that students can learn through community projects; developing employability; and building students into valuable and dynamic members of their community. Our goals are truly aligned with those of the MEC and Partners for Possibility, and we believe that through our partnership and continued collaboration we can bring about social cohesion and improved education for all the stakeholders in our community,” stresses Louw.
While the partnership agreement between Monash South Africa and Partners for Possibility will build the leadership qualities in school principals and their management team, the MSA leaders assisting the school also embark on a leadership development journey of their own. A nine-tiered process is undertaken by all partners involved during which time a cross-sectional process of discovery unfolds as a result of journaling, preparing a portfolio of evidence and engaging with a community unfamiliar to the participants.
Agents of Change
Together, school principals and business leaders can act as agents of change to address the education crisis confronted by so many of South Africa’s under-resourced schools. Together, Monash South Africa and Partners for Possibility can ensure the children of West Rand School can enjoy brighter futures.