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The Ministry of Basic Education and South Africa’s top business leaders engaged with President Zuma to receive feedback on the National Education Collaboration Trust’s progress in its efforts to urgently and significantly assist government in its efforts to reform education in South Africa. The discussion also covered the significant level of funding already raised to this end by the private sector which has been matched by government –  and a reminder that their target is R500 million per annum.

At a lunch briefing at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Friday morning, 22 August, President Jacob Zuma, the Minister of Basic Education and several other cabinet members met with some of Business Leadership South Africa’s (BLSA’s) key players, for feedback and dialogue on the progress of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT). The President thanked big business for committing to the Education Collaboration Framework (ECF) and its implementation via the NECT. He also applauded the private-sector funding already pledged to the project – BLSA has agreed to commit 0.004% of their member companies’ market capitalisation annually, over three years, to the first phase of the NECT, rising to 0.008% as the programme rolls out nationally. Government is matching this funding rand for rand. Unions and NGOs are enthusiastically supportive. It’s effectively an educational Codesa.

Zuma stressed that multi-stakeholder engagement was crucial to the NECT’s chances of success – while government is primarily responsible for managing the educational process, he conceded that the NECT, an independent trust managed jointly by a diverse, representative group of trustees was in a good position to give the Department of Basic Education the help it needs to fast track the rehabilitation process.

As a pilot programme to implement Chapter 9 of the National Development Plan (NDP), the aim is undeniably ambitious: to transform South Africa’s basic education system to the point where 90% of learners are achieving pass marks above 50% in language, core mathematics and science. The achievement of these goals will take a collaborative effort across society, which is why the NECT is based on dialogue and consensus between all stakeholders – government, business, teacher unions, NGOs, community, traditional and religious leadership, and parents (through school governing bodies). By collaborating on planning and implementation, each will contribute to overhauling the education environment and the quality of teaching and learning within their own areas of competence toward an agreed plan.

In the meeting it was discussed how these different competencies are already operating in the eight districts – comprising of  4 362 schools (18% of the national total) – in which the project is being rolled out first. The ECF identified six discernible themes for action by the NECT: teacher professionalisation, courageous leadership, improving state capacity to deliver quality education, improving school resourcing, parent and community involvement and learner welfare. By tackling each theme with practical, implementable programmes and securing the buy-in of teachers, government, business and civil society, the NECT has already proved itself more than a talk-shop.

There was healthy and frank discussion between business and government with the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, reiterating the fact that the NECT has made huge strides in mobilising the private sector, as well as society and labour unions to take part in improving the quality of education in South Africa. 

President Zuma called on all the MECs and Ministers present to report back to him about what they have done to support the NECT in practical and tangible ways.  However, he also urged the assembled business leaders to continue BLSA’s drive to secure more committed funding. BLSA has set itself and its members a target of R200-R300 million in the initial, three-year phase of the NECT – funding that will be matched by government.  The NECT is managed and lead by an independent team of educationalists acting as a monitoring and evaluation board, to ensure that spending on interventions and training is as cost-effective as possible. This structure has boosted business confidence in the enterprise.

The bottom line, according to the President, is that fixing South Africa’s basic education system cannot be dismissed as “the government’s problem” by any serious business. This isn’t a case of feel-good gestures or the easing of social consciences – it’s an economic necessity. It is the centrepiece of the NDP. “We cannot grow the economy, or hope to provide economic opportunity to all our citizens, without radical improvement in the quality of education. Funding the NECT may count as corporate social investment, but it is really an investment in long-term business sustainability and economic stability.”


2014 SADC Essay Competition

2014 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secondary Schools Essay Competition

The Department of Basic Education wishes to urge all Secondary School learners to be a part of the annual SADC (Southern African Development Community) Secondary Schools Essay Competition.

Now in its 16th year the SADC Secondary Schools Essay Competition brings to the fore the undoubted talents of some of South Africa’s most gifted young writers, their ability to express themselves, their thoughts and views.

The topic of this year’s essay is:


“Climate Change is having adverse effect on socio-economic development in the Region. What should the Education Sector do to mitigate the impact on the youth?”

Learners are expected to write an essay, focusing on the below guidelines explaining aspects of the theme.

Learners are expected to:  

  • Explain the causes of global warming and how a change of one or two degrees in global average temperatures can have an impact on our lives? (10 marks)
  • Discuss the effects of global warming and climate change on the socio-economic development in the SADC region? (20 Marks)
  • What are the main challenges in addressing the effects of global warming and climate change? Is it too late to do anything about climate change? (20 Marks)
  • What should the SADC Education Sector do to mitigate the impact of climate change on the youth? (25 Marks)

The three selected essays from each Province will be forwarded to the Department of Basic Education by 15 April 2014.


The SADC Secretariat has allocated a sum of US $ 1000 as prize money for the national winners of the competition in each Member State. The prize money will be divided as follows:

  • US $ 500 for the first prize
  • US $ 300 for the second prize
  • US $ 200 for the third prize

Each candidate will receive the equivalent of the prize money in Rands.


The three national winning essays will be forwarded to the SADC Secretariat for consideration in the regional competition


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Applicants must reside in South Africa,
  • Applicants must be currently attending secondary school,
  • Essays must not be more than 2000 words but not less than 1000 (Ariel 1.5 line spacing for typed essays),
  • Submissions must be the unaided work of applicants,
  • Submissions should be in English,
  • The name of entrants should be the same as those that appear on the Identification Document (ID) or Passport,
  • Applicants must be willing and fit to travel.

To submit an entry:

All entries should be submitted to the nearest District or Provincial Coordinator on a date set at the Provincial Level. National Closing date: 11 April 2014


Provincial Contacts: SADC Secondary School Essay Competition 




Mr RH Takalo


015 291 1689

079 495 5895

Mr H Moeletsi


013 766 0929

084 504 4132

Mr T Kubheka

Kwazulu Natal

083 320 9369

Dr Myburgh

North West

018 387 0308/3160/0850

Mrs K Babope


011 355 0385

083 234 5568

Ms F van Gensen

N Cape

053 839 6420

Mr J Matsaneng

Free state

051 404 8612

082 303 1273

Fax: 086 535 2803

Ms F Haffejee

Ms k Angier

Western Cape

021 467-2630

074 954 9083

021 467 2251

072 565 8804

Ms S Nolundi

Eastern Cape

040 608 4489

083 324 4417


Competition Resources
Copyright: Department of Basic Education 2014