The 25 South African school principals who spent two weeks in China in a study have returned home. The school managers from all provinces accompanied by four officials from the Department of Basic Education have landed safely today.
The principals spent 15 days in Shanghai as part of the Department of Basic Education’s empowerment initiative for school managers in partnership with the government of China through the East China Normal University’s (ECNU) International Centre for Teacher Education.
The principals have been selected from the leadership of the South African Principals’ Association which is an affiliate to the ICP and also due to the DBE’s commitment to support professional associations in the field of leadership and management in line with the National Development Plan (NDP).
All provinces are represented in the delegation.
Professor Peng Liping of the East China Normal University’s International Centre for Teacher Education said that education needs continuous research and exploration that needs exchange of ideas and inspiration. “The seminar on basic education policy and practice for South Africa made it possible for 25 school principals and four officials from the Department of Basic Education to gather together with experts from UNESCO, and scholars from ECNU and fellow principals from secondary and primary schools in China for a mutual discussion and exploration for better solutions for problems we have been confronted with for sharing knowledge and experiences for the improvement of international standing”.
Prof Liping said that the exchanges would certainly assist in the attainment of the objectives of ensuring inclusive and equitable education and life long learning for all.
“Your presence in the seminar and visit to Shanghai has also promoted the bilateral cooperation between China and South Africa and the friendship have enhanced and facilitated more opportunities for our partnership in years to come” he said.
The Director for Education Management and Governance Development at DBE, James Ndlebe, said that the department needed to expose the principals to innovation that can be used to improve school performance irrespective of whether you come from a rural school or suburban schools.
“We talk about discipline, punctuality, respect and the different strategies that can be applied to make schools effective. We were able to identify some other ideas that we can use in our own situations. We have seen how to run successful schools using new approaches, how to create and sustain a culture of excellence in a school,” he said.
On behalf of all the 25 school principals Dr Motsoeneng said that “as a team we are delighted with what we got. The school visits, the lectures and the sharing of ideas have made all of us to want go back home to make our ordinary schools to be extra ordinary schools”.
The visit to China by the DBE officials and school principals is part of the implementation of a country level agreement entered into between China and South Africa more than 6 years ago.
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