CEO of Kagiso Trust, Mr Kgotso Schoeman
Chairman of Shanduka Group, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa
Free State MEC for Education, Mr Tate Makgoe
I thank you for affording us the joy and sense of fulfilment by way of this important signing ceremony.
For me this moment says education is indeed becoming a societal issue. Truly we’re not too far from overcoming barriers to quality education and improved outcomes required by the National Development Plan.
This Memorandum of Understanding, between Kagiso Trust, Shanduka Foundation and the Free State Department of Education, is a vital cog in the basic education transformation machine.
This unity in action, that defies boundaries and rivalry for turf, is a continuation of a long journey whose direction our people had determined in June 1955, in the Freedom Charter.
We said then that “The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened.” That was two years after the introduction of the Bantu Education Act which had condemned the African people to a bad education of an inferior quality, under conditions of racial segregation and inequalities in service provision.
Like the Nedlac Accord on Basic Education, this partnership recognises that we will succeed to open “the doors of learning” to the extent that we all play a role in education transformation.
We welcome this essential partnership confident that you will take South African education more than two steps forward. The parties to this agreement have done much for education transformation. So has our education team in the Free State.
The Shanduka Adopt-a-School Foundation has played a pivotal role in support of quality schooling. It has mobilised many companies and individuals in the quest for improved outcomes.
Under its school adoption programme, Shanduka has around 170 schools. It has built over 265 school facilities, created over 3 500 temporary jobs and benefited over 240 small and medium-sized businesses. Kagiso Trust is also known for its distinguished work in education.
Kagiso Trust’s Beyers Naude Schools Development Programme (BNSDP) involves 167 schools in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District, in the Free State. This initiative, that’s implemented in partnership with our provincial department, promises more rewards precisely because it prioritizes whole school support programmes.
It goes to the root of our key challenges by seeking to impact on quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. Among other things, it supports teachers and principals. This we welcome since teacher development is one of our key priorities that we drive with the Department of Higher Education.
All eight schools that received fully equipped science laboratories, computer centres and refurbished libraries from Kagiso Trust through this programme reached a matric pass rate target of 75% in 2011. The BNSDP set a benchmark of 80% for the 2012 matric results and achieved 81.3%.
An investment in education is an investment in the future. It’s an investment that’s requisite for building schools and a country that works. Your focus on infrastructure is most welcome.
When we launched the National Schools Build Programme in December 2012, we said ‘infrastructure is central to the attainment of good quality education outcomes.’
A shared country perspective on education will advance the production of knowledge and skills critical for economic and social development.
We have made great strides in education and partnerships have contributed tremendously. School attendance is close to 100% for the basic compulsory band, in the 7-15 year age-range. This should be reinforced with quality outcomes.
Between 2002 and now the percentage of publicly employed educators with at least a three-year post-matric qualification has increased from 80% to 96%.
The curriculum has become clearer and more relevant. We’ve given serious attention to setting clearer standards and monitoring schools through standardised assessments, culminating in the new Annual National Assessments (ANA).
We have our challenges though, thus the importance of mutual partnerships. The results of ANA 2012 confirmed that a number of factors are at play in the education system, including our demographic and historical realities.
I trust that this partnership will enrich our work in this make-or-break matter of reviving the culture of teaching and learning. A national education partnership structure will be launched this year to coordinate and maximise our collective efforts in creating schools that work.
In the same indomitable spirit of Kagiso Trust’s Bold Step, this initiative will encourage the nation to take a bold step and get actively involved in changing the face of education.
On our part, working with provinces and districts, we will ensure that teachers teach every day, that learners have and use textbooks and workbooks, that the curriculum is covered, that learners have transport and lunch and that they are screened and supported where they need additional support.
We wish you well in 2013, the third year of your education initiative in the Free State, and Kagiso Trust’s first year of implementation with the Shanduka Foundation.
I’m glad our MEC did not misrepresent us. Kagiso tells me it really benefitted from your diligence and leadership.
Together we have shown that nothing is impossible. But change will not descend like a deux ex machina in some work of short fiction, or like god from the machine.
As we’ve learnt from Aristotle, “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.” With sustained action, effort and perseverance, we will bring forth an enlightened, skilled and prosperous nation we all aspire for. Working together we can do more.
I thank you.