March 6, 2019 is a day that will forever be etched on the minds of the community in the Sekhukhune area in Limpopo.
On that day, the Kagiso Trust launched an ambitious project aimed at changing the lives of the pupils at various schools in the Sekhukhune East district.
The district, which boasts 444 schools, is one of the poorly-performing in the province in terms of matric results.
About 10,000 pupils from 151 secondary schools from the district wrote matric last year returning a 60% mark – making it the lowest-performing district in the province.
But this look set to change, thanks to the Beyers Naudé Schools Development Programme (BNSDP) launched by Kagiso Trust, in partnership with the Limpopo department of education, on that special day.
Speaker after speaker during the four-hour glittering function at the modest Sehlaku Secondary School in Driekop, Burgersfort, spoke about the positive impact the project will have in the lives of the learners.
The function was attended by education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe, provincial government officials, Kagiso Trust officials, trustees, local chiefs, among other dignitaries.
The Kagiso Trust is one of SA’s leading development agencies with the mandate to overcome poverty through creating sustainable development programmes.
Speaking at the launch, Kagiso Trust chief executive officer Mankodi Moitse said cultivating partnerships with the Limpopo department was key to achieving the strategic growth and the advancement of the province’s education system.
“We hope that this can also be a learning curve for our combined stakeholders,” Moitse told the audience.
The programme was piloted in 2004 with just one school at the Vhembe district in the Far North.
The initiative was also piloted in Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.
The BNSDP was rolled out in the Free State, in conjunction with provincial department of education where 166 schools in Thabo Mofutsanyana district benefitted from the partnership.
The success of the programme in the Free State has led to the expansion into the Riba Cross District [Sekhukhune East].
The Kagiso Trust aims to bring a comprehensive and tailored programme that will address the challenges rural schools are facing in SA.
The programme provides infrastructure and builds the instructional leadership and curriculum capacity at schools. It is also aimed at improving learner outcomes and the functioning of the educational system at district level.
Key areas of focus for the programme is to foster community participation and
buy-in from local schools.
Kagiso Trust trustee Dean Zwoitwaho Nevhutalu said they hope that the BNSDP will bring about positive changes at all the schools in the district.
“We all know that this district is doing very poorly [with matric results] and we hope that with the buy-in and participation of the stakeholders, we are going to see a radical change,” Nevhutalu said.