Verulam’s Acacia Primary strikes gold

2014-06-04 00:00

ACACIA Primary School near Verulam won gold at the Service Excellence Awards 2013 at a function celebrating excellence in the implementation of the Batho Pele principles in the provincial Department of Education.

Winner of the top award at yesterday’s ceremony held at Sibaya Casino, Acacia Primary services the communities of Amoatana, Thandanani, Trenance Park and surrounding areas west of Verulam.

“We call our school the ‘house of hope’ and the ‘house of light’ for the pupils, parents and families of the communities,” said principal Vis­nathan Govender.

“We believe that we are the servants of the community and provide the most powerful ammunition to eradicate poverty and social vices.”

Govender said it was only with the “unconditional application” of the 11 Batho Pele principles “that the disadvantaged community would not be disadvantaged any more”.

Acacia Primary has 1 039 pupils and 30 teachers — 25 state paid and five paid by the school governing body.

Giving the keynote address during the awards ceremony provincial MEC for education, Peggy Nkonyeni, said her department had adopted the Batho Pele principles of “honesty, caring, empathy, professionalism, integrity, fairness, excellence, trust and selflessness”.

Nkonyeni said Batho Pele was about putting people first in the public service.

“In this province there are 90 000 teachers in 6 248 schools who get up every morning and work hard to make sure young people get the quality of education they deserve.”

Outlining her department’s action plan for 2014 Nkonyeni said the intention was to improve the quality of teaching; to provide courageous and effective leadership; to ensure government’s capacity to deliver — “we want to avoid large classes” — and to provide a safe learning environment.

Nkonyeni emphasised the need for community and parental involvement in education — “this is about making education a societal issue”.

“Parents should know what their child is being taught and when,” she said. “Parents must be able to provide feedback to teacher on their child’s learning progress and home and at school.”

The MEC’s special award went to Thembifundo Special School located on the Mbongolowane Reserve near Eshowe which admits pupils with special needs and a variety of disabilities.

Initially Thembifundo Special School was sponsored from Germany in 2002, this sponsorship however ceased in 2009.

From 2011 the school has come under the control of the provincial Education Department.

The silver winners for service excellence were: Brookdale Primary, Phoenix; Kamalinee Primary School, Isipingo; Thakazela Primary, Coronation, Vryeid, and Isnembe Secondary School, Tongaat.

The bronze winners were: Vezukukhanya Primary School, Ilembe; Msebe Primary, Nongoma; Ngali Secondary, near Vryheid and Bhanoyi Secondary, near Highflats.

Imisdebe Combined Primary, Umlazi received a certificate of commendation while certificates of participation went to Qiko Higher Primary, Enxolobeni Primary and Deyi Primary in the Ugu district; Zilungisele Primary, Dr. B.W. Vilakazi Higher Primary, KwaDukuza Primary and Dinuphoza Primary in the Ilembe district.

• Stephen.Coan@witness.co.za

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