NMMU reaches out to rural schools

2017-04-26 06:01
At the back, from left, are Dr Muki Moeng (NMMU Executive Dean of the Education Faculty), Busisiwe Sidumo-Gqwetha (Batandwa Ndondo SSS principal), Loyiso Dingiswayo (Ngcobo Education District Circuit Manager), Sakhisizwe Nkwana (Batandwa Ndondo teacher) and Raymond Khayanda and, in front, from left, are Dr Sibongile Muthwa (NMMU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Iinstitutional Support), Dr Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela (iKamvelihle Development Trust founder) and Lebogang Hashatse (Senior Director: Communication and Stakeholder Liaison). Photo:SUPPLIED

At the back, from left, are Dr Muki Moeng (NMMU Executive Dean of the Education Faculty), Busisiwe Sidumo-Gqwetha (Batandwa Ndondo SSS principal), Loyiso Dingiswayo (Ngcobo Education District Circuit Manager), Sakhisizwe Nkwana (Batandwa Ndondo teacher) and Raymond Khayanda and, in front, from left, are Dr Sibongile Muthwa (NMMU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Iinstitutional Support), Dr Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela (iKamvelihle Development Trust founder) and Lebogang Hashatse (Senior Director: Communication and Stakeholder Liaison). Photo:SUPPLIED

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A LONG-TERM partnership aimed at addressing the myriad of educational challenges largely affecting rural Eastern Cape schools was rubber stamped, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the iKamvelihle Development Trust (iKDT) on Friday.

The signing of the MOU is the culmination of a year-long engagement between the University, the iKDT and the Cala schools, during which various challenges were identified and possible solutions mapped.

The partnership, which is a long-term one aimed at adequately capacitating and improving conditions at rural schools with a broader objective of diversifying the University’s feeder schools, will lend support to teachers and pupils of schools in the Chris Hani District Municipality as well as their immediate communities.

The project started with an initial 10 high schools and their feeder primary schools and will ultimately be rolled out to all schools in the district and beyond.

Having identified a multitude of community and school-specific challenges that include poverty, lack of adequate infrastructure and a lack of exposure due to geographical location, an interdisciplinary team from the University has gone into the area in a bid to map out possible solutions to address the problems.

Speaking at the memorandum signing at the University on Friday, iKDT founder Dr Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela said the project was about education and development, targeted at improving the lives of about 5 000 pupils in Cala and its surrounding areas in the initial phase.

“We started with 10 schools within the Chris Hani District Municipality, with the hope of expanding to all schools in the district,” she said. “Because we are a national project, we are going to go to other rural areas around the country that have the same challenges.”

Msengana-Ndlela spoke about how, in post-apartheid South Africa, the education system had “a dual character of privilege and poverty.”

“Teachers and learners from these areas are left to fend for themselves in a vicious cycle of generational poverty. This is a cycle that they intend to break with the support of partner organisations such as NMMU and responsible corporate citizens, whose resolve is to support government to invest in human capital development and to participate in the restoration of communities and contribute to a better world,” she said.

To support the initiative, NMMU has thus far involved its Education and Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology (EBEIT) and Science Faculties, as well as Admissions, Student Counselling and Career Development, Unako Community-based Movement and Communication and Stakeholder Liaison through various interventions.

The Education Faculty is lending support to Foundation Phase teaching as well as envisaging and working towards the ideal school through the Centre for Community Schools, while the EBEIT Faculty will assist with the establishment of a community ICT Centre to train and empower teachers and community members as well emphasise the value of having ICT facilities at schools.

The Science Faculty’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Unit (GMMDU) will assist with maths and science education through the use of modern technologies and Communication and Stakeholder Liaison – under which student recruitment falls – to help with the provision of career and study choice information through annual exhibitions.

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