Two schools in pilot project

2015-12-01 06:00

Two Hout Bay primary schools are part of a new project aimed at quality public schooling in the province.

The project was recently launched by the provincial education department.

Provincial minister of education Debbie Schäfer says this pilot project will test a new model of schooling that brings additional management skills and innovation into the school system through non-profit partnerships that improve the quality of teaching and learning in no-fee schools.

“The pilot is being launched with five schools next year. The pilot will continue for a period of five years subject to the performance of the partners and the schools,” she says.

Participating schoolsThe initial participating schools are Oranjekloof Moravian Primary School in Hout Bay, Silikamva High School in Hout Bay, Eerste River Primary School in Forest Village, Happy Valley Primary School in Blue Downs and Langa High School in Langa.

The initial school partners are Leap Science and Maths School, Mellon Educate and Oceans Education Foundation.

Schäfer says the programme seeks to improve the quality of education at public schools, demonstrate effective models of partnerships in education, strengthen public school governance and accountability, develop teachers and implement interventions aimed at the improvement of the quality of public education for pupils from low-income communities.

Schäfer says her department is committed to partnerships with stakeholders to maximise resources and relevant expertise.

“We were excited when a group of funder and support organisations, including the Millennium Trust, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Ark and DG Murray Trust, approached us to test a different no-fee public school model and assist with financing. Out of this was born a pilot project, which we have called Collaboration Schools,” she says.

These support organisations, called operating partners, will ensure intensive school-level support to teachers and principals through training, additional resources, monitoring and regular feedback.

The education department will continue to play its critical role in overseeing school performance and holding the schools and operating partners accountable as part of the public education system.

While support from the department will be integrated with that provided by the operating partner, with schools continuing to receive funding, infrastructure and services such as transport and nutrition from the government.

Governing bodiesSchools that have chosen to participate in the pilot have agreed that the operating partners will constitute the majority of their governing body. This is crucial for the department to hold the school and operating partner accountable.

All teachers at the participating chools will remain departmental employees and no teacher in any school that chooses to become a collaboration school will be expected or forced to resign from the department.

“I am particularly excited about this project. The donors and partners, recognising the transformative power of education to heal and build South Africa, wish to contribute to improving education outcomes in public schools,” Schäfer says.

She believes that schools will not only benefit financially from these donors but also on a human resource level as both donors and partners are committed to increasing the quality of teaching and learning in the particular school in order to substantially improve the school’s educational outcomes.

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