Chairman of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, Cyril Ramaphosa walked the talk when he took time out of his schedule to go back to school today in support of the Foundation’s pilot Back to School For a Day initiative.
Ramaphosa first issued the call for a national Back to School For a Day at an Adopt-a-School fundraiser in November last year, where he encouraged corporate South Africa and individuals to play a positive role in the basic education of our youth.
On Friday, 4 May, some 16 companies and hundreds of volunteers heeded that call and descended on 51 selected schools around the country to touch the lives of over 25 000 pupils in what is a pilot of the Back to School For a Day initiative.
Ramaphosa elected to visit Tshilidzi Primary, the school he attended as a young boy in Soweto. He addressed Tshilidzi’s Grade 7 learners on the importance of learning and getting an education. Besides being his alma mater, it was a simple request from the Tshilidzi Primary principal many years ago for assistance with a fax machine that ultimately lead Ramaphosa to establish the Adopt-a-School Foundation in 2001.
Run as a project of the Shanduka Foundation, the Adopt-a-School Foundation aims to bring about effective change in education through its Whole School Development model, which involves infrastructure, skills and social development interventions and partnerships between adopters, sponsors, community, government and disadvantaged schools.
Stephen Lebere, executive director of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, was set to visit a number of schools around Gauteng with some of the Foundation’s corporate supporters.
“There is an urgent need for a combined effort from the private sector, NGOs and the public sector to address some of the crippling shortfalls in our education system. This need was recently reiterated by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, at a conference for Mandela Day 2012,” Lebere noted.
Ramaphosa confirmed that the theme for the inaugural Back to School day was the Promotion of Literacy and corporates had committed to covering a broad range of elements in their programmes such as health and nutrition, social skills, career guidance, reading and story-telling.
“The companies and their staff joining us across the country today are truly vested in the education of our children. You can see it and feel it in the way they have embraced this day.
“And when an adult walks into a school to offer their time and resources, the students feel recognised. Going back is about giving back and that is what is important about today,” Ramaphosa commented.
“We hope that in future many South Africans will make the first Friday in May the day that they go back to school to transform the lives of young people through the sharing of time, compassion, skills, knowledge and different resources. This is an opportunity to make a lasting impact on learners, particularly at disadvantaged school,” he added.
Who went back to school?
- Barberton Mines executives and staff are visiting Sibongiseni Primary, the all new school they are currently building in Barberton. The local community, parents, school governing body and learners from surrounding schools will come together to plant trees, clean up the newly built Grade R Facility and enjoy a day of developmental activities.
- Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages staff volunteers are joining Thabo Tona Primary in Katlehong informal settlement, where they will engage in a host of literacy programmes for all grades.
- The Deutsche Bank team are visiting Observatory Girls Primary in Johannesburg, to engage with educators and learners in activities designed to add value to the literacy programmes held at the school. Volunteers are donating puzzles, games and books to the school’s library.
- Digistics, a national multi-temperature warehousing and distribution company, have partnered with the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD), of the University of Johannesburg to visit Emadwaleni Secondary School in Orlando,Soweto to offer support and guidance around subject and career choices and tertiary education options.
- FeverTreeConsulting is donating new books and educational games to Boschkop Primary, a farm school east of Pretoria. Staff volunteers have adopted the theme “If you want to be smart, put reading in your heart” and through carefully structured activities are looking forward to an outcome that celebrates the power of reading and literacy.
- Grindrod staff will be visiting their adopted school, King Shaka High, in Umlazi, KZN, where they will engage in HIV/Aids discussions, career guidance and a talk on the importance of maths, science and accounting.
- The IDC team are donating a furnished Grade R container to Emfundisweni Junior Primary in Alexandra and will spend time practicing reading and writing skills with the learners.
- Kangra Coal’s staff and executive team will be visiting their adopted School, Vukubone High School in Mpumalanga to share career guidance for the mining industry, engage in motivational and leadership activities for the learners and donate clothing and jersy’s to keep the learner’s warm this coming winter.
- Lafarge Education Trust has engaged board members, trustees, directors and staff to go back to a number of their adopted schools inNorth West and KZN. In the Bodibe community in North West they are visiting four schools to engage in environmental literacy activities, literacy games, career guidance and life orientation workshops. Following the morning’s activities, Lafarge are hosting a community awards ceremony, honouring those who have achieved and shown strong commitment to improving education in their community. In their adopted schools in Mzimela, KZN staff and trustees have committed to improving literacy through reading and educator support.
- Lonmin, in the spirit of supporting critical focus areas in basic education, will be providing workshops and donating technology kits to 28 schools. Local students from the Technical Preparedness Programme, will join Lonmin in going Back to School to do technology experiments with each school. Reading books will be supplied to foundation phase educators and all Technology and English educators will be trained on materials supplied.
- MacSteel’s team of professionals have joined Moses MorenTechnicalSchool in Eikenhof, to share their valuable knowledge and skills of the steel industry and to provide essential advice on how to pursue careers in the technical sector.
- Merrill Lynch is celebrating their commitment to improving literacy at Elethu Themba Combined School in Eikenhof, through planned activities to engage learners in a fun and meaningful way. Educational games will delight the younger learners, while high school learners will benefit from career guidance and CV writing skills. LifeLine will provide talks on drug abuse and depression.
- OMD staff volunteers are visiting Fairsands Primary, in Sandringham,Johannesburg to engage with learners and educators on literacy upskilling across all levels.
- Sasria staff and partners are giving of their time to motivate, guide and assist learners in making essential career choices at Lodirile High School in Swaneville.
- Shanduka Coal staff are going back to school at Mkhathini Intermediate to get their hands dirty as they get stuck into improving basic conditions at the school.
- Shanduka Group and Shanduka Foundation Staff will be assisting the various companies in this pilot programme, sharing their experiences and volunteering their time and resources where it is needed.
- Werksmans Attorneys are dedicating their time and resources to Igugu Primary School in Soweto, where staff will give the library a mini makeover and assist in improving conditions in and around the school where required.
- Xstrata volunteers are visiting Mochochonono Primary in Pimville,Soweto, to engage in stimulating games and activities with the youngest learners and creative arts and gardening activities with the older learners to decorate their school’s exterior.