AMAJINGQI PSP, WILLOWVALE
“It’s a myth that a child from a city is better than a child from the rural community. What makes that child better is the exposure, the kind of environment within which education is taking place. Give a child from a rural set up an environment that is conducive to learning in every aspect – I tell you, you’ll see!”
- Chief Ngwenyathi Dumalisile, Amajingqi Royal Council
PUBLIC SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP PROJECT
Public School Partnerships (PSP) embrace a collaborative approach to public school innovation by connecting government, private sector funders, non-profit operating partners and no-fee schools with the aim of improving learner outcomes. The aim is to pioneer strategies that can bridge the divide in South African public education.
As part of a PSP, a non-profit school support organisation provides additional resources and capacity to improve leadership, management and teaching quality at a no-fee school. Funders support this work, while the organisation remains accountable to the school, parents and government partners.
In 2018, Axium Education was selected as operating partner for a new four-year Eastern Cape PSP project. This is the first time this approach is being piloted in a rural education context. We are partnered with private sector funders, the Eastern Cape Department of Education, the Amajingqi Royal Council, and 8 schools in the region.
We aim to substantially improve the learning of children growing up in this community over the course of four years. We draw on the uChicago Consortium for School Research’s conceptualisation of the “5 Essential Support” adapted by local research to suit the rural South African context. This research shows that the 5 hallmarks of a great school include effective leaders, involved families, collaborative teachers, a supportive environment, and ambitious teaching - offering a framework for setting our goals.
COLLABORATING FOR CHANGE
Axium conducted a baseline assessment with the 8 schools in June of 2017. It revealed that 1% of children in Grades 1-4 at the Amajingqi school group were reading at Grade Level in their home language, while 38% could not read a single word from a passage of text. None of these children were considered “competent” on the Early Grade Mathematics Assessment, with 62% rated as functionally innumerate for their grade.
At the senior level, Dumalisile Comprehensive High School achieved a 33% Grade 12 pass rate in 2017, with only four subject distinctions (3 x isiXhosa, 1 x geography) from the school.
Starting out, our Year One improvement goals include,
Goal 1: To develop the capacity of leadership structures at schools, particularly with regards financial management.
Goal 2: To develop the capacity of teachers in schools, in particular for mathematics, isiXhosa and English.
Goal 3: To add teaching capacity to schools in critical subjects and grades.
Goal 4: To ensure basic school infrastructure (including libraries) at all schools, where there is capacity to manage this.
Goal 5: To ensure all schools have critical resources for teaching and learning.
8 Schools under the Eastern Cape Department of Basic Education
school operating partner
Parents and Royal Council
Links to content about PSPs and the Amajingqi Project:
Public School Partnerships: healthy scepticism, yes, paralysing fear, no.
The Public School Partnership pilot: is it worth it? Let parents decide.
AXIUM PSP Schools as spaces of potential.