STRATEGIES FOR STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIPS

On the 8th of October, the Axium team at Amajingqi hosted an event with senior members of the Provincial Education Department, in order to share the work Axium is doing through the Partnership Schools Project (PSP), the first of its kind in the Eastern Cape. The event provided an opportunity for members of the Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECDoE) to hear from the people involved on the ground about the positive impact of this programme.


On the day, we heard from various people involved in the Partnership: Chief Dumalisile, who initiated this project in 2018, as well as principals, teachers and learners from the different schools Axium works in.

One of the stand out speakers on the day was Grade 11 learner and RCL president Emihle Ntsinde. We have shared her speech below:


“At an early age I thought that education was preparing us for life but truth is, education is life.


Standing before you is Emihle Ntsinde, I am a learner at Dumalisile Comprehensive High School and also the RCL president of the school.


It’s a great privilege for me to be standing here today to talk about the great impact that Axium Education has had on our school. Having the Axium team by our side is considered to be one of the greatest blessings that a school could wish for. The support they give to us is more than enough.


Firstly, the school has a very good view, even outside which shows that it’s being taken care of. You can tell just passing by that it’s well taken care of. As learners we never worry about our safety inside the premises because there is good infrastructure.


We know that a few months back we were facing a pandemic as a country. Everything had stopped, even education. But because we are blessed with this hardworking team, we never suffered many consequences of the lockdown. School and learning were offered online so we could keep up with our school work. And not only did it help with that but it also helped with keeping us away from misbehaving and stressing out. They even went as far as providing us with cell phones as it hit them that most of us could not afford them due to circumstances at home. The tutors that were hired have been nothing but good to us and an impressive job they have done. At school we have been facing a loss of teachers. But there was never a long period of time that we would stay without being taught that subject. Because the matter would be immediately taken into consideration and acted upon.


Not only are they pushing us to study, they are also interested in what we want to study in FETs. Here I’m speaking of career exhibitions that have been held at school. Those career exhibitions helped us in exploring different career fields and seeing our opportunities. There is also a programme whereby they assist the learners in matric with applying to higher institutions.


The support system we are offered also consist of a group of social workers who directly interact with the learners and regularly check up on them. Especially those in grade 12. Their work includes checking up on who has uniforms, finding out who are the disadvantaged learners and providing food parcels. These are particularly our pillars of strength, support system and providers.


Your impact in our lives is stronger than you think, the advice you give has made a difference for us. You are not insignificant and shall therefore never be forgotten. I thank you.”

The work that Emihle describes are the strategies and interventions our team have been working so hard on this year: online learning, career applications, social support and safety in schools. While we feel that these are important, it is hugely valuable to hear that learners are actually experiencing this support and that it’s making a difference.


Themba Kojana, Head of the Eastern Cape Education Department commented on the value he could see in this partnership, “This partnership looks into education as a community. It does not look at education only as teachers or principals of schools...but it involves the entire community. Remember that it takes a village to raise a child. That is what the elements of this Public Schools Partnership talk to.”


We are hopeful that the value of the work, described so thoughtfully by Emihle, is being seen by important role players, and is setting us up for strengthened partnerships at District and Provincial level in the future.

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