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Hard work pays off: Top achieving Free State Schools receive top-notch facilities

Thabo Mohlala

Three schools based in the Fezile Dabi district in the Free State yesterday scored big following their good performance in the 2017 grade 12 results. They have each been rewarded with renovated science and computer laboratories.

This is part of the “Incentivised Infrastructure Award”, a partnership between Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST) and the Free State Department of Education (FSDoE). Recipients of the awards are schools that have attained or exceeded 90% pass rate benchmark.

The three schools are Matlwangtlwang Secondary School in Steynruss, Konanelo Secondary School in Kroonstad and Bodibeng Secondary School, also based in Kroonstad.

Free State education MEC, Tate Makgoe, recently heaped praise on the Fezile Dabi as one of the districts that have contributed more passes which catapulted the province to the number one spot nationally.

Michael Phutsisi and Thabiso Ratsomo, representing FSDoE and KST respectively, unveiled the facilities.

KST’s communications head, Nontando Mthethwa, said in the media release that the three schools received the award based on the class of 2015’s academic performance.

Mthethwa said the initiative is part of the KST’s District Whole Schools Development Programme (DWSDP) which is being implemented in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts in the Free State province.

A distinctive feature of the programme is the development of schools’ infrastructure to motivate learners and teachers to produce good academic results. The awards are preceded by a thorough school’s needs analysis and the outcome of the analysis will determine what infrastructure facility the school will get.

These include classrooms, administration and ablution blocks, libraries, Grade R facilities, kitchen and eating area. Lack of proper and decent infrastructure in most rural based schools has been highlighted as one of the key contributory factors to poor learner performance.

The other key component of the programme is its emphasis on the active role of parents and communities in which the schools are based. Communities and parents are encouraged and empowered to help secure and maintain the schools infrastructure as well as combat vandalism and theft.

“We encourage community members to protect this infrastructure so that generations to come can also benefit from it. The matric class of 2015 performed well and as a result the class of 2018 are benefiting from the fruits of their hard work, it is now in the hands of the class of 2018 to work hard and leave a legacy for other learners,” said Phutsisi.

The collaboration between KST and FSDoE is heralded as the best model of leveraging public-private partnerships aimed at identifying key projects that can drive the transformation of the education system as well as improve the culture of teaching and learning.

Phutsisi said their partnership with KST has so far yielded positive outcomes such as delivering basic school infrastructure in both Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts. He said they were also able to provide a holistic and integrated programme geared towards improving performance, adding this is what is contributed to making the Free State as the leading province in the matric results.

“We hope that learners, parents and community members will find value in the investment in education and continue to support learners.” concluded Mthethwa.

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