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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Gauteng Education School Twinning Initiative Gathers Momentum

Riyaz Patel

In a move to improve learner outcomes and foster social cohesion, the Gauteng Education Department (GDE) has officially launched the twinning of Hoerskool Bastion (Krugersdorp) and Madiba Secondary Schools.

Launched Wednesday, the Twinning Programme is part of the Gauteng Department of Education’s wider strategic framework and its “Re-organisation of Schools” strategy.

Amongst other schools that were paired are Mikateka Primary School (Ivory Park) and Halfway House Primary (Midrand), Unity Secondary (Daveyton) and Wordsworth High School (Benoni).

Through the program, the department pairs suburban and township schools to nurture holistic learner development by creating an environment for cultural exchange through sharing expertise and resources.

The program also ensures that learners are exposed to peers from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, improve equality of access to high-quality education, and strengthen the quality of education delivered compared to global best practice.

“We are proud of the outcomes witnessed from the first phase of the twinning program and grateful for the support received from the four pairs of schools, which opted for Section 17GB status during the pilot phase.

Our greatest respect goes to our first pair of schools, Bovet Primary, and Lyndhurst Primary School. We have witnessed improvements and the schools benefited from our partnership with Honeywell, which exposed their teachers to the Aviation world in America,” said GDE MEC Panyaza Lesufi.

Alexandra Secondary and Sandown High Schools, Cultura Secondary and Zithobeni Secondary Schools, Reiger Park Secondary and Sunward Park High School were twinned in the first phase of the program in 2017.

“These pairs of schools have demonstrated that through twinning, the resources can be shared between schools, learners and educators can participate in shared teaching and learning activities, including social cohesion the teaching expertise in the subject content and achieving improved learner performance,” said Lesufi.

The department has also developed an implementation plan to support schools during and after twinning to ensure achievement of potential benefits, such as:

– Cultural exchange as learners integrate;
– Improved cultural awareness;
– Sharing of resources and resultant efficiency gains, and
– Embedding Social responsibility.

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Lesufi dismissed notions that the twinning of schools initiative would result in the more affluent school being disadvantaged.

“It is important to note that, this program offers opportunities to School Governing Bodies to re-think the opportunities for change embedded in the Twinning, as the future is now to increase private partnership investment to the benefit of our schools.”

The MEC said the program has been carefully structured to benefit all of the flagship schools. He added that the department has prioritized the provision of resources, assistance, and support to these schools.

“Ultimately, the program provides a potential benefit, as opposed to a burden, for the schools, its learners, parents, and the education system as a whole,” said Lesufi.

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