School @ the Centre of Community

Net Prophet celebrates the first fruit of its partnership with Partners for Possibility

Net Prophet this month celebrated the end of the first successful partnership between a school principal and business leader that it had funded.

Net Prophet created a crowd sourced bursary fund at the 2014 Net Prophet event and all the proceeds went towards a partnership between a school principal and a business leader. The partnership between Branmal Schwartz, the school principal at Norma Road Primary in Athlone, and Tony Bush, a recently retired business leader, yielded many positive results and are continuing beyond its formally funded first year.

Net Prophet is a Public Benefit Organisation that was created by the RAMP Foundation in 2009 to help foster a culture of innovation and support small enterprises in the technology sector. Today the organisation is responsible for several conferences and discussion opportunities, including the highly popular Net Prophet Conference and monthly Net Prophet Fireside chats. All profits generated by these popular events and discussion groups are channelled to the Net Prophet Bursary, which is managed by Partners for Possibility.

Norma Road Primary is based in Athlone that attracts students from as far as Khayelitsha, 20 kilometres away. It is a fee-paying school and receives the same government support as much more affluent schools in wealthier suburbs, but it faces many challenges associated with its highly diverse and widely distributed student population.

Before the Partners for Possibility programme, parental involvement measured at 10% and children struggled with learning in English, when their home languages were predominantly Xhosa and English.

“As a principal at a school with very limited funds, I had no opportunity for professional development. Today I can proudly say I am one of over 400 principals that have graduated from the Partners for Possibility programme and have restocked my management toolkit,” says Branmal Schwartz.

“I was reaching the end of my corporate career and was looking for an opportunity to give back. I found in Partners for Possibility a wonderful programme in which I could help with a worthy cause and bring my own experience to bear,” says Tony Bush, the business partner to Branmal.

The results speak for themselves. After working together on the challenges faced at Norma Road, Branmal and Tony reported to the audience at their 2016 Net Prophet Conference how the grade 3’s scored 80% or maths and 75% for English during standardised testing, a score never before achieved.

Amongst the other achievements was the growth in teacher participation from 10% to over 50%, a fully staffed school governing body and improved financial management and cost saving at the school.

Partners for Possibility will soon start a next partnership with the funds received from the Net Prophet Fund and will continue to work together to support schools on the PfP programme.

To view the video of the partnership between Branmal and Tony at the Net Prophet Event, please visit:


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