School @ the Centre of Community

Public-Private Partnerships Lending a Helping Hand to Our Schools

On Monday 8 February, Partners for Possibility joined ProServe, Monash and the Dūcere Foundation for the official introduction of the foundation’s African Children’s Stories programme at Zandspruit Primary in the west of Johannesburg.

Zandspruit Primary is a successful graduate of the PfP programme and the event was attended by former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, the Zandspruit Primary pupils and a host of members of the higher education community.

While the Dūcere Foundation introduced its Collection, aimed at preserving the African oral tradition and develop alternatives to the predominant Western children’s literature, Ms Gillard attended the event to promote partnership in education.

Speaking at the event, Ms Gillard stressed the fundamental idea that the foundations for future learning‚ employability and entrepreneurship are laid at the grassroots level and that education form the basis of a student’s preparation for today’s global economy.

This type of cross-sectoral collaboration, referred to as public private partnerships (PPP) is emerging as a fundamental tool for delivering quality education within the constraints faced by under-resourced schools. This is also the motivation behind the work of Partners for Possibility: that a working partnership between the private sector and schools can cut through socio-economic and cultural barriers and transfer skills, knowledge and experience. In doing so the education sector can address the often poor quality of education that children receive at under-resourced schools.  

Erica Kempken of ProServ, a former partner to the principal of Zandspruit Primary in the PfP programme and long-time friend of the school, shared her thoughts on the benefit of public private partnership: “PPP’s are a communal effort, building on the idea of active citizenship. We cannot rely on the government to end all challenges faced in the education sector on their own. In making the development of our country’s education system a multi-stakeholder effort, we allow for greater efficiency and the generation of ideas by everyone involved.”

Following the PfP programme at Zandspruit Primary, ProServ recruited 504 learners in September 2015 into The Department of Industrial Development’s IT Learner Programme. The learners went through an intensive nine week training course and was then placed with a host employer for ten months of workplace experience.

“This programme offers a unique opportunity to unemployed, unskilled youth by training and preparing them to be a lively thriving part of the South African workforce,” says principal Victor Mmuoe of Zandspruit Primary

His thoughts are mirrored by Thandi Ntombela, a member of the Learner Programme who had been placed in Zandspruit Primary’s administrative department. Ntombela is a beneficiary of the learnership and she is receiving her workplace experience at the school as an administrative assistant.

“This project has helped me change my life in ways I was struggling to do on my own, I am receiving practical training at this school with a supportive staff that offers assistance when I am unsure,” says Ntombela.

Ntombela, like many other young people who were unskilled and unemployed prior to enrolling into the learnership have now been exposed to opportunities in the IT industry.

“Working across corporate and public sector boundaries not only help an under-resourced school to address its ailments, but it opens the doors for many more opportunities such as those witnessed by Zandspruit Primary, the learnerships offered to the young people in the area and the newfound support from the Dūcere Foundation,” says Louise van Rhyn, CEO of Partners for Possibility.



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