Wednesday, 31 October 2012

"WHERE ARE OUR TEACHERS?" Unpacking the teacher shortage in the Eastern Cape - Video by Rhodes Journalism Students

"Where are our teachers?" A video by Jillian Penaluna and Katja Schreiber.
Our coordinator Nomalanga Mkhize is featured in the video highlighting the more complex
aspects of the teacher distribution model.
You can click here for a direct link to Youtube

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Stretch, bake, play!

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You can "LIKE" the SOSAC Page on
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‘Daar is nie ’n kultuur van lees onder die jeug’ - [SOSAC in die Nuus]

Bryan Goliath - Die Son (4 April 2010)

Druk hier

SAVE our Schools and Community (Sosac­), is ’n organisasie wat hom beywer om dinge in die gemeenskap te verbeter.

Justin Oliphant, voorsitter van Sosac, sê hulle het ’n behoefte aan skoolbiblioteke in die Northerns gesien. “Daar is nie ’n kultuur van boeke lees onder ons jong mense nie. “Leerders sien nie die waarde in boeke nie. Ouers sien dit ook nie as prioriteit om boeke vir hul kinders aan te koop nie.

Die gevolg is dat ons met hoërskoolleerders sit wat sukkel om te lees.”


Volgens Farouk Abrahams, ook ’n lid van die organisasie, het hulle twee weke gelede ’n optog met leerders gehad.

“Ons het die twee hoërskole in Schauderville betrek en ’n optog na die Korsten-biblioteek gehou. “Die doel is dat daar meer biblioteke by skole gebou moet word.

“Net 3% van alle skole in die Oos-Kaap het ’n biblioteek. “Daar is sowat 250 matrikulante by die twee hoërskole in Schauderville. As al dié kinders gelyk ’n taak kry wat in die Korsten-biblioteek gedoen moet word, sal dit ’n chaos afgee. Daar is eenvoudig nie genoeg plek vir almal nie. “Daarom is die march ’n bewusmakingsveldtog dat daar ’n nood is vir biblioteke by skole.” Oliphant sê as daar wel biblioteke by die skole opgerig word, sal dit die leerders baie help.

Hy sê: “Ons het die biblioteek-inisiatief die Kom Nader, Read Together-veldtog genoem. “Ons glo dat ’n kultuur van lees onder die jeug nie net kennis en insig sal verbreed nie, maar ook die morele standaarde sal verhoog.”

 Die waarnemende distriksdirekteur van die departement van onderwys, Nyathi Ntsiko, sê die departement beplan om by elke skool ’n mobiele biblioteek op te rig.

Die departement hoop die onderwysbegroting gaan gunstig wees sodat die oprigting van dié biblioteke kan materialiseer.

SOSAC AT Think!Fest 2012, National Arts Festival - [SOSAC in the News]

Save Our Schools and Community was invited to present at Think!Fest 2012 during the annual National Arts Festival held in the city of Grahamstown.

We put forward some of our original community-informed insights on the culture of education and status of teaching in South Africa.

Report by Cue Online: Click here for original post

Local voices at Think!Fest

To celebrate Grahamstown’s 200th anniversary, Think!Fest is hosting a series of lectures entitled Grahamstown Voices.

The series comprises stories by locals who reflect on the history of the city. “Is it not better to have people who live here to talk about the history from a personal perspective?” asked Think!Fest organiser Professor Anthea Garman. “However, we also need to take cognisance of the fact that we live with problems of the past,” she said.

Nomalanga Mkhize, renowned for her unfailing support of education as an agent of social change, kicked off the series yesterday. In 2008, she started ‘Save our Schools and Community’, an organisation that aims to tackle the inequalities of Grahamstown’s education system. “To me it’s not activism. I need my children to grow up in a healthy space they deserve,” she said.

In her talk Where the Ghost of Biko Does Not Haunt, Mkhize focussed on the fact that there has been a dramatic decline in the quality of education in the townships, partly because in her opinion there is no longer consensus about the importance of education within black society.

Mkhize argued there is a need to shift the discourse around education and ask different questions. “Class is one dimension of education that is missing in education analysis,” she said. She argued that the quality of teaching in Grahamstown has declined as many teachers opted for jobs in the civil service in order to improve their socio-economic status. “Teaching is not lucrative anymore and teacher unionisation these days is more about the class advancement of teachers,” she said.

Other speakers at Grahamstown Voices include Alan Weyer and Brian Mullins, the central characters of the Eastern Cape comedy duo Boet ’n Swaer, Ashwell Adriaan and Dr Julia Wells.

-Abongile Sipondo-

Friday, 28 September 2012

Bark with no bite? Sec 100 Intervention in Eastern Cape - [Opinion Brief]

by Nomalanga Mkhize

 In March of 2011, the National Department of Basic Education put the Eastern Cape education department under administration by invoking section 100 (1)(b) of the South African constitution. Almost from the outset, there was a lot of internal conflict caused by disagreements on how the respective roles of the national and provincial administrative teams were to be delineated. National Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and provincial head of department Advocate Modidima Mannya seemed to constantly be at loggerheads. The impasse was eventually resolved when Adv. Mannya opted to resign in April of 2012.

There has been much debate and discussion on how the sec 100 intervention could have been better implemented. We, as SOSAC, even went to court in an attempt to get the leadership to clarify for us as citizens who was in charge of what [See article in Mail & Guardian: NGOs go to court to enforce intervention in Eastern Cape]

However, it appears the public discussion never really interrogated whether or not this sec. 100 intervention was necessarily the most appropriate course of action in turning around Eastern Cape education.

I had my doubts about the intervention's potential efficacy.

The main reason is quite simply that education reform in the Eastern Cape requires resolute political will from the President, to the Minister, Premier and MEC. Short of an unbending will of our leadership to take tough and politically unpopular decisions, there is very little that can be done to overhaul the dysfunctions within the administration.

From where I stood, it seemed that sec 100 was all bark and no bite; perhaps a decision taken under pressure. Unfortunately, once the decision was taken, it was viewed as open for contestation, the Minister stood back when conflict arose, complaining that she was being blocked. Analysts argued that there was no regulatory framework to guide sec 100; provincial politicians argued that it did not, in any case,  accord the national department full powers to take over.

But the problem, in my view, does not lie with an "ineffective" sec 100. It lies with weak political leadership which has struggled to take decisive action on the many dysfunctions besetting the system already.

A more credible intervention would have simply focused on strengthening risk management, more consistent financial controls with the support of functional internal audit and fraud combating systems in the department. That on its own would have demonstrated a firm commitment to deal with one of the biggest problems draining the system - corruption. This doesn't require a sec 100 intervention, it requires a tough head of department backed by the Minister and the President, most especially in a department that has seen a new head almost every 18 months over the past 15 years.

In other words, it makes no difference how 'weighty' the constitutional injunction is, if it is wielded by an already politically weak leadership.  

[Views are those of the author and not necessarily those of the organisation and those associated with it]

Adolph Schauder ECD Pre-Grade R Class of 2012

The SOSAC ECD initiative is a partnership with Adolph Schauder Primary School in Schauderville. It caters for 25 children. The project is funded by fees and non-profit donors. The creche provides low-fee, high quality education for children living in communities going through social and economic stresses. We welcome partners and sponsors to support the long-term vision of this ECD initiative.

Contact for more information.

Standing in the Gap - [January 2012 - Open Letter to Education Leaders]

In 2012 Eastern Cape started off on a very shaky footing when a three week go slow ground teaching to a halt in many of our embattled schools. Together with fellow citizens, SOSAC published an open letter to voice concerns on the matter. This letter appeared as a sponsored advertorial in the The Herald and Daily Dispatch newspapers in the Eastern Cape on Friday 17 February. A slightly different version of this letter was sent to the offices of Minister A. Motshekga, Premier N. Kiviet, MEC M. Makhuphula and Superintendent-General Adv. M. Mannya during the four week go-slow of January 2012. Click here for a link to the scanned image of the letter as it appeared in the press:

Summit on Eastern Cape Education - [Communities Gather]

Mini-Summit on Eastern Cape Education On 25 August 2012, a group of citizens, NGOs and organisations gathered in Grahamstown at Rhodes University to discuss the role of parents, communities and school governing bodies in education. The summit was the collective effort of SOSAC, Public Participation in Education Network, Centre for the Advancement of Non-Racialism, Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethic and Rhodes University Community Engagement office . SOSAC played a coordinating and organising role. Guest speakers at the event were the Chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education Hope Malgas, Prof Mary Metcalfe, Prof Somadoda Fikeni. The summit formed a working group to take issues of common interest forward. Click here for a link to a video of Prof Somadoda Fikeni talking on the culture of education and African languages.

Early Childhood Development Project

The SOSAC ECDC was the brainchild of local teacher Trevor Reid (also SOSAC board member and community leader in Schauderville) community activist and SOSAC founder Farouk Abrahams, and Adolph Schauder Primary School Principal Thomas Matthews.

No easy solution to union’s role - [SOSAC in the News]

Our coordinator Nomalanga recently spoke at a panel at the Education Conversations at the University of Johannesburg. The event was hosted by Kagiso Trust, University of Johannesburg and City Press. Nomalanga shared the platform with Mugwena Maluleke of SADTU and Themba Kojana from the Department of Basic Education. The topic was Topic: "How have unions responded to the shifts in the teaching profession?: Evaluating the role and contributions of teacher unions" This is how City Press covered the event:
Community activist Nomalanga Mkhize, the coordinator of the Save Our Schools initiative in Grahamstown, said there was a disconnect between unions and government that crippled decision-making at schools. While unity is declared at the top levels of union and education structures, local-level and district-level education is driven by divided loyalties and a poor understanding of processes and procedures. Mkhize has observed elements of distrust and resentment among teachers towards communities and parents who want to be involved in their children’s schools. She suggested that this mindset was rooted in the power of union officials at the local and micro levels
. Follow the Link: No easy solution to union’s role

How Do We Change A Community?

How do we change a community?

By putting the needs of its children at the heart of our action!

We are Save Our Schools and Community (SOSAC), a grassroots
education activism, advocacy and community education support
collective located in the cities of Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

This blog is for keeping fellow citizens - local and  global - updated
on what we are doing as well as any of our writings.

Our website is still under construction, but keep in touch via
our blog for now.

SOSAC team.