Unique programme propels Kagiso school to excellence

A learner discussing a topic while another listens attentively. Photo: Submitted.

Mandisa Shiceka, a secondary school in Kagiso, has transformed itself into the leading township school in Gauteng with a 98,14 per cent matric pass rate in 2016 – a massive increase from about 78 per cent in 2011.

Dr VK Joseph, the school’s principal, attributes this success story to the Columba Leadership programme, implemented and sponsored by Tsogo Sun’s Silverstar Casino which has been part of the school since 2012. Together with wholehearted commitment from participating educators and learners, the programme has fueled positive change in the school.

A learner enjoys one of his teacher’s lessons while others listen attentively.
Photo: Submitted

Dr Joseph said he’s proud of the school’s steadily improving results.

“When Columba first came and presented their programme, I was impressed with their vision and values, which are closely aligned to this school’s,” he said. “It made sense to embrace the programme and give our learners and educators the opportunity to benefit from it.

“We’re not just getting an excellent matric pass rate, we’re also getting high quality passes, with many matriculants achieving university exemption.”

Shanda Paine, Group CSI Manager for Tsogo Sun said this programme is an ideal fit for their focus on educational development and preparing disadvantaged young people for the working environment.

A teacher explaining a topic at the Mandisa Shiceka School using the Columba Programme’s methods. Photo: Submitted.

“Gaining a strong foothold in the employed or entrepreneurial sectors is crucial to the future success of our young people,” said Shanda.

“With its unique peer-driven programme, Columba has provided a platform that is enabling learners to become leaders in their school, to be disciplined in their academic work, to gain life skills, and to run projects that make a difference to the school.”

Learners at Mandisa Shiceka engaging with each other during one of the Columba Leadership Programmes. Photo: Submitted.

Keletso Thabede, a Grade 11 learner at the school, uses the programme on a daily basis.

“I wanted to help learners who are disrespectful of education, and to make them take education seriously,” she said.

As a whole, she has gained more than she could ever have imagined. “It has helped us see the need in our community, our subject marks have improved, our confidence has been boosted, and our behaviour is better – even my mother has noticed a difference in my attitude and behaviour.”

Learners concentrate as a teacher presents his lesson.
Photo: Submitted

Mali Ntombi, Life Orientation and isiZulu teacher, said she now shares her training with other teachers.

“We invited them to join us and told them what we had learned about treating learners better, not judging them, seeing the good in them,” said Mali. “Now, we’re working more closely with the learners, helping them to see that no matter their backgrounds, they can make it if they take school seriously.”

A teacher explaining a topic at the Mandisa Shiceka School using the Columba Programme’s methods. Photo: Submitted.

Shane Collinson, Director of Operations and General Manager at Silverstar, said it has been a privilege working with Columba at Mandisa Shiceka, which “is a shining light of possibilities and success in the community”.

The school has been an excellent example of the power of youth-adult partnerships – a supportive principal, motivated educators, and effective mobilisation of adults and youth to become involved in the movement for change.

Some of the projects run by the Columba teams over the years include cooking for the Grade 12s when they have weekend study sessions at school, establishing and maintaining a school library, creating a school garden, ensuring Grade 8s got their meals at the school feeding scheme lunches, dealing with bullying, gambling, and discipline in the classroom when the teacher is absent, substance abuse, and even teen pregnancy.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at krugersdorpnews@caxton.co.za or phone us on 011 955 1130.

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  AUTHOR
Bianca Pindral
Journalist

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