For cor­rec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity

CityPress - - News -

‘You don’t have to be in town to be the best. You can be the best any­where.” So says Mankodi Moitse (53), the woman who heads Kag­iso Shan­duka Trust, which has helped Free State top the Class of 2016. The largely ru­ral prov­ince achieved an 88.2% matric pass, which in­cluded pro­gressed learn­ers – those who had failed Grade 11 twice and been pushed through to Grade 12.

The prov­ince beat Western Cape into sec­ond place with its score of 85.9%, and Gaut­eng into third place with 85.1%.

The trust is a part­ner­ship be­tween the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment, the Kag­iso Trust and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foun­da­tion. It provides equip­ment, in­fras­truc­ture and teacher and man­age­ment train­ing to schools in ru­ral ar­eas in two dis­tricts: Fezile Dabi in the north and Motheo in the south.

Over the past year, big im­prove­ments have been recorded. Fezile Dabi scored a 91.8% matric pass rate in 2016 – up from 86.2% in 2015. Motheo scored an 85.7% pass rate – up from 75% the pre­vi­ous year.

As chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Kag­iso Trust and a board mem­ber of the Kag­iso Shan­duka Trust, Moitse leads a team of 46 staff across both or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­sure that their in­ter­ven­tions work.

Four years ago, the trust be­gan by for­mu­lat­ing a se­ries of needs analy­ses, which were dis­cussed with the pro­vin­cial ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment and re­sul­tant ac­tions agreed upon.

Ques­tion­naires were sent to schools to gauge the pupils’ aca­demic per­for­mance; the teach­ers’ com­pe­tency lev­els and knowl­edge of the cur­ricu­lum and sub­jects; the strength of school lead­er­ship and man­age­ment; dis­ci­pline; ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties; the con­di­tion of the school in­fras­truc­ture; cur­ricu­lum de­liv­ery; and so­cial de­vel­op­ment. The trust then set about plug­ging the gaps. “We de­velop mod­els that can be repli­cated and are scal­able,” said Moitse.

“We have put in place proper struc­tures and we part­ner with the Free State depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion ... plan­ning and im­ple­ment­ing to­gether the agreed plan for the year and hold­ing each other ac­count­able for suc­cesses and fail­ures.

“We have a struc­tured gov­er­nance process to en­sure the proper mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion of our pro­grammes,” she said, adding that the se­cret to their suc­cess lay in en­sur­ing that every­one de­liv­ered and took the part­ner­ship se­ri­ously, and all part­ners con­trib­uted fi­nan­cially.

“We made sure we un­der­stood the land­scape by start­ing with base­line stud­ies. The lead­er­ship in the Free State ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment is highly mo­ti­vated. In­tro­duc­ing the model, based on a the­ory of change that fo­cuses on the teacher, was bound to be a win­ning for­mula,” she said.

The plan starts with em­pow­er­ing teach­ers and hold­ing team­build­ing work­shops to mo­ti­vate them, en­sur­ing they take pride in their work and un­der­stand their re­spec­tive sub­ject mat­ter bet­ter.

A key fac­tor has been the launch of a Dis­trict Whole School De­vel­op­ment Model, sup­port­ing the idea that, for a child to learn, the school in­fras­truc­ture must be hab­it­able and rea­son­ably com­fort­able.

Moitse knows what it is like to be a de­mo­ti­vated teacher, hav­ing faced the re­al­i­ties of pub­lic school life as a teacher at Madibane High in Soweto.

“Win­dows were bro­ken. There were no ceil­ings. I know school dys­func­tion­al­ity and the low morale of teach­ers, who do not feel like go­ing to work in that en­vi­ron­ment,” she told City Press this week.

The trust has built bet­ter fa­cil­i­ties in schools with no toi­lets where teach­ers were forced to uri­nate in a cor­ner or un­der trees to­gether with their pupils.

“Ev­ery time we went there to do­nate stuff, I could see in the eyes of these learn­ers that they needed some­one to help them. They see us as peo­ple stand­ing be­tween them and their bet­ter future,” she said.

“There are many child-headed house­holds, where chil­dren look af­ter sib­lings or where parents are away work­ing in Jo­han­nes­burg.”

The trust also found pupils strug­gling be­cause they had no shoes and oth­ers who had prob­lems with their sight, which no one knew about.

“We found out, when we did our eye-test­ing pro­gramme, that some of them could barely see what was writ­ten on the board,” she said.

Be­sides her teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Moitse holds a BCom in eco­nomics and has worked as an ac­coun­tant, a banker, a lec­turer and a group chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer for Kag­iso Trust.

Her two chil­dren at­tended for­mer Model C schools and are now study­ing BCom de­grees. She also looks af­ter three chil­dren be­long­ing to her sis­ter and sis­ter-in-law.

Moitse in­her­ited her pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion from her parents. Her fa­ther, a driver, only at­tended school in Grade 1 and her mother stud­ied with her, ma­tric­u­lat­ing the same year as she did, and later be­came a teacher.

Her life’s jour­ney has ar­rived at a per­fect point, en­abling her to do what she wants to do – help ru­ral pupils have a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion.

“We can­not be liv­ing like we are, paral­ysed by our chal­lenges. I strive for ex­cel­lence that al­lows me to be part of the so­lu­tion.

“Let us be part of the so­lu­tion.”

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

HAP­PI­NESS Last year’s ma­tric­u­lants Nonku­l­uleko Mag­cai, Disebo Set­lou and Phumla Msibi (back­ground) cel­e­brate with Jab­ulile Dladla, who ma­tric­u­lated with dis­tinc­tion

Mankodi Moitse

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