Stu­dents face up to in­equal­ity in South Africa

Pupils in­stilled with pride to achieve in the class­room

Rutherglen Reformer - - Intimations - Edel Ke­nealy

Young peo­ple at Stonelaw High School have been con­grat­u­lated for fill­ing pupils in a de­prived area of South Africa with self es­teem and pride.

Fair Trade groups at the Ruther­glen school - which have helped fund the ed­u­ca­tion and uni­forms of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in Mtu­batauba - were this week praised by two teach­ers from the ru­ral area who were vis­it­ing Scot­land.

Ntombiyench­lanhla Mthembu and Ntokozo Mn­guni from Ikusasalethu High School com­pleted two weeks of teach­ing at Stonelaw High School on Fri­day, June 17, mark­ing five years of a for­mal part­ner­ship be­tween the two schools.

The re­la­tion­ship be­gan when Stonelaw’s Fair Trade stu­dents used their prof­its to fund the ed­u­ca­tion of AIDS or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren in the Mtu­batauba re­gion and later uni­forms when the South African Gov­ern­ment agreed to pay for school­ing for the coun­try’s poor­est.

To date, Stonelaw High School has do­nated £41,000 to fund ed­u­ca­tion and uni­forms in a bid to ad­dress in­equal­ity in the class­room.

English teacher Ntokozo said: “What the kids have done, they have touched so many lives. I re­mem­ber long ago we found learn­ers were not per­form­ing at their best be­cause they had no self es­teem.

“Now they are look­ing good and the con­fi­dence they get from that is in­cred­i­ble.

“When you look good, you feel good and you per­form at your best, so this job, done by Mrs Gilchrist and the Fair Trade groups, has done a lot for th­ese learn­ers.

“We see the dif­fer­ence in their pride and self es­teem and that con­trib­utes to the good re­sults that the school has.”

Ikusasalethu High School has gar­nered a rep­u­ta­tion for en­sur­ing its pupils achieve their po­ten­tial, with two thirds of the stu­dents achiev­ing the grades nec­es­sary to go to uni­ver­sity. Of the 157 stu­dents who sat na­tional ex­ams in 2013, 93 per cent achieved five Highers or more.

And while cost pre­vents many from pur­su­ing fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion, achiev­ing such grades vastly boosts the life chances of the young peo­ple.

Teach­ers Ntombi and Ntokozo told the Reformer they have en­joyed lead­ing lessons in Stonelaw High School and us­ing the many re­sources avail­able to teach­ers in Scot­land.

The women will take their ex­pe­ri­ences in Scot­land back to South Africa to share with their col­leagues, who have also taught Scot­tish stu­dents dur­ing pre­vi­ous trips to South Africa.

Busi­ness stud­ies teacher Ntombi said: “What I have ob­served here is the way they teach learn­ers is not only to equip them with the knowl­edge, but to equip them with the skills they need to go out and be em­ployed.”

Is­abel Gilchrist, teacher of Re­li­gious, Moral and Philo­soph­i­cal Stud­ies, who has a lead­ing role in the part­ner­ship be­tween Ikusasalethu and Stonelaw high schools, said: “Over the last five years, there has been joint learn­ing on a range of con­tem­po­rary sub­jects like healthy tourism, fair em­ploy­ment and gen­der is­sues.

“Knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of the is­sues which af­fect each coun­try, in­clud­ing the ef­fect of cul­ture and his­tory, have deep­ened. In­ter­na­tional friend­ships con­tinue to grow strong, and the fu­ture of the part­ner­ship looks bright.”

Stu­dents from Ruther­glen who have vis­ited Ikusasalethu High School con­tinue to write to their fel­low stu­dents in South Africa en­sur­ing friend­ships forged there last long into the fu­ture.

Friends Ruther­glen stu­dents forged long-last­ing friend­ships with their South African coun­ter­parts dur­ing vis­its to Mtu­batauba

Visit Stu­dents from Stonelaw High have stud­ied in the cramped class­rooms at Ikusasalethu High School

Ex­pe­ri­ence Ntombiyench­lanhla Mthembu leads a class dur­ing her visit to Stonelaw High

De­sign Ntombiyench­lanhla Mthembu and Ntokozo Mn­guni in art class with Mrs Jor­dan

En­ter­prise Stu­dents have sold prod­ucts which sup­port fair trade around the world

Food Ntokozo Mn­guni gets to grips with Scot­tish cui­sine

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