Students face up to inequality in South Africa
Pupils instilled with pride to achieve in the classroom
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