Sixty solid years for Gadra Ed­u­ca­tion

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - By SUE MACLEN­NAN

Gadra Ed­u­ca­tion cel­e­brated their 60th an­niver­sary on Wed­nes­day 8 Au­gust on the back of their mile­stone 2017 achieve­ment of 100 ma­tric­u­lants suc­cess­fully reg­is­ter­ing at Rhodes Univer­sity. The NGO serves and sup­ports pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in Gra­ham­stown (Makhanda), bring­ing a net­work of tu­tor­ing and fi­nan­cial sup­port to chil­dren from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds or poorly re­sourced schools. Chair­per­son Dr Ken Ng­coza in­tro­duced a cel­e­bra­tion in the Drill Hall with a heart­felt trib­ute to the town and its peo­ple.

“That this or­gan­i­sa­tion has re­mained alive for 60 years is tes­ti­mony to the rich­ness, depth and ubuntu of our com­mu­nity,” said Ng­coza.

Ng­coza lec­tures in Science Ed­u­ca­tion at Rhodes Univer­sity. He, along with other dis­tin­guished pro­fes­sion­als in­clud­ing Judge Lex Mpati and the late Judge Bon­isile Sandi, were among thou­sands of Gra­ham­stown chil­dren and youth who ben­e­fited from Gadra bur­saries.

He noted how from its be­gin­nings as a “sec­ond chance” school es­tab­lished in 1994, the Gadra Ma­tric School had be­come Rhodes Univer­sity’s big­gest feeder school.

“It is a great source of pride that Gadra con­tin­ues to re­spond to the chal­lenges fac­ing youth in Gra­ham­stown and beyond,” Ng­coza said.

Rhodes Dean of Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­fes­sor Di Wilmot stood in for Vice Chan­cel­lor Dr Sizwe Mabizela as key­note speaker. Mabizela had trav­elled to Jo­han­nes­burg for stu­dent Khen­sani Maseko’s fu­neral. She spoke about the depth and ex­tent of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Gadra and Rhodes to re­vi­talise pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion in Gra­ham­stown.

Wilmot re­called Mabizela’s state­ment at his in­au­gu­ra­tion that Rhodes should not just be an in­sti­tu­tion in Gra­ham­stown, but should also be for the city.

From ini­tia­tives aimed at town­ship high school pupils such as the 9/10ths pro­gramme at Nt­sika, Nom­bulelo and Mary Wa­ters, there was now a grow­ing fo­cus on early child­hood de­vel­op­ment through the Ves­tas con­sor- tium, which pro­vided bet­ter in­te­grated in­ter­ven­tions, and sup­port for pri­mary schools.

Wilmot said last year’s mile­stone of 100 suc­cess­ful Gadra Ma­tric School ap­pli­cants to Rhodes Univer­sity con­firmed Gadra’s unique role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing ac­cess to higher ed­u­ca­tion through qual­ity teach­ing and learn­ing.

The part­ner­ships con­tin­ued to de­velop, with 10 reg­is­ter­ing at Rhodes as oc­ca­sional stu­dents in 2017, while up­grad­ing their ma­tric grades in a new bridg­ing course.

A num­ber of for­mer Gadra stu­dents are cur­rently en­rolled in a four-year B.ED pro­gramme pre­par­ing African lan­guage speak­ers to teach in early child­hood de­vel­op­ment cen­tres. “Rhodes and Gadra are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that young peo­ple in Gra­ham­stown re­ceive qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion,” Wilmot said. At the 60th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions, Margie Kee­ton spoke about the amaz­ing his­tory of Gadra and the peo­ple in­volved. Read her ad­dress at the fol­low­ing link: bit.ly/groc­gadra

Maclen­nan Pho­tos: Sue

Gadra Ed­u­ca­tion Chair­per­son Dr Ken Ng­coza ad­dresses guests at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s 60th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions at the Drill Hall in Gra­ham­stown (Makhanda) on 8 Au­gust.

Dean of Ed­u­ca­tion at Rhodes Di Wilmot says the part­ner­ship be­tween Gadra Ed­u­ca­tion and the Univer­sity is stronger than ever.

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