Zille lauds Manenberg Leadership College model
PREMIER Helen Zille and leading educationist Jonathan Jansen yesterday lauded Manenberg’s Leadership College for its outstanding achievements. The college is the best performing school in the area despite having been established only five years ago.
The school, which was officially launched yesterday at its campus in Kasouga Road, achieved an 87.5 percent matric pass rate and accounted for 30 of the 33 distinctions recorded for schools in the area. Ex-pupil Aneesa Barends, who achieved seven of those distinctions, is now in her first year at the UCT Medical School.
The college is a private school that offers free education to selected pupils who live in Manenberg. It is funded by the 2 Oceans Education Foun- dation and the pupils are subsidised by the Western Cape Education Department.
The school was established by Ashra Norton who is the school’s director.
Yesterday, guests including Jansen, Zille and Imam Talib Shareef of the Nation’s Mosque in Washington DC,were greeted by a guard of honour formed by the pupils as they filed through to the school hall.
In a video presentation, guests were shown how the school stays open until 5.30pm, offering pupils homework classes and facilities to alumni who have gone on to tertiary studies.
Norton said that the school offers a range of extra-curricular programmes such as rugby, soccer, cricket, hockey and swimming through a partnership with the public swimming pool in the area. She hopes to open an Adult Basic Education and Training centre that would allow people to complete matric.
Zille said she visited the school for the first time in January. “I knew that the worst performing school in the Western Cape was in Manenberg. Yet another school had 30 distinctions. I came to Manenberg and the schools were like graveyards, except The Leadership College... We don’t do enough for the brightest and best in our poorest communities. There are absolutely dedicated teachers here. There are textbooks for every subject. That is the recipe, with the commitment from parents.”
The premier said that 20 percent of children across the world are educated in private schools.
“Private schools can be bad. It depends on who starts them. You need teachers, time, textbooks and technology.”
Zille outlined plans the provincial government and the municipality have for Manenberg, including a youth lifestyle campus, a regional hospital and a police training facility.
Keynote speaker Jansen, who is the rector of the University of the Free State, praised the school’s value system.
“Give up on your leaders, not in our ability to make young people overcome. Our children are better than us. Love them everyday Ashra,” he said.
“If your schools don’t work, your country doesn’t work. That is the reason we are in a mess. The first thing this school does right is the notion that every kid can succeed. That is different to elsewhere... How can you tell people they have failed if you haven’t taught them?”
Jansen spoke earlier yesterday at another alternative school, the Centre of Science and Technology ( Cosat) in Khayelitsha.
He said this school was a “pocket of excellence” that should be replicated across disadvantaged communities.
Jansen said the major factors that made Cosat successful were dedication, expertise, passion and a will to succeed. “Combined, these factors translate into a model that serves as a blueprint for the rest of the country to follow,” he said.
In 2011, Cosat became the first school based in a township to make it to the list of top 10 schools in the province with a 100 percent matric pass rate and a 98.6 percent matric mathematics pass rate.
HIGHER EDUCATION: Professor Jonathan Jansen walks the red carpet at The Leadership College in Manenberg alongside Premier Helen Zille, with school director Ashra Norton just behind. The Leadership College was launched yesterday, a free private school...