A CSI funder, a district office and a “warm body” help get a school library up and running.


For the first time in the school’s long history, every child at the Sizwile School for the Deaf in Dobsonville, Soweto spends one period a week in a new library stocked with over 1000 books.  The selection gives them access to books across every imaginable genre.  For deaf and hard of hearing children who are excluded from so much that we take for granted in the hearing world, this is a tremendous gift. Continue reading “A CSI funder, a district office and a “warm body” help get a school library up and running.”

A giant peach starts a life long journey of discovery and inspiration.

I was recently given opportunity to think about when and how I first became “hooked” on reading. In training a team of teachers to become reading champions at their schools I wanted to talk a little of my own experience. The first time I remember being completely captivated by a book – and addicted the point that I could not conceivably do anything else until it was finished – was when I read Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. I went on to read everything else that he had written for children and adults, but nothing gripped me as much as the story of the

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peach. Continue reading “A giant peach starts a life long journey of discovery and inspiration.”

Read them fairy tales…

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales”, Albert Einstein said. The power and importance of reading to young children was echoed by UNISA’s Prof. Elizabeth Pretorius at a Multilingual Resources for Early Literacy Symposium in Centurion. “It is not just about the magic of story,” she said, “it is about the development of cognitive function. Reading makes you

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101 stories of choice offer a future of promise

Our media is filled with stories of a “dysfunctional” education system, skills shortages and jobless youth. To find the good news in this sector you need to dig beyond the broad social and economic trends to the kernels of hope buried beneath. 101 Stories of Choice, published by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) does just that.

It tells the stories of 101 young South Africans who are going places. Many have

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and a brighter future. South Africa is faced with many challenges. However, to quote one of our storytellers, young people are “privileged and lucky to grow up in South Africa at a time when there are so many opportunities for young people”. It is up to each person to search out these opportunities and to make choices that drive them through barriers that have held back others in their families and communities. Continue reading “101 stories of choice offer a future of promise”

Most Amazing Teacher inspires love and compassion

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Mrs Maluleke arrives in style at Leubaneng Primary School to receive the Most Amazing Teacher of the Year 2013 award.

“It feels like this is the day my Lord God the creator has made just for me,” said Priscilla Maluleke on receiving the prize for the Most Amazing teacher of the Year 2013 in the Limpopo village of Marulaneng on Friday 24 January. PEP launched the competition in 2012 to help find and acknowledge the many South African teachers who are doing good work and who are doing something amazing – over and above their responsibility as a teacher. In 2013 Mrs. Maluleke was nominated by a Grade 7 learner, Trevor Chauke, for being a mother to him when his world started to fall apart. Of the ten finalists nominated for the competition and profiled on e.tv, Ms Maluleke received over 70 000 public votes. The selection committee felt that she most embodied what an amazing teacher should be. Continue reading “Most Amazing Teacher inspires love and compassion”

Fear of going to school is the real crime

There have been mixed interpretations of the latest crime statistics released by the SAPS yesterday. While these stats measure trends in murder, assault, sexual abuse and other violent crimes, what they don’t measure is how crime – or the threat of crime – makes people feel. At Social Innovations, we run after school academies across the provinces to help primary school learners improve their foundations in literacy and numeracy. Often, it is the fear of crime or the broader impacts of criminal behaviour that impact on how learners can benefit – or not – from these programmes. Continue reading “Fear of going to school is the real crime”

What happens at home is also your problem, Minister

Recent teacher interviews in Cape Town’s townships brought to light the social complexity of being a teacher in a South African school. Each teacher was asked : tell me about a time you had to work with a really difficult learner. What was the problem and how did you try and resolve it? The responses were as from a post-apocalyptic world were societal structures have disintegrated to a point where anything goes. Continue reading “What happens at home is also your problem, Minister”

Commentators say society has abdicated its responsibility towards education

Society has abdicated its responsibility to education according to commentators at a recent Education Conversations evening in Johannesburg. The conversations are hosted by The University of Johannesburg, Kagiso Trust and City Press. In response to the question Matakanye Matakanye, secretary of the National Association of School Governing Bodies (NASGB), suggested that society has abdicated its responsibility because the quality of education of their children is low on the list of priorities in many families.

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Continue reading “Commentators say society has abdicated its responsibility towards education”

Playing God with children’s lives boosts bonuses and votes

South Africa has one of the lowest matric pass requirements in the world. An average of just 35% is required before you can walk out of your final matric class with a certificate that will neither qualify you for tertiary education or for any kind of meaningful job. A low standard increases the matric pass rate, and artificially boosts the performance of the government of the day. This allowed the beaming Minister of Education to report a 70% matric pass rate earlier this year. It seems South Africa is not the only country that manipulates the system to boost performance. Huff Post Education reports that a school district in Texas has pushed out hundreds of under performing Grade 10 learners to prevent them from writing tests that would reflect poorly on the performance and bonuses of district management. Continue reading “Playing God with children’s lives boosts bonuses and votes”

NGOs muscle their way into Minister’s timesheet and budget

In recent weeks commentators have drawn many similarities between the South Africa we find ourselves in today and the South Africa we left behind under apartheid. Police shooting striking miners – execution style according to some reports – is the most shocking and brutal of these. The role of the NGO sector in delivering services to the poor is one similarity that has dominated news reports in various forms – particularly in the health and education sectors where weak government services are leaving those who cannot afford better behind. Continue reading “NGOs muscle their way into Minister’s timesheet and budget”