Bringing quality education to all children

Leaders unite for education
Partners for possibilities

Eduloan, as part of its corporate social investment programme partnered with the Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme as a means of providing creative and innovative solutions to the national education.

It is a co-action, co-learning partnership between School Principals and Business Leaders, enabling social cohesion through partnerships, and empowering Principals to become change leaders in their schools and communities.

The PfP programme was founded in 2010 by director Louise van Rhyn, recognised as South Africa’s first business leader to partner with principals of schools in an effort to improve school’s education outcomes. PfP is the flagship programme of Symphonia for South Africa (SSA), a national non-profit and public benefit organisation, based in Bellville Cape Town with the bold vision to provide “quality education for all children in South Africa by 2022”.

“The programme exists for the sole purpose of supporting and equipping school principals of under-resourced schools for their roles through partnerships with government and corporates,” says Claudia Pather, Eduloan’s Senior Manager: Customer services and strategy. The PfP programme strives to provide opportunities for active citizenship around schools to improve the quality of education of our country.

“Eduloan has already been playing a major role by providing study finance to prospective students and their parents, thus unlocking potential to those who do not qualify for loans from other financial institutions. An opportunity for playing a further role in South Africa’s education environment was recognised in joining PfP in its quest,” says Pather.

As a business leader, Eduloan wants to share its knowledge and experience of organisational change and management with our schools.

“Eduloan is passionate about education, leadership development and wants to contribute to playing its part as a South African company.

“Education is vital if we are going to secure a proud future for our children,” says Pather.
As a result Pather partnered with Mark Holland, principal of Kensington Primary School in Johannesburg through PfP. Pather and Holland have been working together since April this year to transfer corporate leadership skills to young adults in need of mentorship and guidance.

Pather explains that a principal finds him or herself in a position to liaise with government, being the intermediary to drive certain results out of their school.
“The only way they can achieve this is if they know how to go about this, how to efficiently manage their funds, how to drive certain behaviours out of their staff. Pather visits Mr Holland twice a week as part of the skills transfer programme and they also have at least one telephonic interaction per week.”

Pather’s plan for 2014 is to assist Holland in setting up a decent target on his banking book, putting measures in place to monitor progress and guide him with key performance indicators for himself and his staff. Delighted Holland says that the corporate world is not as different from the world of school management as one might think.

“There are many similarities. It all speaks to leadership,” says Holland. “As teachers we were taught to teach, but learned very little about management.”

Since Eduloan and Kensington Primary School embarked on their partnership, Holland has delegated some of his duties and is not taking all the responsibility for running the school. With the delegation of some of the duties he has created a workforce that can better manage the school and the results are phenomenal.

“I now regularly meet with my school management team to see what new initiatives worked and which did not. We have a good look at where more effort is needed and how we will go about this. My whole outlook has changed. I have come to realise that I can learn a lot from the school’s teachers, and that I can do so by not only communicating with them, but by connecting with them. The challenge lies in getting teachers to buy into an idea or a vision. Once they do that, they start working towards specific goals,” says Holland.

A Community of Practice session is held every six weeks, where a group of principals and corporate leaders share experiences and best practice with each other. This encourages the transfer of skills between the participants.
“The programme essentially revolves around two key issues: Effective school management whilst never losing sight of the real goal – to educate students.”


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Issue 23


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