Focus 68 - Education: Overcoming & Innovation

Focus 68 - Education: Overcoming & Innovation

Helen Suzman Foundation | Mar 31, 2013
Welcome to the first 2013 issue of Focus, devoted to education and organised along the themes of Overcoming and Innovation. This issue of Focus is an attempt to broaden and deepen the education debate, moving beyond our stagnant litany of educational woes. It includes personal perspectives, as well as expert opinions, because education should be understood as much through the lived experience of learners and families as through policies and theories. There is an emphasis on the Arts, an increasingly neglected weapon in our armoury against both ignorance and exclusion.
Focus 68 - Education: Overcoming & Innovation

Welcome to the first 2013 issue of Focus, devoted to education and organised along the themes of Overcoming and Innovation. This issue of Focus is an attempt to broaden and deepen the education debate, moving beyond our stagnant litany of educational woes. It includes personal perspectives, as well as expert opinions, because education should be understood as much through the lived experience of learners and families as through policies and theories. There is an emphasis on the Arts, an increasingly neglected weapon in our armoury against both ignorance and exclusion.

G. Godsell - Introduction

Welcome to the First 2013 issue of Focus, devoted to education and organised along the themes of Overcoming and Innovation. This issue of Focus is an attempt to broaden and deepen the education debate, moving beyond our stagnant litany of educational woes. It includes personal perspectives, as well as expert opinions, because education should be understood as much through the lived experience of learners and families as through policies and theories. There is an emphasis on the Arts, an increasingly neglected weapon in our armoury against both ignorance and exclusion.

Beyond Expectations: Progression of poor students through university by Servaas Van Der Berg

A good education is the only reliable way of escaping from poverty, but this is seldom available for South Africa’s poor. Most poor children attend schools where the quality of teaching and learning is extremely weak, even when compared to much poorer African countries. Those who do well in matric then face "financial constraints to further studies. Thus, almost two decades after the political transition, the largest population group, black Africans, is still poorly represented at university because of weak schools and the cost of university.

Visual Literacy - New ways to see Deaf Education by Simangele Mabena

This article will explore an innovative way in which Visual Theatre can be used to overcome educational barriers. This is accomplished by establishing access to literacy and quality education for Deaf children. According to the Deaf Federation of South Africa, one out of three Deaf people are functionally illiterate. To put this overwhelming statistic into context, the average Deaf grade 12 learner has the reading comprehension of a hearing 8 year old, and by adulthood, these learners are unsuccessfully integrated into mainstream society as a result of their disempowering educational experiences.

Shakespeare: Friend or foe? by Nobulali Dangazele and Selloane Mokuku

'Now is truly the winter of our discontent!' These are the words that come to mind when one thinks about the English set work of one’s year. As it means hours and hours of awkward encounters with rather boring men in tights, monotonous thees and thous, convoluted stories about someone who killed someone’s something and now seeks revenge and has returned in 2013 through reincarnation as an English teacher because, yes, one has to read … Shakespeare!

Learner, parents, community, teachers, government: The critical partnership by Bongiwe Gambu

According to an old African adage a child is raised by a community. When I was growing up this was how we lived, and was applied in all spheres of life in each society. Each adult was responsible for all the children around her, and even those she came across in life. Children’s upbringing was a collective project so much that in some areas children were named by neighbours. !eir progress throughout life was supported and nurtured by all. An African child was a special child.

Despite the odds, they succeed by E. Mathakga Botha

Students at university experience feelings of isolation and exclusion based on, among other factors, disadvantage in ability to attain success in their studies as a result of a variety of culturally and linguistically different social capital.

Growing, in spite of: The story of the Islamic University of Gaza, 1977 – 2013 by Said Ahmed EL-Namrouti

The story of the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) is not just a story of growth in numbers, from 25 students in 1978 to 20 000 in 2013; it is also a story of modernisation. In 1978, the only subjects taught to those 25 students studying in tents were Sharia Law and Arabic Language. Now Religious Foundation is a separate faculty, alongside faculties of Commerce, Engineering, Medicine and Arts.

Wanted: Accountable Principals by Louise Smith

"What then makes a good principal, one capable of leading his/her school to success in examinations, on the playing fields, and in the preparation of learners for the hard knocks of life? There is no short answer to this question. There are, however, issues that point to the answer, most which relate to the principles of accountability.”

Bridge’s communities of practice for school principals – A driver of innovation in South African education by Barbara Dale-Jones

The work of Bridge – an innovation agency in South African education The education system is rife with dysfunction and yet filled with creative innovation. This anomaly led to the emergence of Bridge, an organisation which aims to create linkages between instances of effective practice in the belief that connecting what works can have the effect of changing the system for the better. Bridge is an education-focused non-profit organisation that links innovators in education in South Africa.

A narrative: A nomad’s view on education in South Sudan and Uganda by Nomvula Matakutso Mkencele

It is true that we can make plans but we cannot always dictate the events that take place while we are travelling on the path we’ve chosen. In my case the destination was Kampala. In July last year I left South Africa for Uganda to run a marketing company and establish a development consultancy with a friend. As in all good stories, everything didn’t go as planned. I then met Dr. Ian Clarke, mayor of Makindye District and Mr. Robert Common, Programmes Director for HOPE for Children, and ended up working with them as a fund raiser for a Public Private Partnership initiative called Events For Namuwongo (EFN). It was during this time in Kampala that South Sudan became more than just a new country I was interested in visiting.

Laurie Nathan’s ‘Community of insecurity: SADC’s struggle for peace and security in Southern Africa’ - Book Review by Andre Dumon

Laurie Nathan’s authoritative examination of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a well sustained analysis on its failure to achieve its main objectives: peace and security in the region. The reasons for this failure are argued to portend a dark future for the regional organisation and its stated objectives. As someone who served SADC in an advisory capacity, Nathan’s analysis certainly provides a privileged perspective and he should be given an attentive reading.

Hlumelo Biko’s ‘The Great African Society: A plan for a nation gone astray' - Book Review by Wim Louw

Hlumelo Biko is the son of Steve Biko and Mamphela Ramphele. He holds a Master of Science degree in International Business Government Relationships from Georgetown University, Washington. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, with majors in History and Politics, from the University of Cape Town. Biko boasts a successful 13 year career as a venture capitalist. He is an executive Chairman of Spinnaker Growth Partners and, before this, he was Managing Director at Circle Capital Ventures. He is an investor in, and, Board Member of, entities like Mediclinic, EduLoan, Endeavor, the African School of Excellence, and Kommunity Group Projects. He has worked for the World Bank. He is a consultant. He is an analyst. He is the vice-chairman of the Baxter Theatre.