Source: Department of Education
Title: Pandor: Opening of Moletsane Secondary School Hall
Address by Naledi Pandor, MP, Minister of Education at the opening of the Moletsane Secondary School Hall, Soweto
The Principal, Ms Kodisang,
Ms Colett Ball, Chairperson of the Brait Foudation,
Mr Dan Jensen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity,
Pupils and teachers,
Thank you for inviting me to the official opening of the Moletsane Secondary School Hall. I am delighted to witness the success of a partnership between the private sector and education.
I would like to thank Brait Foundation for their investment in the development of Moletsane Secondary School. This is a partnership that we encourage and support, as it helps to improve the quality of the education system. It is indeed true as Brait’s motto; “Better opportunities through education” says that an investment in education is an investment in the future.
In its own right, Moletsane Secondary School has transcended the inequalities of its past to become a beacon of hope in our education system. The resilience of the school, the good leadership provided by the school management, the commitment of the teachers and discipline of pupils and the support of your partners has clearly ensured that Moletsane Secondary has become an excellent school. I am told that this is a major transformation as quite recently it was classified as an under-performing school.
Yours is an achievement that must be celebrated and emulated in our education system. So impressive has your achievement been that your school has become a dinaledi school, a focus school dedicated to the teaching of mathematics and science.
As a dinaledi school Moletsane has a responsibility to contribute to increasing the number of maths and science school graduates in this country. Congratulations on your selection to this category of dedicated schools.
I should also mention that our goal is to reach 50 000 maths and science school graduates by 2008, double the number we have now. I hope that Moletsane will play an important role in reaching that goal.
As you know government has launched the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA), an initiative led by the Deputy President. It is important to note that the success of the AsgiSA programme requires skills like an understanding of maths and science that are relevant to the challenges of society and the economy.
I am impressed by the partnership between the Brait Foundation and Moletsane Secondary School. The role of the private sector in the education system cannot be over-emphasised. Our ability to accelerate service delivery and to improve skills acquisition in the country will be significantly advanced through public-private partnerships.
One of the goals that we have set ourselves in the second decade of our freedom is to ensure that we consolidate the programmes that have been introduced and strengthen our education system with a view to increase the quality of output. In this regard, government is committed to ensuring that it improves the quality of learning and teaching that takes place in our schools.
The improvement of the quality of education requires an injection of new resources. Research evidence points to a clear correlation between learner achievement and the richness of teaching and learning materials and resources, both teaching and physical resources. ”To this end we have initiated a quality improvement, development, support and upliftment programme (QUIDS-UP) to allocate new learning resources to schools, especially in poor and disadvantaged communities.”
However, given the backlogs and the challenges that confront us in this regard it is clear that government cannot do it alone. The role and participation of the private sector is critical to the success of our quest to provide resources to our schools. Public-private partnerships are important in order that services reach a broader base of the communities. It is also clear that such partnerships would also transcend the provision of financial resources and may also involve intellectual partnerships and the transfer of skills.
The construction of the Moletsane Secondary School Hall is evidence of the direct meaning of the type of partnerships I am referring to. I have noted the staff of Brait Foundation in partnership with Habitat for Humanity volunteered their skills, time and services to ensure that Moletsane Secondary School could have a hall. The efforts of your staff and their commitment to the future of our country are highly commendable.
However, partnerships should be co-ordinated in order to avoid the duplication of resources, as well as the concentration of resources in the same group of beneficiaries.
It is also important that partnerships that are entered into must be sustainable into the future if they are to make any meaningful impact. A challenge on the part of the school is to ensure that this facility is maintained in good form and that every attempt should be made to preserve this investment for the benefit of future generations. It is with investments like this hall that we would be able to turn our schools into community hubs.
It is our view that schools are more than only a place of learning and teaching. Our schools should become centres of community life. Other than provide an opportunity for teachers to offer exciting and modern curriculum activities and for learners to participate in these activities, the Moletsane School Hall facility should also be used to provide access to numerous services for the development of the community.
This may provide an opportunity for young people to participate in indoor recreational activities. It would also provide support to the communities and should be made accessible to those in the community looking for a space to study.
The official opening of this school hall occurs in a year when the country celebrates 30 years of the June 16 student uprising. It is also a year that marks the season of hope that was so eloquently expanded upon by our President in his State of the nation address earlier in the year. On Friday, last week I delivered the Department of Education’s budget vote in our national parliament with the question: “Are you ready to excel?”
It is clear to me that Moletsane is ready to excel further.
Moletsane Secondary School is a success story that must be told. It serves as an inspiration to other schools who are struggling to perform. The Brait Foundation partnership with Moletsane Secondary School is a model partnership that may provide good lessons on support to our schools and communities.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate you on the construction of this school hall and trust that we shall use it to serve your school well and that you will maintain and preserve it for future generations.
Congratulations to Brait Foundation with the support of Habitat for Humanity for this great investment.
Issued by: Department of Education
22 May 2006