KAMHLUSHWA – Penreach and local educators recently reflected on their successes during a closing ceremony at Elangeni Lodge.
The Penreach Courageous Leadership Development Programme (PCLDP) has become a household name in the Malalane and Khulangwane circuits, especially among principals, deputy principals and heads of department.
Penreach’s director Sanette Mattheus stated that teamwork was a key element in reaching this milestone. “Partnerships like these are very important. Together we are changing the lives of more than 20 000 children in this area. You have grown into true courageous leaders and nobody will take that from you.”
She thanked the Department of Education for its support and stated that she strongly believed the programme was engineered by God. “We’ve been extremely blessed in every single aspect. I am so fortunate that I had the opportunity to meet and interact with you and also somehow contribute in your lives,” she added.
Thembi Nkosi listed the project’s achievements on behalf of the educators and principals.
The project had three main activities: the introduction (Quick Wins), core business (mentoring and training) and the conclusion (community of practice).
The quick wins involved all stakeholders in the schools where the programme was introduced. Ideas were generated regarding things that could be improved without capital.
Educators focused on developing gardens, infrastructure and maintenance, getting donations and parents volunteering in school.
Focusing on these aspects assisted them to keep the school clean and create a safe learning environment. Many of the schools participated and won awards in the Nkomazi Cleanest School Competition, as well as national competitions.
Principals were trained in leadership, curriculum, people and financial management, planning, and resource acquisition and management. Heads of departments learned about curriculum coverage, assessment diagnosis, teacher management and development, and supporting teachers in the classroom.
Nkosi said the programme motivated them and helped them enjoy work more every day as they learned how to improve their admin. “We use the data to see who is present or absent in school. Now our learners and teachers are in class on time. The formation of their community of practice gave stakeholders a platform to share ideas. We have grown and acquired skills throughout the programme. We going to ensure that we sustain the course and advise other schools to join us.”
One of the circuit managers, Memory Khoza, stated that the programme has helped improve academic performance in schools, attendance of learners and teachers, dropout rates, the number of repeaters, infrastructure and maintenance, and the way gardens are used in schools. “Things are in order. Teachers have learned to enjoy teaching,” she said.
The district director Dr Jabulani Ndlovu explained that the participating schools’ performance was assessed by an external provider and rated at between 82 and 98 per cent in seven key areas. “Once you taste success, you want to stay there. Put in the extra effort so we can be different and extraordinary. Let’s sustain the small things we have learned,” he urged.
The deputy director general of the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Lucy Moyane, appreciated Penreach’s contribution and said the department is working with Penreach in several other programmes to improve education in the province.
“This programme shows that my colleagues are a bunch of committed people. Thirty-six months is a long time. If we were in an army, we were going to regard you as battalions – a special force. If assigned for an assignment, it will achieve the goals and objectives set out. We expect a lot from you. You have a right to celebrate. Keep up the good work,” she concluded.