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PfP is a dynamic initiative that is contributing to South Africa’s future by supporting school principals – who are the men and women in the frontline of the battle for better basic education. The programme is whole-heartedly endorsed by a long list of great South African leaders such as Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Thuli Madonsela and Prof Jonathan Jansen. It provides business leaders with the opportunity and the tools to assist principals through leadership and management skills transfer and tactical training. In the six years since its launch, PfP has positively impacted 437 principals, 10 925 teachers, and 349 600 learners.
Millicent Maroga, Head of Old Mutual Foundation, explains that Old Mutual will hand-select 10 senior managers willing to dedicate one year to coaching and mentoring a school principal at an under-resourced school. “The organisational skills sets and strategic thinking that our senior managers are able to share will be extremely helpful for the school principals. The co-learning nature of the partnership sharpens leadership and managerial skills on both sides.”
Participating Old Mutual managers will commit a minimum number of hours a week to the PfP programme, as well as a grant of R15 000 from the Old Mutual Foundation to support their individual school.
“We care about the communities in which we operate, and as a responsible business we are committed to doing great things that change lives for the better. That’s why this partnership is an ideal addition to our portfolio of education initiatives,” says Maroga.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently ranked South Africa 75th out of 76 countries for the quality of its education system. It notes that only 27% of children can read after six years of schooling, and only four children out of every 100 who enrol for their first day of school will complete a degree at a university.
“It is to address this national crisis that we developed the Partners for Possibility programme,” says Dr Louise van Rhyn, Founder and CEO of PfP. ‘By bringing together key stakeholders in such a productive way we are able to make a real difference, one school at a time. The changes made to the morale and efficiency of participating schools and their communities have been significant – and very heart-warming.”
Van Rhyn believes that enhancing the quality of education, improving the school environment and encouraging engagement between parents and teachers are attainable goals that can bring about an upward spiral of real change in society. “We at PfP believe that by placing the school at the centre of the community a radical transformation can be achieved in each community, rippling outward to the entire education sector,” concludes Van Rhyn.
Making a positive impact on education: Anthony Naidoo from Nedbank
(part of Old Mutual Group) with children from the school he supports through
the PfP programme, Masakhane-Tswelelopele Primary School in Zandspruit.