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Kagiso Trust’s legacy of excellence in Free State schools

To inculcate a culture of excellence in education, Kagiso Trust has been working with schools in the Free State for the past ten years. Kagiso Trust has implemented its District Whole School Development Programme (DWSDP) model in partnership with the Free State Department of Education as well as through Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST), a partnership with the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation.

Kagiso Trust congratulates the Free State on attaining 86{48e0b5a3b794481190ad31c3810e457fc616f4313203886b242d01fbf54279bd} for the 2017 NSC, placing the Province in first position for a second consecutive year. In addition, the Free State’s Fezile Dabi and Thabo Mofutsanyana are the top performing districts nationally with pass rates of 90.2{48e0b5a3b794481190ad31c3810e457fc616f4313203886b242d01fbf54279bd} and 90{48e0b5a3b794481190ad31c3810e457fc616f4313203886b242d01fbf54279bd} respectively.

A holistic methodology

The DWSDP model adopts a holistic approach in addressing challenges faced by schools. The model puts emphasis on ensuring a collaborative effort to improving education. This is done by ensuring active participation from a provincial level right through to districts and the schools themselves. The District Whole School Development Programme model’s areas of focus include development and assistance with:

  • Leadership
  • Curriculum
  • Basic and Incentive Infrastructure
  • Social economic challenges

What makes the model unique is that it looks at supporting the entire school’s system by adopting a district approach to maximise the impact of the programme.  The model was first implemented in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district in 2007 with 166 schools. Over the past four years, 225 schools from the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts, have benefitted and received support to address capacity building, governance and stakeholder engagement, key socio- economic issues as well as ensuring a sustainability roadmap is in place for sustained impact.

The model is also driven by the theory of change. The theory states that if educators are capacitated through professional development and training; and the school environment is improved through investing in infrastructure, curriculum development and leadership support, while the district office is strengthened to assist the schooling system then we expect to see a significant improvement in sustainable learner performance.

“A good model to look at is the [Cyril] Ramaphosa Foundation and the Kagiso Trust in the Free State”, stated Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga in an SAFM interview. “I am confident the number one position that the Free State is in, is [because of the] investment that those two foundations made in the province.”

Throughout the interventions in the three districts, Kagiso Trust has ensured that they work closely with the Free State Department of Education. The close-knit relationship has enabled the Department to influence programme implementation and, similarly, for Kagiso Trust and KST to impart lessons learnt to the Free State Department of Education.

“The interventions are about system[ic] change, more than anything. To get the system to work efficiently” concluded Minister Motshekga.

Replicating the model

The success of the model in the Free State has led to its replication in various forms. In 2018, Kagiso Trust will be implementing the model in Limpopo in partnership with the province’s Department of Education. The lessons learnt from the three Free State districts, being mostly disadvantaged and rural, will be beneficial as the model is customised for Limpopo’s Sekhukhune district.

FirstRand Empowerment Foundation (FREF) has invested R100 million to KST to further the implementation of the District Whole School Development Programme in Fezile Dabi and Motheo. Other organisations have also taken on aspects of the model for replication across the country, making a positive impact to disadvantaged communities.

“This gives testament to our vision of partnerships and collaboration”, comments Themba Mola, Kagiso Trust Chief Operations Officer. “This is scaling and replicating our models to have an impact in broader communities where we would not be able to reach on our own.”


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