The partnership between Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST) and the Department of Education in the Free State has begun to show positive outcomes as demonstrated by the class of 2017 Matric results in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts. The districts achieved a pass rate of 90.2% and 82.5% respectively, making Fezile Dabi the top performing district nationally with schools that fall within Quintile 1, 2 and 3. This is a good example to other rural districts that good academic results are possible with adequate support.
In the case of the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts, KST has been implementing the District Whole School Development Model (DWSDPM) for the past three years, which has seen a steady increase and improvement in academic performance amongst learners where the programme has been rolled out. In 2013, Free State matriculants scored the highest pass rate with 87.4%. The class of 2014 came in at third place, with 81.6%. The Free State was again at the top in 2016 with a pass rate of 88.2% and, in 2017, retained the number one position nationally at 86%.
The top performing schools in the Fezile Dabi district that received a 100% pass rate include Nampo Secondary School, Rehauhetswe Secondary School and Sandersville Comprehensive. The top achiever from a KST school in Motheo is Jonase Kagisho Peace from Kgauho Secondary School.
“We are proud of our learners, educators, and principals for their achievements,” Nontando Mthethwa, Communications Chair at KST said.
“This is attributed to our partnership with the Free State Department of Education and the parents who have unreservedly continued to support their children throughout their studies.
“2018 will mark the fifth year of the seven-year partnership, and we look forward to a sustainable exit in 2020 where schools will be able to continue on an upward trajectory well after the programme,” she said.
What sets the DWSDPM apart?
The model is unique in that it looks at supporting the school’s entire system by adopting a district approach to maximise the impact of the programme. This has seen 225 schools from the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts benefit and receive support aimed at addressing capacity building, governance and stakeholder engagement, key socio-economic issues as well as a sustainability roadmap 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 investment in infrastructure, curriculum development and leadership support while the district office is strengthened, then a significant improvement in sustainable learner performance may be seen.
“Despite the many challenges that rural schools face, such as quality teacher retention due to teacher migration to peri-urban and urban schools; lack of resources and infrastructure; and socio-economic inequalities facing communities, public-private-partnerships with a common vision need to be encouraged to address these challenges and change the narrative to deliver good quality education and support to rural schools,” Mthethwa said.
Additional support provided by the programme includes the introduction of subject forums at school level, designed to create a community of support and knowledge within the schools. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) at cluster level were also introduced in order to make it possible for all educators of all supported schools to converge at a common place and discuss curriculum issues relevant to their subjects. PLCs provided a platform for educators, Subjects Advisors and KST mentors to share best practices, discuss challenges experienced by the schools as well as provide feedback on previous assessments. PLCs also form the basis of the sustainability strategy of KST to ensure skills transfer and sound practices long after KST has exited.