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Engineering a solution to SA’s educational problems

Engineering a solution to SA’s educational problems.

There is an engineering solution to most problems. Ask any engineer. Education is no different. Our damaged education system needs to be re-engineered.

It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous statistic than this one: three out of every five young people in South Africa are unemployed, idling at home or roaming free with nothing meaningful to do with their lives. The youth unemployment rate, at its current all-time high of 59%, represents a growing mountain of an estimated 10m mostly unemployable young people, a mountain of squandered potential that South Africa can ill afford.

Mainly due to a damaged education system, and despite the best efforts of educational leaders, each year another 500,000 young people leave the school system with no skills to offer the economy, no dreams to make their lives count in a meaningful way.

HHO has chosen to partner with an organization – Dinaledi – which has its vision a transformation in education where school leaders create a future in which every student has access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Dinaledi is a non-profit organization that has been working in struggling schools in disadvantaged communities since 2009 in close collaboration with the department of education. A coaching approach can transform the culture and system in previously disadvantaged communities by increasing the leadership capacity of the team educators in these schools, which in turn positively influences the lives of their learners. The effectiveness of coaching in schools can be measured in academic outcomes, grade pass rates, and other key metrics.

In 2010, the four schools in Circuit 3 of the Metro North District who participated in the coaching programme outperformed the six other uncoached schools in the same Circuit by 18% in terms of Matric results alone (and this in the year of the widespread teachers’ strike).

In 2017, three of the four schools coached by Dinaledi (Woodlands High, Aloe High, Masiphumelele Senior Secondary) were amongst the five ‘most improved schools’ in the Metro South District, with Masiphumelele the most improved.

All schools who participate in coaching programmes experience significant improvement, and these changes are usually sustained.

Dinaledi’s mission is to strengthen educators’ leadership skills and re-ignite their passion to inspire vulnerable learners to flourish. It aims to create a sustainable, scalable, and impactful model that delivers measurable results and transforms the education system in previously disadvantaged communities.

Dinaledi’s core values are the following:

⦁ A belief in the generosity of civil society to make a difference.
⦁ A belief in the power of transformational conversations.
⦁ A belief in the potential of young people to become SA's future stars.
⦁ A conviction that the education department is the entity best placed to effect change.
⦁ A belief that education transformation is about mindshift and behavioural change, not just curriculum delivery.

Dinaledi runs coaching programmes in schools - currently in selected schools in the Overberg and central educational districts – as well as leadership coaching programmes for selected emerging educational leaders who will form the next tranche of school principals, departmental and subject heads. It’s current annual budget is R4.5m.

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