Learners from Mohlakaneng Primary School, in QwaQwa in the Free State, enjoy Physical Education activities as part of MRP Foundation’ Schools Programme. Photograph: MRP Foundation / Pierre Tostee
MRP Foundation Schools Programme expands to include 20 Primary Schools in QwaQwa with 98 schools and over 64,000 learners now impacted daily in four provinces.
Physical Education and Creatives Arts are currently being implemented in QwaQwa with the Eco Schools programme to follow in 2020.
MRP Foundation Schools is a holistic model touching on school leadership and management, community and parental involvement, educator and learner development.
Long term programme objectives are to sustainably empower school leaders and educators to provide quality education to learners.
It’s a sunny day and Primary School learners from Mohlakaneng Primary School, in QwaQwa, are excited about their Physical Education (PE) lessons, facilitated by their teachers together with MRP Foundation PE facilitators. Although PE is part of the South African Life Skills syllabus, many educators lack the practical skills regarding activities to be implemented in lessons, a reality MRP Foundation is rectifying through its Schools Programme.
MRP Foundation’s Schools Programme upskills schools in low-income areas with invaluable educational knowledge and management tools to provide an improved level of education to their learners. Twenty primary schools in QwaQwa, in the Free State, were selected for the programme in 2018 with Year 1 of the programme (2019) focusing on mentoring school leaders and rolling out PE lessons to learners.
By focusing on parent and community involvement, school management and leadership, learner development and educator development, the holistic schools programme unlocks and develops learner potential. Quality education and holistic interventions of the programme include: PE, Maths, Science, English, Creative Arts and Environmental Awareness programmes.
Community stakeholders are also consulted and on MRP Foundation’s most recent visit, the team met with Department of Education officials to introduce the programme facilitators to the various interventions that are curriculum aligned. Showcasing partnership in action and community engagement, eleven local youth, previously unemployed, have also been employed as Creative Arts and PE Programme Facilitators to help implement the Schools Programme.
Mr Bongani Chabalala, Senior Education Specialist for Thabo Mofutsanyana Education District, explained how, “It is difficult for teachers to cope with Physical Education and come up with activities to match the syllabus. Educators were trained and now they are confident teaching Physical Education.”
PE advocates for healthy bodies, which leads to healthy minds, a concept that has already been proved through MRP Foundation’s Soccer League, which is now run independently by the district. The Foundation first worked with QwaQwa Schools in 2013 and in 2018, five of the eight League schools achieved over 80% pass rate with 3 achieving 100% pass rate (*only 5 schools have a matric class).
MRP Foundation has been involved with education for the past decade and has engaged with implementation partners, specialists in education, to fine-tune the holistic schools model to responsibly scale it to reach as many schools as possible. To build a strong foundation for school success, programme initiatives are introduced yearly, based on commitment and achievement of milestones. MRP Foundation will exit the cluster after six years, a point Karen Wells, Head of MRP Foundation, expounds upon.
“Quality education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality so we are thrilled to be partnering with 20 primary schools from the beautiful region of QwaQwa to tackle challenges in education. We have been impressed by the schools’ commitment and dedication to working with us to improve education. School leaders and educators can be the change champions in their regions and our hope is to see all stakeholders take full advantage of this programme. The measure of success will be if schools are empowered to provide quality education to learners without assistance from MRP Foundation.”
So far, MRP Foundation’s Schools Programme has expanded to 98 primary schools in 4 provinces, impacting over 64,000 learners in the areas of: Soweto in Gauteng (20 schools), Hammarsdale (20 schools) and Tongaat (20 schools) in KwaZulu-Natal, Mitchell’s Plain in the Western Cape (18 schools) and QwaQwa in the Free State (20 schools). MRP Foundation is also working with The Unlimited Child to support 31 Early Childhood Development Centres in the mountainous QwaQwa region.
MRP Foundation is excited to welcome 20 primary schools in QwaQwa to MRP Foundation’s Schools Programme: Katleho Primary School, Matswakeng Intermediate School, Sekgompepe Primary School, Tseseng Primary School, Makgetheng Primary School, Mohlakaneng Primary School, Phamong Primary School, Thebe ya Kgomo Primary School, Namoha Primary School, Sekgothadi Primary School, Diphakweng Primary School, Hlatseng Intermediate School, Letsha-Le-Maduke Primary School, Lepanya Primary School, Selebalo Primary School, Tswara-Thebe Intermediate School, Makeneng Primary School, Iteboheleng Primary School, Mehloding Primary School and Kopjane Primary School.