Thumbs up for the Mr Price Foundation Schools Programme

17/03/2021

Holistic Schools Programme given the nod of approval by independent researcher 

Learners enjoying the physical education component of the Schools Programme. Archival image: Mr Price Foundation / Pierre Tostee

 

  • The Mr Price Foundation Schools Programme piloted in 2011 with just five schools in KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal

  • An independent researcher evaluated the feasibility of the programme and found the overall outcome to be positive 

  • The holistic education programme scaled to 98 schools in 2018, and additional schools planned in the future

 

With South African learners facing daily challenges to receiving a quality education, the Mr Price Foundation established a Schools programme to help under-resourced schools sustainably deliver quality holistic education. 

The Mr Price Foundation Schools Programme pilot, outworked in five primary schools in KwaDukuza's iLembe District between 2011 and 2018 in KwaZulu-Natal, received support through principal mentorship, educator development, physical education and creative arts. Research has shown that focusing on primary school education helps build key learning blocks for a learner's school journey and future successes. The schools, all within a 30km radius of each other, were: Aldinville Senior Primary School, Kearsney Primary School, Nyakana Combined School, St. Christopher's Primary School and Zilungisele Primary School. 

In the external retrospective evaluation of the programme, the researcher, Benita Williams, concluded that the five-year pilot programme's overall outcome was positive. Schools were still adopting many of the changes after the schools reached the programme's sustainability phase in December 2018. 

In her report, Williams concluded:

  • There was immense support from school principals, educators, and parents and attributed the programme's successful take-off to the buy-in received from these critical role-players.

  • Williams' noted that overall, the programme was "flexible and responsive to lessons learnt during the implementation period," which led to new activities introduced more frequently.

  • Activities were also adapted according to the learners and educators' needs, making the programme more affordable and scalable.

  • The programme design was relevant in addressing the challenges faced by the five schools.

  • The focus on whole school development supported national policies for improving school functionality.

  • Although the programme's initial phase was successful, it was not well-documented due to its newness. This was rectified later on through records captured on an electronic database and once the programme became more established.
     

Furthermore, 18-months after the programme completed, schools stakeholders reported that the new processes implemented by the Schools Programme were sustained. This is encouraging, as it shows the true impact of the programme and is valuable in informing the current Schools Programme. 

The Mr Price Foundation schools programme works with implementation partners such as Jet Education Services to ensure a successful rollout at all schools. Craig Gibbs, Education Specialist Manager from Jet Education Services says, “The interventions introduced as part of the Mr Price Foundation Schools programme in the schools in the Ilembe district helped them implement an effective model of systemic school improvement.” Mr Gibbs adds that the retrospective external evaluation highlighted that the positive impact had been sustained by all the schools after the Mr Price Foundation support had come to an end. 

“This is one of the most encouraging aspects of the collaboration as it highlights that the schools are in a position to maintain the key elements of the programme which will ultimately benefit the learners in the long term,” said Mr Gibbs, who works closely with the school’s team.

Currently, the Mr Price Foundation Schools Programme is active in 98 primary schools across five clusters (Tongaat, Hammarsdale, QwaQwa, Soweto and Mitchells Plain), impacting more than 78,000 learners across South Africa daily. The programme focuses on four key areas to help learners develop and unlock their full potential: parent and community involvement, school management and leadership, learner development and educator development.
 

In keeping with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Mr Price Foundation aims to achieve the 4th goal, Quality Education. Our vision is to see young people in South Africa breaking the cycle of poverty and inequality, goal #1 on the UN's list.


Help break the cycle of poverty and inequality in South Africa! Make a difference in South Africa's youth by donating to the Mr Price Foundation's education and skills development programmes.