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Business leaders urged to use knowledge and skills to improve education in SA

Socially conscious business leaders across South Africa: this is your opportunity to use your knowledge and skills to help create #TheFutureWeWant

Symphonia for South Africa (SSA) is calling on business leaders to commit to its Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme in 2021. This is an opportunity to contribute to education through a partnership with a principal from an under-resourced school while benefiting from a hands-on experience that is designed to hone leadership skills.

#TheFutureWeWant is a vision of what is possible if all South Africans work together to achieve a common goal: quality education for all children. Research tells us that one of the main characteristics of a successful school is a capacitated and energised school principal. If school leaders are key drivers of quality education, then tapping into the vast pool of skills and experience available within the business sector to support their development makes total sense.

PfP does exactly this – partnering socially conscious business leaders with school principals so that they can become agents of change who find their own solutions to the problems their schools face. Principals from under-resourced schools and their business partners both partake in a 12-month journey of leadership growth in which much of the learning occurs as they tackle challenges together in schools. The business leaders benefit from a hands-on experience that is designed to hone their leadership skills too – in a set-up vastly different from their working environments  ̶  a school that is burdened by multiple persistent challenges; some systemic, others unique.

Most school principals in South Africa face formidable leadership challenges, including inadequate school infrastructure and learning resources, demotivated teachers, impoverished learners and communities who feel disenfranchised and disillusioned.  In stark contrast to the experience of school principals, who arguably lead the country’s most important institutions, the leaders in South Africa’s business community have typically been very well-equipped by their various organisations to assume leadership positions and manage change.

Within 10 years, the PfP programme has reached over 1,500 under-resourced schools across all nine of South Africa’s provinces and has touched the lives of over a million learners. #TheFutureWeWant campaign aims to reach a further 600 schools within the next two years. This would realise our goal of reaching 2,000 schools (about 10% of the under-resourced schools in South Africa) by 2022.

PfP has been endorsed by prominent South African thought leaders, including former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Distinguished Professor of Education at Stellenbosch University, Jonathan Jansen and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu. The programme has also received local and international accolades for its work in education and leadership development.

Interested business leaders can make contact at Dorcas@Symphonia.net. Alternatively, if you know someone who may be interested, please forward our details to them.