Transformational growth and momentum marked at PfP annual celebration

The more than 850 powerful, impactful partnerships between school principals and business leaders across South Africa were celebrated in Sandton, Johannesburg this month.

Sizwe Nxasana, founder of the Sifiso Learning Group and Co-founder and Chairman of the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT), was the guest speaker of PfP’s annual celebration held at the FNB Conference Centre on Tuesday 9 October, which saw partnering organisations, schools, conscious leaders and other PfP stakeholders gather to celebrate the steady growth of the programme.

Passionate about education and its advancement, Nxasana lauded the programmes’s efforts to improve the crippling education system.

‘’As South Africans, we often talk ourselves into depression about the state of our country. But PfP is a story about social cohesion, hope and nation-building.

The PfP concept is aligned with the tenants of the National Development Plan, particularly the call for active citizenship, and is an outlet for people who don’t quite know how to get involved in improving the lot of our people.

PfP also provides a framework and case study of what we need to do in terms of our curriculum.

There is nothing wrong with our children. We, adults, are failing them,’’ he said.  

The celebration event also provided an opportunity for the ceremonial hand over of the coveted World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award which PfP was announced as a winner of in July. Dr Louise van Rhyn, Founder of PfP, expressed the magnitude of this achievement in her address:

‘’The WISE Award is a to huge deal to us. PfP has been recognised as a solution to pressing educational challenge. We are particularly proud, as we know that PfP has pioneered an African solution to an African challenge. The time has come for PfP to transform into a movement.’’

In addition to the WISE Award, PfP’s recent recognition by the Institute of Internal Auditors SA (II SA) in their Guardians of Governance category was also spotlighted. In attendance to present the award to PfP, Dr Claudelle von Eck, CEO of II SA, said this of the II SA’s choice this year:

‘’This year’s choice of a winner was a no-brainer for us. PfP does, indeed, exemplify what this award seeks to recgonise. It was very heart-warming for the board to make this decision. Congratulations to PfP!

Personally, I have vested interest in ensuring that children in this country receive the education they deserve. When I get old, these very same children will become the professionals who will look after my health for instance,’’ she pointed out.

In true PfP style, three partnerships who have completed the 12-month journey presented their transformational experiences of leadership growth.

Retired Anglo American Executive and current Symphonia Board member, Dave Morris, elaborated on why the PfP philosophy resonated with him.

‘’PfP has given meaning to my life. It has added value to my life. I was born in the UK, where I was fortunate to receive a quality education even though I hailed from a relatively humble background.

The state of education in South Africa, in my opinion, is unacceptable. We think that government schools are ‘broken’ – but they are not. It is important that we change that narrative,’’ he said.

Morris’ partner, Lebo Mokwele of Thopodi Primary School in Daveyton, believes that that the more developed one is as a leader, the better the school fares.

‘’I operate under trying conditions. Poverty is the order of the day at my school, with child headed households and the HIV scourge common. Learning how to run my school like a business has helped greatly.’’

Graeme Morrison of Famous Brands, who presented on behalf of his principal partner, Neave Khubeka of Tshwane Secondary School, spoke of a mutual respect and shared vision he and his partner have developed.

‘’Our relationship is a microcosm of what could happen if like-minded people got together and decided to do something. ‘’

Snooky Msibi, principal partner to Symphonia Board member Mahmood Sonday, emphasised the importance of teacher well-being.

‘’Improving teacher morale at Sekwati Primary was our first project. Mahmood and I needed to ensure that the staff understood the importance of their role at school as nation-builders.’’

The evening’s programme also featured a vibrant, energetic dance group affiliated to nonprofit organisation, City Year.

A similar celebration event took place in Cape Town on Monday, 22 October.

PfP is powering ahead to complete 2018 on a high and hopes that active citizens from all walks of life will continue to drive forward this home-grown, innovative solution to South Africa’s education crisis in the new year.

30 November -1, 00:00