Thousands of children from the Eastern Cape’s rural areas will be readied for higher education through a long-term partnership between NMMU and the Ikamvelihle Development Trust.
At least 5 000 pupils from more than 10 schools in Cala, along with their feeder primary schools, will benefit from the partnership.
Ikamvelihle Development Trust founder Dr Lindiwe Msengana-Ndlela said the partnership was important as teachers and pupils were often left to fend for themselves in a vicious cycle of poverty.
“This is a cycle we intend to break with the support of partners organisations such as NMMU,” she said.
“There are week-long campaigns such as book week and library week that schools in these remote areas don’t participate in.
“We appreciate that NMMU has agreed to go all out and bring resources to these schools.”
School principals welcomed the intervention.
Cala Village Senior Secondary School principal Lungile Puza said the move was much-needed in the poverty-stricken area.
“We are in a very remote area with many of our pupils not being exposed to resources that would give them an idea of what kind of career to pursue,” Puza said.
“The trust has given us examples of what to expect when entering the real world and what opportunities to pursue.”
Puza said teaching and completing the syllabus alone was not enough to prepare pupils for a life outside high school.
“It is heartbreaking when promising pupils end up not pursuing a university qualification simply because their unemployed parents did not know how to help them access things like application forms,” Puza said.
At least five faculties at NMMU will be directly involved, with the education faculty already engaging with school principals and teachers to assess the schools’ needs.
Other faculties include the engineering, built environment, sciences and information technologies faculties.
NMMU spokeswoman Zandile Mbabela said the partnership was in its early stages, but teacher training workshops were among NMMU’s plans towards “imagining the perfect school”.
“The team from NMMU is due to return to the area to conduct teacher training workshops on creating the type of leadership necessary to bring about the change that is dreamed of or imagined for the schools,” she said.