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EDUCATION: GMSA Foundation Improvement Toolkit for Schools is on A Roll

 



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LUSIKISIKI - An innovative toolkit developed by the General Motors South Africa (GMSA) Foundation for schools to develop and manage their own improvement plans has embarked on a countrywide roll-out to the rural Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

The web-based Whole School Self-Evaluation (WSSE) toolkit, developed by the GMSA Foundation and successfully implemented in a number of Nelson Mandela Bay schools, was recently rolled-out to 113 schools in Lusikisiki in the rural Eastern Cape, and piloted in 36 schools in 12 districts in KwaZulu-Natal.

"The beauty of this toolkit is that it covers all the areas of the operation of a school, and it includes all stakeholders. Together, they focus on the whole school development so that they can change the whole school.

"It enables schools to identify and prioritise their needs, and to monitor and evaluate implementation in partnership with the national Department of Basic Education," said GMSA Foundation project manager Delia Freemantle.

The WSSE instrument enables schools to measure their own performance and resources in nine key areas:

    Quality of teaching and learning, and educator development
    Curriculum provision & resources
    Learner achievement
    Basic functionality
    Leadership, management, and communication
    Governance & relationships
    School safety, security & discipline
    School infrastructure
    Parent & stakeholder involvement

Freemantle recently trained 518 individuals in the Lusikisiki area - provincial Department of Education officials, school principals, members of school management teams, and parent and learner representatives from school governing bodies - on how to use the web-based toolkit.

Training in KwaZulu-Natal included 45 Education Department officials and management, teacher and parent representatives of 36 schools. "We anticipate that the roll-out will go well because of the wide involvement of all stakeholders. With that level of support and buy-in, they all work together to implement the improvement plans.

"The DBE endorses the programme, supports and mentors the schools, and it assists them to ensure they are delivering to real needs identified by schools themselves. This enables a bottom-up approach to service delivery," Freemantle said.

Needs identified by schools were diverse, she said, ranging from basic infrastructure such as buildings and furniture, to teaching and sports equipment, to additional teachers.

With endorsement from the national DBE and alignment to their school management systems, the toolkit has become an official instrument of the Department and was also replicated in the Western Cape over the past year.

GMSA Foundation general manager Roger Matlock said the project's countrywide roll-out aligned with the Foundation's aim to develop models that could be replicated.

"We don't give away money, and we don't do one-off projects. We develop and implement successful developmental models that influence national policy and can be given away for free to government and other organisations to take and use in their own areas. That the DBE wants this toolkit to be used by all primary and high schools in South Africa, is exactly what we aim to achieve," he said.

Matlock said the WSSE toolkit complemented the Foundation's various other projects aimed at improving teaching, learning and school governance, all of which are implemented in a close working relationship with Education officials.

 

 
 
 
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