Learners in action
This case study focuses on the PfP partnership established at Makgongoana High School, a school with 890 learners and 27 teachers.
School principal Shapule Modjadji and business leader Mapinni Masegela developed a wonderful relationship and said they consider their pairing as a blessing and feel honoured to have been part of ‘a life-changing programme’. Both partners report having experienced real personal growth during their journey together.
After meeting with a range of school’s stakeholders to agree priorities, the partners implemented a number of activities to address various challenges at the school.
School background and challenges: Makgongoana High is situated in Makanye Village, 30km from Polokwane. The school serves a diverse community of learners from the surrounding villages and there are currently 890 learners from Grades 8 to 12 enrolled at the school. Enrollment has been steadily increasing and classrooms have become overcrowded. This makes it difficult, or impossible, for teachers to implement certain instructional practices and means that learners are more likely to suffer distractions.
Large class sizes are indeed negatively affecting the learners’ academic performance and their performance has been fluctuating between 20 and 40 percent in the past two years.
Other problems that the principal and teachers face include learners’ lack of disciple, high incidence of pregnancy, substance abuse, vandalism, lack of learner motivation, little parental involvement, low staff morale and the poor condition of school’s infrastructure.
Getting to know each other and building a relationship:Shapule and Mapinini complement each other very well and they developed a wonderful relationship and strong partnership based on mutual trust, appreciation, respect and clear and regular communication. Mapinini is the SGB chairperson in a different school, so he understands what goes on in a school and is able to shares effective practices with her. Shapule also finds Mapinini to be ‘very kind, caring and supportive’.
Both partners joined the PfP programme with an open-mind, willingness to learn and intention to make the most of the opportunity. In certain respects, Shapule’s mind-set has changed significantly since she joined the programme and she has realized that solutions to challenges at the school begin with her as leader.
For both partners, Flawless Consulting was particularly empowering. They realized that they act as consultants every day and the contracting skills they acquired have enabled them to communicate more effectively, to deal with resistance, and say ‘no’ when they need to. ‘The workshop taught me how to establish and maintain relationships with my SGB, SMT, teachers and learners,’ says Shapule, adding ‘I am able to say no and this has improved my relations and gained me respect.’.
The partners’ work to strengthen the school: After conducting a comprehensive school needs assessment Shapule and Mapinini drafted a partnership plan which specifies several objectives and numerous activities that they believe will benefit the school and its community. Activities they have implemented to date include:
- A team building workshop for the teachers conducted using Community Building principles.
- An induction session for the School Governing Body to clarify their roles and responsibilities.
- A vegetable garden established and fenced with active participation by community members. Although the school already had a vegetable garden prior to PfP, their partnership and the example set by other partnerships in their circle inspired them to do more work on it. Through the Department of Public Works’ EPWP programme, they were able to employ community members to work in the vegetable garden and plant trees.
- Entered the Green School project in Capricorn District and won in 5th place and a prize of R3,000
- Secured a batch of new desks from the education department
- Conducted a successful spring camp at the school to help improve learners’ academic performance
In addition to the above-mentioned activities, the partners the arranged for the South African Police Service to conduct a workshop at the school to help reduce substance abuse, crime and vandalism, and for nurses from the local clinic to conduct a reproductive health session with female learners. They also introduced a weekly yard cleaning plan with involvement by community members and gave a motivational talk to the Grade 12 before their before final exams.
Future plans: Although the partners have already achieved a lot together, they plan to keep working together to achieve additional ambitious objectives which include establishing a library, building a school hall, developing a sports field and increasing parental involvement.
School Management Team and Governing Body members
Teachers attending team building
PfP Partners planting a tree
Vegetable garden established by school & community