Creating partnerships for a better future

KAYLYNN PALM

Entrepreneurs were briefed last week on a programme run by a public benefit organisation that calls for them to share their business savvy with school principals.

The information session was held at the Oude Molen Academy of Science and Technology in Pinelands on Wednesday February 3. It was run by Merlinda Abrahams, from Partners for Possibility (PfP), which is the flagship programme of Bellville-based non-profit organisation, Symphonia for South Africa (SSA).

Ms Abrahams says PfP offers a creative solution to the current education crisis by forging partnerships between school principals and business people as well as with government and the social sector.

SSA’s vision is quality education for all children in South Africa by 2025. PfP was running in 129 schools last year and they want to add 99 more schools this year.

Cherie Williams-Meyer, the principal of Cornflower Primary School in Lentegeur and Montague Drive Primary in Portland, said the school had been involved with the programme since October last year.

Ms Williams-Meyer said her partnership with a life coach had been beneficial.

“We have developed a relationship and are working plan as to what we are going to address at the school. Because he runs a business, he is assisting me with business skills because in the teaching degree, we don’t really focus on business. This will be helpful for our school and will benefit us in terms of finances,” she said.

Ms Williams-Meyer said plans included active staff and community involvement. “This is a school in the community and belongs to pupils, parents and the community, with their assistance and support, the school can be even better than what it currently is,” she said.

The PfP Programme was founded in 2010 by director and founder Louise van Rhyn. She was the first business leader to partner with a principal in an effort to improve a school’s education outcomes.

“The PfP initiative speaks to the idea that enhancing the quality of education, improving the school environment and encouraging engagement between parents and teachers are meaningful and attainable goals that would provide an upward spiral of real change in society,” she said.

Proponents of PfP believe that by placing the school at the centre of community, a radical transformation can be achieved in the education sector.

“There is a direct correlation between good school leadership and educational outcomes. Most school principals in South Africa have not been equipped with the skills and knowledge for their critically important leadership role.

“Our organisation exists to ignite change in South Africa by enlisting a community of passionate, active citizens. We can all walk – and work – together for our children’s future,” said Ms Abrahams.