The Foundation hosted a Conference and Appreciation Event at Durban’s Elangeni and Maharani Hotel on 19 August 2016 to mark the end of the Zenex Learner Support Programme which has been rolled out since 2005. The Programme comprises the ISASA M&E Project and the Inkanyezi Project, which are fielding the last cohort of Grade 12 learners in 2016. The Conference was attended by over 120 individuals from the project schools and their peer and neighbouring schools from across the country, as well as district representatives from various education districts in KwaZulu-Natal.
The events represented an opportunity to reflect and share what worked in the Programme and what can be replicated. Project practitioners (teachers, mentors, principals as well as NGOs and consultants that partnered with Zenex in the roll out of the projects) developed the tools, resources and case studies which were shared at the Conference. They also delivered presentations in the three different streams at the Conference, namely:
1. School Clubs and Communities of Practice in Mathematics, Science and English: Benefits and Tools. The topics presented under this stream were:
- Making the most of academic clubs, presented by Ms Zelda Moodley, HOD for Commerce at New Forest High School
- The value of Reading Clubs, presented by Dawn Haynes, CASME Facilitator
- High school learners providing peer support, presented by Brad McLeary, Peer Tuition Programme, Pinetown Girls High School
- The benefits of building teacher Communities of Practice, presented by Inkanyezi Project teachers
2. Creative Models of High School Learner Academic Support and Mentorship. The topics presented under this stream were:
- Catch-up programme: before-school academic support, presented by Mr Inderan Govender, Principal, Effingham Secondary School
- Catch-up programme: after-school academic support, presented by Mr Dennis Moodley, HOD, Port Shepstone Secondary
- Psycho-social support – the role of mentorship in improving learner performance, presented by Mr Manzini Zungu, Educator, Kearsney College
- Providing career guidance and tertiary access support to high school learners, presented by Mr Robert Stephens, Managing Director, Tsebo Education Network
3. Creative School Leadership Practices in the Current Policy Context. The topics under this stream were:
- Extending the benefits of a funded project to the whole school, presented by Mr Brian Muller, Principal, Umbilo Secondary School
- Creative ways of applying staff development policies in schools, presented by Ms Cherie Pet, Principal, New Forest High School
- Operationalising the language policy within the context of a KwaZulu-Natal school, presented by Ms Judy Tate, Principal, Inanda Seminary
- Using a parent mentorship programme to improve school performance, presented by Ms Gail Richards, Concerned parent, Umbilo Secondary School
Prof. Mary Metcalfe from the Wits School of Governance; Ms Sanjana Janardhanan from Ashoka Change-makers and Prof. Paul Hobden from Quality Projects in Education were secured as keynote speakers. They spoke on supporting Mathematics, Science and English at high school level; sustaining educational change in schools, and sharing lessons from evaluation and tracing the impact of the Zenex Learner Programme, respectively. Dr Jane Hofmeyr represented the Zenex Trustees and provided a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the Learner Programme from learner placement to the provision of whole school support.
The sharing of lessons at the Conference culminated in an Appreciation event in the evening to thank project partners and beneficiaries for their contribution towards the achievement of programme goals and objectives.
The whole-day-gathering was fitting farewell to a Programme that has yielded impressive results in the past 10 years. See the attached presentation for the outputs of the Zenex High School Learner Support Programme.
See image gallery below for some of the moments captured at the gala dinner