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The Zenex Literacy Project (ZenLit) that commenced in 2014 reached its final year of implementation in 2017. Between 2014 and 2017, the Zenex Foundation designed and tested a model for improving the way literacy at Foundation Phase in both Home Language (HL) and English First Additional Language (EFAL) is taught and learnt. When the project was completed, the Zenex Board approved an extension of the coaching component of the project. The approval for the extension was informed by evaluation findings which showed that coaching plays a big role in ensuring that good teaching and learning practices are embedded.

The evaluation of the Zenex Literacy Project (ZenLit) was conducted by the Evaluation Research Agency (ERA), based at the Stellenbosch University. The Project was evaluated over a three-year period (from 2014 – 2017), using a framework which included repeated measures testing and control schools.

The Zenex Foundation hosted a seminar to present final evaluation findings; reflect on the lessons and impact, and encourage take up and utilisation of knowledge drawn from its Learner Support Programme (see the Inkanyezi Learner Placement Project and the ISASA Mathematics & English Learner Placement Project). The Programme was rolled out from 2005 – 2016 in independent and public schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape Provinces. The Programme placed Black (African, Coloured and Indian) learners with potential in Mathematics, Science and English in high schools with a proven track record of good performance in these subjects, to increase the pool of learners achieving quality passes in technical subjects. As part of the reflection process, Zenex asked Angelo Fick to serve as guest speaker and to share his thoughts on the link between academic achievement and excellence. Mr Fick produced an article on critical literacy, citizenship, and the value of education in contemporary South Africa. Angelo Fick recently joined ASRI as the Director of Research. Before joining ASRI, he spent nearly half a decade as a resident current affairs and news analyst at eNCA, a 24 hours news broadcaster in South Africa. For two decades he taught across a variety of disciplines in the Humanities and Applied Sciences in universities in South Africa and Europe.

“Knowledge has no value unless you use and share it.” These words from Mehwish Mahrukh encapsulate the Zenex Foundation’s theme in 2018.

At the end of 2017, the Zenex Foundation completed a stakeholder survey to gauge our stakeholders' perceptions of the Foundation. The feedback from the survey was intended to inform our future strategy and influence our communications. Among the key findings was a strong call for more frequent and regular information and knowledge about the Foundation’s work, activities and developments.

Zenex Foundation has recently said goodbye to a key staff member who we’ll miss! But we are also happy to welcome some young blood to the team.

In April 2018, Zenex bade farewell to Dr Andile Dube, who joined Zenex in 2015 as Senior Programme Manager responsible for Systemic Programmes, and had been promoted to Director of Programmes by the time of her departure. She left Zenex to take on the exciting opportunity of heading up the Vodacom Foundation - Education.

The Zenex Foundation bids farewell to two respected and long-serving members of the Board, Dr Jane Hofmeyr and Sir Michael Oliver, who retired as Trustees in 2017 after 20 and 14 years of service respectively.

While saying goodbye is never easy, it has afforded their fellow Trustees and staff the opportunity to reflect on decades of meaningful contributions and achievements spearheaded by the two Trustees. As Board members, Jane and Michael have built deep institutional memory which has, over the years, cascaded down to Zenex staff and forms the cornerstone of a solid, stable, yet flexible organisation. Looking back on their tenure has been an exercise in gratitude.

The Zenex Foundation is delighted that one of its own Trustees, Sindi Mabaso-Koyana, has been appointed as a Board member at Eskom.

Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Mabaso-Koyana’s appointment as one of the new Board members of the State-Owned Enterprise. The appointment of a new Eskom Board comes at a time in South Africa’s history where there is a heightened sense of hope for accountability in leadership and deliberate efforts to root out corruption.

The Zenex Foundation is delighted to announce that two learners from Ethembeni Enrichment Centre in Port Elizabeth, who are part of the Zenex Sakha Ikamva Project, were recent winners at the English Olympiad at the Schools Festival in Grahamstown. Vuyolwethu Memani came 4th and Sesethu Kasper came 16th in the 2018 English First Additional Language (FAL) Top 20. Congratulations to them both; they have done us proud. 

The Top 8 candidates at the Olympiad win scholarships to Rhodes University for their first year of study in any field of study.  The Top 10 FAL winners receive cash prizes. Consequently, Vuyolwethu wins a first-year scholarship to Rhodes and a cash prize! Well done, Vuyo!

The Zenex Foundation commissioned a landscape review of South African medium to large scale intervention programmes that are aimed at improving learning and teaching in Mathematics. The study provides a picture of the state of interventions in the country, recommendations from experts, and a review of the literature.

Zenex Foundation CEO Gail Campbell reviews the education and grant making environment across four different democratic-era presidents

South Africa has had an interesting 2018 to date, and the strong links between politics, education and grant making are as evident as before.

Politics has been at the epicentre of our lives in South Africa and, certainly, in the first quarter of 2018, we experienced a period of political milestones. We celebrated the 26th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1992, and we had a president resign and a new president elected. These changes resulted in a heightened sense of energy and hopes for a more accountable government with deliberate efforts to root out corruption.