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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.

By Henre Benson, Chief Operations Office: CASME (Twitter @henreb)

The Monitoring and Evaluation experience of implementers of education interventions can be traumatic. NGOs, already stretched to capacity, face the prospect of their internal processes being brought under scrutiny, deliverables and dosages counted and outcomes tested. The reality is that in many cases the impact is unclear and attribution is nearly always uncertain. Nobody sets out to fail. Most interventions are based on a theory of change, model or idea (whether rigorously tested or just drawn from years of experience) and a belief that what is intended will work. In many cases that belief is well founded as these initiatives are changing lives. There are countless personal stories of learners, schools and teachers presented with new opportunities, brighter futures and hope as a result of training, support or an essential resource provided.

By Melissa King

Not so long ago, evaluation was considered a specialist niche area of expertise: a mysterious and highly technical undertaking only to be carried out by the initiated. There is growing recognition, however, that M&E processes and frameworks are an essential part of all education project work, and that those involved in programmes aiming to improve learner outcomes need to strengthen their understanding of the goals, methodologies and practices of M&E. There is a need to build our collective capacity in M&E, not just as individuals, but as a community working for educational change. Monitoring and evaluation is everyone’s responsibility.

Picture this scene: It is 10 am on a Monday morning, and the room is filled with evaluators, programme managers, implementers, funders, policymakers and beneficiaries. As joint stakeholders vested in the success of their programme, they have gathered to agree on an evaluation framework which will guide the evaluation. However, whilst some of them understand the meeting’s purpose and know how to proceed with the task at hand, others have never even heard of a ‘theory of change,’ let alone previously seen an evaluation framework. The meeting progresses then, with a few voices tending to dominate the discussion as the others scramble to keep up with proceedings.

By Nompumelelo Mohohlwane

Evidence-based research, monitoring and evaluation is foundational to rational decision-making when informing policies, programmes and interventions. This is imperative for public policy to have an impact on service delivery, and especially so in the education sector. The information derived from this evidence base determines the value or merit of programmes or policy options by identifying standards, performing empirical investigations using various techniques and integrating these findings into conclusions and recommendations for the sector. In the short-term, this is helpful for programme managers to improve performance and accountability. In the long-term, the knowledge generated for the sector could inform broader programme and policy design, and practices beyond the programme being evaluated.

By Professor Brahm Fleisch

Over the past, decade, there has been a resurgence of interest in evidence-informed education policies and programmes in South Africa. Specifically, there is a growing recognition that rigorous research designs, particularly designs that include ‘counterfactuals’ can provide strong findings into what works to improve learning outcomes.

Any organisation that is committed to improving the quality of evaluations understands that one of the most critical steps is getting the design right. Our own experience in M&E, particularly in designing evaluations has evolved over the years. We see evaluation design as the structure of the evaluation that will provide information/data to answer evaluation questions. The design is determined by the purpose of the evaluation, the programme theory of change, the evaluation questions and of course, the budget.

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