Quick Brief: 6 September 2006

Competing mining companies in the same team for education development

The National Business Initiative (NBI) through its Education Quality Improvement Partnerships (EQUIP) programme is mobilizing business leadership and companies to make a difference in the education sector by supporting quality teaching and schooling. In an initiative to strengthen human capital development through education and skills development, Kumba Resources has partnered with Implats (one of its major competitors) for the benefit of five disadvantaged schools in KwaThema, east of Johannesburg.

Under an agreement with the NBI, Kumba Resources has been supporting the EQUIP programme since May this year. EQUIP is a three year school development programme focusing on the improvement of school leadership, management and governance as well as on the management and delivery of the curriculum, with a particular focus on the professional development of Maths and Science teachers, and direct support of their work in the classroom. The programme is delivered in close and formalised partnerships with the relevant provincial education departments. In this case, EQUIP works closely with officials from the Ekurhuleni East District of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE).

To enhance the programme, Kumba Resources supported by the District encouraged the NBI to negotiate programme integration with two service providers additional to the primary delivery organisation which EQUIP manages in the KwaThema project. These are Edupac, which offers installation of and training in a comprehensive school management information system, and Junior Achievement South Africa, that provides economic awareness, business education and entrepreneurship training in imaginative and competitive ways to teachers and learners in target schools.

After EQUIP’s team had drafted an integrated partnership business plan to Kumba Resource’s approval, the company made the unusual move to suggest approaches to potential funding partners to carry the additional costs that would arise from the envisaged addition to the standard EQUIP offerings. Kumba Resources requested the NBI to draft an adjusted partnership proposal and then initiated discussions with Impats, which also has mining interests in the areas around Springs and KwaThema. Implats came on board after short presentations done by key role payers, which included EQUIP facilitators, GDE and Kumba Resources representatives. This partnership will bring a new dimension to development delivery for EQUIP and opens the way for the development of a replicable model to be implemented in other areas.

Kumba Resources has also made it clear that it views this project as a piloting exercise which will be taken forward to school clusters in the company’s operations around Delmas and the Midvaal. Helmut Bertelsmann, EQUIP programme manager commented: “This is the first time in EQUIP’s history of almost ten years that it will operate within a jointly funded project  “a project by which Kumba Resources may well have set an example of putting development as a priority.”

The official launch of the new partnership will coincide with the presentation of the comprehensive baseline report on the functionality and effectiveness of the four primary schools and one high school, at which this historic event will be given formal recognition by all stakeholders, including the school communities who are to benefit from this brave new way of doing things in school development support.

For more information about EQUIP programme, contact Helmut Bertelsmann on +27 11 544 6000 or email (Bertelsmann.helmut@nbi.org.za)

Edupac Guardian

Edupac Employee