10 June 2019, Komani, South Africa: Another tranche of bursary
money has been released to the Queenstown Education Foundation (QEF) by the
Johannesburg-based Education Endowment Fund (EEF), assisting the Foundation to attract
and retain exceptional talent to a number of its Komani-based affiliate schools.
Before its name change in 2016, Komani was known as Queenstown.
R77 000 in total has been awarded for equal disbursement to
seven applicants from different grades who applied for a QEF bursary through a
number of QEF’s affiliated schools: Queenstown Girls’ High School, Queen’s
College Boys’ High School, Hoërskool Hangklip High
School , Laerskool Hangklip and
Balmoral Girls’ Primary School. The awarded bursaries of R11 000 each cover
a large portion of these learners’ school fees. Each come from disadvantaged
backgrounds and holds a record of extra-ordinary academic performance.
The bursary scheme sits among various programmes that QEF,
now in its sixth year, employs to systematically transform the Eastern Cape
town of Komani, formerly known as Queenstown, into a universally recognised
centre of educational excellence. QEF- affiliated schools offer their learners
the opportunity to gain excellent education within
their own community and upon graduation, these individuals become assets to the
community that helped shaped them.
The EEF, a non-profit company, manages and distributes monies raised by, among other things, its fund raising event, the 1965Ride, an 850km cycle tour between Johannesburg and Komani. EEF’s aim is to support, enhance and develop education throughout South Africa, with the Komani / Queenstown region close to its heart.
It is School Governing Body (SGB) election season in public schools all around South Africa until the end of March 2021 and two schools in the rural Eastern Cape town of Komani are the first in their province to have employed a comprehensive online voting system, making it easier for parents to influence that their children’s schools are well governed.
SGB members are volunteers who sit for a period of three years, together with the Principal (by virtue of his or her official capacity) and, at times, co-opted members, to promote the best interest of the school. Parents, staff, teachers as well as learners form part of the SGB elections.
Queen’s College Boys’ High School and Balmoral Girls’ Primary School elected to pilot VotingCrowd (cloud based voting software), acclaimed by the Eastern Cape Department of Basic Education, as well as FEDSAS and the GBE as being the only such SGB-compliant system currently available.
Users voted by means of an app or by using internet browsers and their votes are stored forever in case an audit is ever necessary. For those parents without access to data, an electronic voting booth at the school was also available. The process also catered for the possibility of a duly entitled parent who did not appear on the schools’ voters roll.
Quorums were quickly reached in the innovative online process and both participating schools enjoyed a higher rate of voting than in previous years. They are also contemplating using such software for RCL elections in future.
Queenstown Education Foundation (QEF) Director Andrew Alt spearheaded the project of piloting the new online platform in two of its member schools who form part of a 11-school network in Komani and beyond. Together, the schools are invested in transforming the town into a universally-recognised centre of educational excellence. Says Alt, “We hope next year more of our schools will embrace this technology. The legitimacy and quality of SGBs is directly driven by the level of participation, anything that improves the ease with which parents can vote is a very good thing.”
SGB members are volunteers who sit for a period of three years, together with the Principal (by virtue of his or her official capacity) and, at times, co-opted members, to promote the best interest of the school by adopting a constitution , a mission statement and a code of conduct which sets out disciplinary procedures for learners at the school. It also decides on school policy including, amongst others, admissions, language and finance.
Among the network of collaborating public and private schools in Komani, affiliated to the Queenstown Education Foundation (QEF), situated in the rural Eastern Cape Chris Hani West District, are educational leaders who have just upped their ante in the National Senior Certificate exams of 2020, despite last year’s Covid chaos.
All five of QEF’s affiliated high schools who wrote the National Senior Certificate, with the exception of one, surpassed the national and provincial average pass rate. They all scored 90% or higher, against the District’s average of 70.5% and the national average of 76.2%.
High schools affiliated to the foundation include Queenstown Girls’ High School, Queen’s College Boys’ High School, Get Ahead College, Hoerskool Hangklip and Hexagon High. Stanford Lake College, QEF’s remote member, meanwhile wrote the IEB.
QEF AFFILIATED HIGH SCHOOLS
The highest academically-achieving school amongst them, Queenstown Girls High School is its province’s only school to enjoy 29 successive years of a 100% pass rate. Its Class of 2020 also ranked third in the province for a Batchelor’s Pass rate of 92% and nine A aggregates. GHS matriculant Sharon Jomon received the accolade of the Premier’s 2020 Top Achiever award.
Other noteworthy achievements among the group were year on year increases. Queen’s College increased its number of Batchelor Passes and number of distinctions, Hoerskool Hangklip increased its Batchelor Pass rate, Get Ahead College’s increased its overall pass rate as well as its number of Batchelor Passes and distinctions and Hexagon High increased its overall pass rate as well as its number of Batchelor Passes. Both GAP College and Hexagon also scored a greater percentage of distinctions per learner than the EC provincial average. Stanford Lake College in Limpopo, which subscribes to QEF’s overarching digital network meanwhile celebrates a 100% pass rate and 87% Batchelor Pass rate, with 2.05 distinctions per matriculant.
During the 2020 academic year, QEF convened a number of Zoom meetings among the leadership of its affiliated collaborating schools, assisting them to consult with one another and devise innovative strategies on how to survive and thrive within the chaos of Covid.
Chairman of QEF Roddy Sutton contextualises the role of collaboration in performance. “The ability to work collaboratively with others is becoming an essential component of improving school performance during the 4th Industrial Revolution. We’ve created a model that anchors the school improvement process around 4IR skills of communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. We extend heartfelt thanks to all of educators, SGB members, the parent community and extended partners for the role you play in realising our exciting vision.”
At its award ceremony last night Mr Nicky De Bruyn, Director of the Eastern Cape Department of Education’s Chris Hani West District, remarked that his department is now intent on defending their 2020 position as Top 3 in the province, either by maintaining it or, at best, improving it.
You are inspiring school students here in South Africa’s Eastern Cape town of #Komani with blatant and secret aspirations for a career in engineering and/or space exploration. With our multiple member schools, and international partners, soon to be announced, we are in the process of helping them. Our new #QEFSpaceExplorationClub is forming.
Watch this space, as we continue watching humanity’s entire galactical space, in all its glory!
Meet 11 visionary Eastern Cape schools whose formal collaboration is setting the stage for transforming our town Komani (formerly known as Queenstown) into a universally-recognisable centre of educational excellence.
Collaborating at different levels, these schools are excited to be part of: ~ An Overarching Digital Network (ODN), ~ Multi-School Fundraising, ~ A Space Exploration Club~ A Mathematics Community of Practice ~ A Systemic Learner and Well-being Intervention ~ A School Leader Dialogue Series
We proudly announce the Queenstown Education Foundation’s first ever Grade 7 Mathematics Common Assessment Paper which has just been written by learners of seven primary schools affiliated to our Foundation, situated within the Eastern Cape town of Komani/Queenstown, and surrounds.
Although Common Assessment Papers already exist (for example IEB’s Core Competencies exam and the Conquesta Exams), the QEF Gr 7 Common Assessment is unique in that it is the result of a development process that fostered inter-school dialogue and cross-learnings between Gr 7 and Gr 8 Maths teachers teaching at various schools within the same town.
The subject of their discussions was centered around the guiding question: How do we create exceptional confidence around matric Maths?
We started in June this year, included 20 Maths teachers in a Community of Practice and discussed what Maths textbooks, topics, skills, competencies and attitudes would empower learners to most confidently enter Gr 8 Maths and go on to succeed in their Matric Maths.
These topics will deepen next year with (we hope) more opportunity to meet face-to-face.
The QEF paper covers the total year’s syllabus and each Gr 7 teacher chose for themselves whether to use it only, or in conjunction with their own year-end paper. Each school remains autonomous in this. Much of the Gr 8 intake of QEF-affiliated high schools comes from local QEF-affiliated primary schools. The paper is however not intended as a tool to assess promotion to Gr 8.
The scripts are now in the process of being marked and moderated by Gr 7 teachers Mathews Koshy (Queen’s College Boys’ Primary School), Roche de Villiers (Laerskool Hangklip Primary), Karen Coetzer (Balmoral Girls’ Primary School), Cheroldine Morrison (Q GAP), Ryan Nel (Southbourne Primary), Sandra Prinsloo (Stepping Stone Primary) and Patrick Aadejei (Whit GAP).
Words of Thanks Thanks go to all the participants in our Maths Common Assessment Task Team who contributed their perspective and time to lift this project off the ground in order to move a step closer in realising QEF’s vision of transforming Queenstown into a centre of universally-recognised educational excellence.
Thanks also especially go to Mathews Koshy for volunteering to set this year’s first paper (The team deliberated on his marking memo with him). Thanks also go to Roche De Villiers for translating it into Afrikaans and to Charwin Knoetze for her assistance in typesetting both papers.
Besides the Gr 7 teachers mentioned above, the Task Team also included these Maths boff teachers from our various affiliated school: Les Vincent (Queen’s College Boys’ High School), Colin Hartley (Queen’s College Boys’ Primary School), Grant Knoetze (Queen’s College Boys’ Primary School), Shelly Goldschmidt (QTN Girls’ High School), Angelique van Wyk (Hoerskool Hangklip), Chanelle Bredenkamp (QTN Girls’ High School), Nicholas Zata (Get Ahead College), Surprise Mdlala (Get Ahead College); Arno Swart (Southbourne Primary), John Duncan (Laerskool Hangklip), Megan Jackson (Hexagon High School) and Wandisile Maseko (Hexagon High School)
This morning we attended Get Ahead College‘s launch of its #4iR Classroom and felt the buzz of excitement as the ribbon was cut, making way for the reveal of its innovative hardware. GAP is a subscriber of QEF’s Overarching Digital Network (ODN) and we are thrilled to see how GAP is pushing the boundaries in high school education within our town, Komani.
QEF promotes that we count on our educational leaders to embrace technology, to generate solutions and drive the kind of transformation that offers magnificent opportunities to school learners studying in Komani.
Congratulations to Executive Director Vicki Du Preez and Principal Pieter Steyn on your new space, and to all those who collaborated to make it happen: Get Ahead Board member, pilot and Founder of Sakhikamva Foundation Fatima Jakoet and sponsor SoftwareAG.
We join the worldwide community in celebrating and thanking all the educators in our affiliated schools here in the Eastern Cape, who teach, inspire and care for the youth of our town. Our country’s future leaders are nurtured and shaped by you!
The focus of our discussion was to explore the programmatic innovations available in South Africa – and internationally – to ensure that learners thrive in the 4IR.
QEF supports a growing network of contrasting and collaborating schools in our rural South African town of Komani (formerly known as Queenstown), to build resilience and innovation together, through technological advancements, cost efficiencies and academic Communities of Practice.
It was good to be surrounded by like-minded organisations. Thank you Bridge!
If you are interested in more detail, you are welcome to read Meeting Highlights published by Bridge.
We congratulate Vicki Du Preez on her appointment as Executive Director to the Get Ahead Schools, one of QEF’s Overarching Digital Network (ODN) subscribers. We wish you every success in your new duties and look forward to your input on all collaboration decisions and opportunities!
For the past three years, Vicki has held the role of Head of Corporate and Community Relations and Fundraising where she was responsible for developing the brand of the Get Ahead Schools in the Komani community, along with fundraising and stakeholder engagement.
Her leadership in Komani’s school community also extends to being the Chair of the School Governing Body of Queenstown Girls’ High School and Vicki also serves as a member of QEF’s Digital Executive Committee.