The partnership between government and the private sector got a boost with the successful completion of yet another project aimed at improving education facilities for learners.
Minister Angie Motshekga officially opened the impressive new Grade R facilities at Mbonisweni Primary School in Hambanathi township in Tongaat, Durban, on Saturday 9 February 2013.
The facilities, built at a cost of R1 million, were donated to the school by the Shanduka Group, via The Adopt-a-School Foundation, which seeks to mobilise the private sector, organisations and individuals to support schools.
Over the last ten years the Adopt-A-School foundation has adopted more than 130 schools across the country and has extended its reach to neighbouring countries as well. Minister Motshekga was accompanied by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Education, Senzo Mchunu and Shanduka Executive Chairperson, Cyril Ramaphosa.
As part of the upgraded facilities, the Grade R centre at the school received two new classrooms with a sick bay, fully equipped play area and upgraded bathroom facilities.
Speaking at the school, Minister Motshekga hailed the work done by organisations such as the Adopt-A-School Foundation and reminded the community of the importance of early childhood education.
“The first five years of a child’s education are the most important, those years are make or break,” said the Minister. “These years set a good foundation for their future education and KZN is leading the way.”
“The province has the highest enrolment in the country for learners doing ECD, this facility will assist in reaching the goal of universal ECD coverage by 2014.”
The school Principal Ziphiwo Mahlobo welcomed the donation as one of the most important days in the school’s history.
“I was one of the first teachers employed at this school in 1985 and it makes me proud to see that our hard work at the school is being recognised. The addition of the new Grade R facilities will cement our school as the number one choice for parents in the area,” said Mrs Mahlobo.
Speaking on behalf of the Shanduka Group, Mr Ramaphosa said that the facility was a testament to the importance of business and government working together.
“This project was built using local people and local skills and highlights. If you don’t get education right in Grade R, learners will not achieve their true potential and we will continue to support this school and make it one of the best in the province,” said Mr Ramaphosa, who also pledged to upgrade the school’s computer lab.
KZN MEC for Education Senzo Mchunu also announced on the day that the Provincial Department would soon start construction on a third Grade R classroom at the school.