Anglo American launches investment programme

Anglo American will contribute to the development of 100 schools and 100 early childhood development sites across the country. (Photos: Elaine Banister ©Anglo American)

Anglo American will contribute to the development of 100 schools and 100 early childhood development sites across the country. (Photos: Elaine Banister ©Anglo American)

Anglo American recently launched a major new education programme, in partnership with the department of basic education, to improve outcomes for learners in 100 early childhood development (ECD) sites and 100 primary and secondary schools local to its mining operations in South Africa.

The programme launch took place at Ivory Park Secondary School, near Midrand. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, and Anglo American South Africa deputy chairperson Norman Mbazima spoke at the event.

Anglo American has made substantial investments in education and skills development in South Africa. In the past five years alone it has invested more than R780-million, largely on infrastructure and grade 12 learner support.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and Anglo American SA deputy chairperson Norman Mbazima sign an agreement for the education initiative

“By building on the decades of investment we’ve made in education, we will refocus our resources to provide wide-ranging and quality education, from childhood learning to matric, for the learners in the communities where we operate in South Africa, so that they can build a better tomorrow,” said Mbazima.

Motshekga said: “It is extremely symbolic that as we celebrate 100 years since the birth of our founding president, Tata Nelson Mandela, Anglo American will contribute to the development of 100 schools and 100 early childhood development sites across the country.

We know that the education of our nation’s children was extremely close to the heart of our late president, and we feel this is a fitting tribute that will take our country forward.

“Now, more than ever, we need civil society and business to work with us as government to ensure that we continue to build a quality education system. Our collaboration with Anglo American is an example of what is possible when government partners with business to contribute to accelerating progress in education.”

Mbazima added: “At Anglo American, we know that the greatest investment we can make in our country’s future is to give our children access to high-quality education. Education can play a significant role in improving people’s lives by tackling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment that South Africa faces. We’re excited about the potential of this programme to improve the lives of those living around our operations in South Africa.”

The programme has been developed in partnership with the department of basic education, and complements its 2019 action plan—Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2030 — which details strategies that aim to improve the performance of South Africa’s schooling system.

What the programme seeks to achieve

The Anglo American South Africa Education Programme aims to improve reading, writing and numeracy levels and quality passes through addressing some of the underlying reasons for poor education outcomes. It will do so by supporting everyone involved in raising and educating children.

The programme has set ambitious learner-focused targets, aiming to see:

  • 90% of learners aged five meeting the minimum requirements for school readiness;
  • 90% of grade three learners passing with at least 50% in numeracy and literacy;
  • 75% of grade six learners passing with at least 50% in mathematics and English first additional language;
  • A 90% matriculation pass rate, with a 50% university entrance; and
  • 65% of grade 12 learners passing with at least 50% in maths.
  • The programme will support school management teams, governing bodies, principals, staff as well as parents towards achieving these learner-focused targets. There will be a strong emphasis on helping teachers develop their content knowledge and teaching skills.

    How the programme will improve learners’ educational outcomes

    Learners will benefit from a range of interventions that are geared to improve their educational outcomes. Essential upgrades will be made at 100 ECD sites, so that these are safe and conducive to learning.

    This will be coupled with ECD practitioner training, to enable practitioners to provide quality early stimulation, so that young children are better prepared for school entry.

    At approximately 75 primary schools and 25 secondary schools, strategic planning retreats will be facilitated to ensure that each school has a sound strategy and school improvement plan that is owned by and actively implemented by the school governing body and school management team, with the support of highly skilled and experienced coaches.

    At all the schools, systems and processes will be developed, refined and implemented so that the schools function well. Where required, teacher training and coaching will be provided so that the teachers are capacitated to make the best use of teaching and learning time.

    Finally, at secondary schools, some Saturday school and school camps for grade 12 learners will be provided.

    The programme is one of the first initiatives under Anglo American’s sustainability strategy, which was launched last month. One of the pillars of the strategy is to create thriving communities close to its operations, with education as a key building block.

    “Through this programme, we want to lend a hand to building thriving communities with schools, with highly motivated learners and teachers, parents who are involved and effective school management teams. These are some of the essential pillars to achieving quality education that can guarantee a better tomorrow for the next generation,” said Mbazima.