A word from Western Cape Manager, Elroy Duckitt

Posted / 31 March 2021

COVID-19 has changed the world in many ways and has had a devastating impact on our education system. As an organization it has challenged us to ask how we continue to effectively serve young people and support values-based leadership in disrupted and challenging times, now more important than ever.
Our approach for 2021 has grown out of the frustration and challenges we faced in 2020 and seeks to do three things: reach more adults and learners through more school based activity; integrate with and strengthen school processes and leadership structures and innovate with various online and school-based youth engagement strategies. Some of the changes we have introduced include Representative Council of Learners (RCL) training and integration of these with the Columba Leadership social action groups, Grade 12 motivation and transition support sessions, and , online career days, youth and alumni connections. Across the board we have focused on strengthening relationships with our Department of Education partners to understand how we may navigate with them the challenging year ahead. These engagements have proved to be of huge value and here we wish to highlight of what has come from these.. In the Western Cape Department Districts and school partners these have highlighted the strong alignment with the Department’s Transform to Perform (T2P) Values-driven learning programme which is at the core of what Columba does, and reflects the shared vison of transforming the culture in schools. Here are some of what our school partners have shared to illustrate impact in their schools: In 2020, Kylemore High School achieved an 84,5% Matric pass up from 74% in 2019, with their first Columba Leadership Grade 12 cohort. Ms. Carin Venter, principal of the school has attributed the success of the class of 2020 to the Columba learners and leadership programme who have changed the school culture with their social action projects.

Makupula High School maintained their 94% average pass rate. The school credits Columba for the support as Mr. Ndlebe says, “When Covid-19 hit the world, all the NGOs withdrew from our school for fear of the virus, but Columba stepped right into Makupula and motivated our Grade 12 learners and conducted LO sessions with our Grade 10s and 11s.” Columba believes that listening and responding to what our partners need and adjusting our strategies to meet these needs will ensure we continue to deliver impactful leadership development and help us not only improve our service offerings but continue inspire young leaders and transform the culture in South African schools.

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