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South Africa: New Education Initiative Calls for Greater Collaboration
Source: SA - the Good News
Source Date: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 27, 2013

“South Africa is a fascinating case when it comes to education,” said Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the GSB, who introduced the event. “Due to the huge challenges in education in the country, many programmes have sprung up to fill the gap and are doing very innovative work.”
“But one of problems is that they often don’t work together – or with government. There is very little data on the size, scope, and quality of educational services offered by the non-state sector and this is preventing the country from capitalising on the potential impact of such initiatives in meeting national education priorities.”
One of the risks of a burgeoning non-state sector is that government may shut them out, which would not serve anyone cautioned Eugene Daniels, former Director for Metro South Education District and current consultant at New Leaders who spoke at the event.
“We need to embrace government not wave them off and blame and shame,” he said. “Government may be fragmented but so is the non-state sector. If we can get organised, if we can show where we fit in on the continuum of cradle to career we have good chance of working hand-in-hand with state.”
CEI-SA is one of three country hubs working as part of a global CEI effort to increase access to quality, affordable and equitable education for the world’s poor by showcasing and amplifying non-state programmes – initiatives implemented by NGOs, social enterprises, government partnerships and private companies – that have the potential to drive learning in poor communities.
Backed by the Results for Development Institute (R4D) with funding from the UK government, CEI South Africa is housed in the Bertha Centre at the UCT Graduate School of Business and will run in partnership with BRIDGE, an established and well-respected local education NGO focused on collaboration and sharing through communities of practice.
The recent discussion was the first in a series of events that are planned to help connect players in the education space. CEI is also building an online platform, containing an innovations database of programmes, a research and evidence library with information on global education, and a funders’ platform for organisations supporting non-state education efforts around the world.
“It is like internet dating for education organisations,” said Joy Olivier adding that IkamvaYouth, which has been hugely successful in improving matric pass rates in poor communities, is hoping to find partners around the world through the CEI to help them scale up their model locally.
“This initiative could assist in finding answers and scaling effective interventions in education because by empowering those organisations and programmes that are already actively improving access to quality education, we are enhancing the possibilities that exist and increasing the impact,” said Emma van der Vliet, coordinator of CEI-South Africa.
But to do this effectively speaker David Harrison said that the CEI network would have to work hard to go beyond the usual: to look at things differently and allow programmes that don’t necessarily fit into current “best practice” frameworks to shine. He also cautioned that, in scaling up successful projects it will be crucial to look at the people that are driving these and not just the processes and models.
“In short, we need to be prepared to step outside of our comfort zones, do things differently, collaborate more and take risks if we want to find a way out of our education crisis,” said Bonnici.
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