Resource Centre at historic Mandela school reaching out to learners
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8 May 2012
The Healdtown Science and Technology Education Resource Centre (STERC), established recently at the Eastern Cape school famous for having educated Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe amongst others, is making a significant difference in the lives of over one hundred learners from surrounding areas.
The Centre, which is focusing on maths, science and technology, is equipping both educators and learners in the Eastern Cape in these crucial disciplines.
Currently 105 learners are attending sessions at the centre on three days every week – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. In addition to the science skills, they are also receiving language development and life skills.
The Centre is part of the Historic Schools Restoration Project (HSRP), an initiative to revive the fortunes of South African secondary schools with historic significance by transforming them into sustainable institutions of educational and cultural excellence.
Executive Director of HSRP, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, says he is excited at the progress that the Healdtown Centre is making since its establishment in early April.
“We are making good progress in establishing a regional centre of excellence that will be renowned for outstanding teaching and practice. This will be an important step in the HSRP’s vision of providing a model of comprehensive educational transformation in South Africa. There is no reason why disadvantaged rural schools cannot produce South African scientists of the future. We want to see a future Nobel prize winner in one of these disciplines emerge from these historic walls.
“I am delighted at the momentum we have built around this initiative towards the achievement of our ultimate goal, which is for the rural black child to have a future,” the Archbishop said.
In its glory-days, Healdtown was renowned for its school and teacher training centre. It produced leaders of the calibre of Mandela and Sobukwe, as well as Rivonia trialist Raymond Mhlaba, Rev Seth Mokitimi, the first black leader of the Methodist Church, and ANC stalwart Govan Mbeki.
Methodist control of the school came to an end in 1956, when the Church was forced to hand it over to the Department of Bantu Education, resulting in the imposition of apartheid education at Healdtown and other mission schools that was in complete contrast to the quality education the Methodists had provided.
In 1976, students, rebelling against the poor standards of education, burned down classrooms and other buildings, leaving the once-magnificent complex in partial ruins. The current initiative is an attempt to re-establish Healdtown as a centre of excellence, and in so doing, revive the former glory of this famous landmark in South Africa’s history.
Healdtown is one of eleven schools in five provinces that have formed a pilot for the HSRP. The other schools are in KwaZulu/Natal (Inkama High School, Vryheid; Vryheid Comprehensive, Vryheid; Inanda Seminary High School and Ohlange High School, Inanda; Adams College, Amanzimtoti), Eastern Cape (St Matthews High School near Keiskammahoek), Limpopo (Lemana High School, Elim), North West Province (Tiger Kloof High School, Vryburg), and Gauteng (Orlando High School, Soweto and Wilberforce Community College, Evaton).
The HSRP is also keen to establish a presence in the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces.
The HSRP’s vision is to nurture future African leaders of calibre and integrity who are able to meet the crucial needs of community and country. It aims to achieve its vision through the revitalisation of the rich heritage of historical schools by transforming them into sustainable and aspirational African institutions of educational and cultural excellence.
The project has been endorsed by President Jacob Zuma and received operational funding from 2008 to 2011 from the Department of Arts and Culture. In April 2012, it was taken under the wing of the Department of Basic Education, which has committed itself to funding of R6million a year for the next three years.
Last changed: May 09 2012 at 11:22 AMBack