Bringing formal early childhood development (ECD) provision into primary schools is high on the education agenda in South Africa, as it is often run, informally, by local people.

As a result, many children entering grade 1 in primary school are unprepared because it is their first formal experience of learning. In F2023, Zondereinde Community Trust completed construction of a grade R (early years) facility at Deo-Gloria Primary School in Regorogile, Thabazimbi local municipality. Following construction of a new ECD classroom and new toilet facilities for the whole school, Deo- Gloria opened its doors to grade R learners for the first time in the 2023 academic year. The development has been a huge success and the class is already full. Demand for places for young learners is so high that additional classrooms are currently under construction through Zondereinde’s SLP.

To maximise the local benefit of the project, Zondereinde used a local contractor who employs labour from the same community.

Early childhood development Indaba

Further support for early years education during F2023 came in the form of an inaugural ECD workshop at the Zondereinde Recreation Club. The purpose of the workshop was to empower local ECD providers with information on ECD and how to formalise their ECD provision and centres.

Run in conjunction with Mogapi Foundation, a local social entrepreneurship NGO, ECD principals, owners, and teachers from the Thabazimbi local municipality received information school curriculum and administration, nutrition and other topics. A key focus was also how to access government support by ensuring that their centres comply with the basic requirements of the South African Department of Social Development and other government departments.

Our feedback shows that attendees found the workshop informative and empowering, and expressed the importance of a place where they can network and benchmark with their peers in the industry.

Schools support programme: Working towards a future-fit generation

Eland’s supplementary education programme aims to better education in our high schools, by improving student performance and developing educators’ skills. By uplifting student performance, we can build a pool of potential candidates for Northam skills development programmes, including our learnerships, internships and bursaries, helping people develop the skills to gain employment at Northam and other relevant industries or sectors.

The supplementary education programme focuses on mathematics, science and commercial subjects such as accounting, for grades 11 and 12 – the final two years of high school. We identified four high schools in local communities to pilot the project: Malatse- Motsepe and Tsogo High Schools in Mmakau, Mothotlung High school in Mothotlung, and Botlhabelo High School in Oukasie.

We are working with the University of North- West to implement the Ikateleng programme. The University sources high-performing educators with a track record of good results to provide extra classes for students. The programme started in August 2021 and has 626 enrolled students, who are provided with transport and meals, alongside supplementary tuition. The project uses local catering, transport and cleaning companies to maximise local community benefits.

Donating equipment to help develop skills in the community

Our Eland operation has donated a wide range of tools and materials to the local Mmakau Skills Development Centre as part of its ongoing SLP. Donated items include tools, equipment and materials for carpentry and sewing, and IT equipment such as computers, projectors and printers. Most importantly, we have donated diesel generators that provide backup electricity during load shedding when grid electricity is turned off, so the Centre can continue operating.

Children [photo]
“The Northwest University programme has helped us a lot since it started in 2021. The pass rate has increased and we received 85.4% passes last year. Our learners are also happy to be taught by different teachers. We thank Northam for sponsoring this programme and hope the programme will continue annually – we really need it.”

Lolo Segone,
Treasurer. Malatse Motsepe School

“Northam’s donation has changed our situation drastically. We received 23 computers, followed by an additional 20 including projectors and printers. ICT is offered by the Department of Education, but it is difficult to teach a computerrelated course without a computer! The generators have played a huge role, because without electricity we cannot proceed with our classes.”

Matlogonolo Moepa,
Information communication technology lecturer, Mmakau Skills Centre