A Better Africa Introduction

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Like me, from time to time, you possibly feel that the pace of innovation is pretty insane and sometimes even overwhelming. In just a few years we’ve probably changed over 50% of the way in which we consume stuff. The Collaborative Era thinking, that ‘access’ triumphs over ‘ownership’, coupled with the management of excess, has driven disruption in many areas including, transport and accommodation, among others. With access to a world of talent, acquisition of skills and services in business today is so radically different and would have been unimaginable just 10 years ago. Creative destruction caused by technology is rampant. Are you still asking WHY you need a community? 

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Communities are without a doubt becoming more and more critical to business, to civil society and non-government organisations, and to government. For the past few years, we’ve curated content and written prolifically about collaboration. A few months ago I decided on a reboot as collaboration is a strong outcome of shared-purpose communities and it seemed prudent to, in some ways rewind to the basics and in other ways fast forward to how communities are built, nurtured, measured and sustained.

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78% of South African children in Grade 4 are illiterate. Nomakholwa Gxowa is the selfless educator mending our literacy crisis.

Every day, the state of our country’s education seems to get worse. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study recently showed that as many as 78% of South African children in Grade 4 are illiterate. The inability to read has knock-on effects for a child’s chances of progressing in other subjects, and while the onus is on parents as well as teachers to provide support, there are instances when this is not possible. With almost three decades of experience working with children, Nomakholwa Gxowa understands the challenges and is working to combat them.

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It takes active citizenry to get good schools

Posted by Ayanda Khuzwayo on 17 October 2018 2:00 PM CAT
Ayanda Khuzwayo photo

Achieving universal primary education by 2015 was one of the Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000 by all 191 United Nations states. Remarkably, the goal of “education for all” largely has been met – but levels of literacy and numeracy remain low. Now the frontier challenge is to improve the learning outcomes of children in school – in South Africa and in many, many other countries around the world. 

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In looking for a “silver bullet” to improve the quality of South African schools, a focus on principals and their selection would be a good candidate. As researchers the world over have shown, the quality and commitment of a school’s principal can have a decisive impact on performance.

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What’s a good education bureaucracy worth? One common explanation for the poor performance of South Africa’s schools is that ‘it’s the bureaucracy’s fault’. Indeed, South Africa’s public bureaucracies get lots of things wrong. But as UCT research explored in depth, a narrow preoccupation with bureaucratic effectiveness may be directing attention away from some especially promising responses to the country’s current challenges – in education, and more broadly.

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