JOHANNESBURG — Tales from the Companions for Risk (PfP) programme proceed to amaze me. Listening to this interview with Mediclinic ICT Ops Manager, Deon Myburgh, you’ll realise how options to South Africa’s schooling disaster lie with higher, extra cohesive partnerships with totally different stakeholders in society. We will enhance schooling on this nation, we simply want the desire achieve this. And we don’t want to attend for politicians to return to the social gathering. Take a take heed to Deon’s story with Cloetesville High Faculty within the Western Cape. – Gareth van Zyl
It’s a pleasure to welcome Deon Myburgh who’s the manager for ICT Operations at Mediclinic Southern Africa. Deon, you’ve partnered with the ‘Partners for Possibility Programme’ (PfP). Are you able to inform us about how this happened and which faculty you’re serving to?
Thanks very a lot, Gareth. It’s been a implausible journey and it happened the place Mediclinic, for the primary time, agreed this yr to take part and be a part of the Companions for Risk programme. I used to be approached by our government from our HR division and our CSI Committee and requested if I might be ready to take part on this programme. I’m very enthusiastic about schooling and I’m very enthusiastic about serving to underprivileged individuals and faculties so, I used to be extraordinarily eager to discover a platform like this to become involved.
Based mostly on this, I used to be put ahead as a enterprise chief, on behalf of Mediclinic, on the Companions for Risk programme. After assembly with our management facilitator for the area from Companions for Risk, I used to be partnered with the principal Mr Dorian Meyer from Cloetesville High Faculty. Cloetesville High Faculty is a faculty in fairly an underprivileged group within the Stellenbosch space.
Learners from Cloetesville High Faculty.
Are you able to inform us extra concerning the faculty particularly? What challenges have they confronted and what challenges did you see whenever you first partnered with them?
Sure, so one of many first challenges that I noticed on the faculty is that clearly it’s in a group that’s fairly ridden with gangster exercise. It’s a group the place roughly 60% of the group earn lower than R17 000 every year and 11% truly report no earnings. It’s fairly an impoverished group, so security is among the largest challenges that we got here throughout with the likes of gangsters that focus on the varsity. There’s additionally drug abuse among the many learners and a really low proportion of oldsters that really pay faculty charges. It’s additionally an space the place there’s excessive unemployment and poverty. So, these have been vital challenges that I discovered once I partnered with the varsity. Additionally, the truth that lower than 5% of matric college students go on to review additional is one other problem.
So, how did all of that make you are feeling once you noticed it? You actually have interacted with the coalface of the South African schooling system and it has its challenges, clearly?
It definitely does, Gareth, and I need to inform you it was extraordinarily humbling. It’s been such an exquisite expertise however it’s really humbling and I used to be fairly moved by seeing the challenges that these faculties face on a day-to-day foundation. I feel that it additionally made me realise that the help that these faculties want is just not forthcoming, and that was what was so interesting and fantastic concerning the Companions for Risk programme is that, as a enterprise chief, I firmly consider and as a company citizen, in addition to a person, all of us have an obligation to the schooling system inside SA.
It’s not as straightforward as simply blaming the Division of Schooling. It’s what can we, as residents and as organisations, do to make a distinction within the schooling of our learners? These are the longer term leaders of our nation, the longer term leaders of our group and by partaking and with the ability to present help to those faculties was, to me, actually shifting. It’s been extraordinarily humbling and the primary engagement, when assembly the academics, when assembly with college students the Faculty Governing Physique, you simply realise that the challenges that these faculties face are actually fairly vital. It makes you realise how lucky you’re however, but, what struck me probably the most was that regardless of all of those challenges, these principals of those faculties and the academics are constructive. They’ve acquired a constructive outlook and they’re so appreciative of every thing that one does for them. So, it has actually been a really humbling expertise for me, and the engagement has modified my outlook with regard to schooling in our nation.
Simply briefly, what have you ever managed to assist them with to date? Are you able to give us some sensible examples?
We arrange a faculty enchancment undertaking plan – the principal and myself, initially of our engagement. We categorised this into the primary areas that we have been going to concentrate on. So, one of many first issues that we did was to deal with points round safety. How can we safe the varsity? How can we guarantee the security of the learners and the academics, as a result of academics can’t train and learners can’t study in an unsafe surroundings when they’re fearful. So, I approached numerous organisations and Mediclinic in addition to certainly one of my different suppliers, TCM, sponsored funds in the direction of putting in a fence, a clear-view fence, in addition to constructing a portion of the wall closed in order that we will safe the varsity to maintain the gangster exercise out of the varsity. This retains the academics and fogeys protected. I’m completely happy to say that the set up is in course of. That was one of many first issues that we needed to tackle.
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The subsequent factor we needed to tackle was: how can we encourage and create hope for these learners to go and research additional? How can we assist them see past their present circumstances? What we did is that we then hosted a two-day profession expo. This profession expo, with a number of assist from assets and ambassadors inside Mediclinic, is the place we went to the varsity for 2 days. We showcased round 40 careers. We targeted on careers inside Mediclinic and other people typically assume that we, as Mediclinic, are purely an organisation within the medical and medical surroundings and that we solely have physician and nurses. However we even have most disciplines that each different giant company firm has.
Your complete day was based mostly on ‘Dare to Dream’ and this was to attempt to encourage the scholars. We had representatives of about 40 totally different profession paths the place we had motivational audio system as properly. We had goodie-bags and all of this was sponsored by suppliers and by Mediclinic. Within the afternoon, we requested the mother and father to return by means of so, we targeted on Grade 9-12. We had two very profitable days. We coated 148 learners in Grade 12, 199 learners in Grade 11, and 239 learners in Grade 9.
Learn additionally: Enhancing schooling, one faculty at a time: How SA’s PfP programme is making a distinction
What we additionally did throughout this expo is to comply with it on with job-shadowing. We acquired suggestions from the scholars after the two-day expo, in addition to the ambassadors from Mediclinic that have been there to cowl all these totally different profession paths. Our objective, as I stated right here, was to point out them that there’s hope. You possibly can dare to dream, and even for college kids that will not have maths and science, there are alternatives for them. We targeted very a lot on your complete marketing campaign of ‘Dare to Dream.’ This was extraordinarily profitable. We had incredible media protection. We had protection on a number of web sites. We had our advertising division with our producers that really did a video. It was a particularly properly attended day.
It was an exquisite story as a fortunate draw by one our suppliers sponsored 5 college students’ faculty charges paid for the subsequent yr. Emotional tales got here out throughout that day. For one of many college students who was drawn, his mom had come by means of to the varsity and embraced the principal in tears as a result of she was a single mum or dad and she or he had simply misplaced her job. So, simply to see the impression that we will have on peoples’ lives and on these learners’ lives (was immense).
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One other fantastic story that I have to share is that there was a scholar that was chosen for hockey nationals, a Grade 10 scholar referred to as Lakisha. She was chosen and she or he got here from a single dad or mum, from a really poor house, and the principal requested gave me the bill for her to go to Pietermaritzburg to take part within the hockey nationals. Clearly, she couldn’t afford it, so, Mediclinic sponsored the cash. However earlier than we sponsored it, the principal referred to as me to say that the mom had handed away that morning. So, right here was this scholar that had misplaced each her mother and father and some days thereafter I had secured the funds from Mediclinic and she or he went to the hockey nationals. She wrote me a heart-warming, heart-felt two-paged letter. She was chosen as one of the best goalkeeper in her age group. Boland got here third, whom she represented, and she or he’s now being chosen to be a part of the Nationwide Hockey Staff. So, we may very well see a future Springbok hockey participant.
That was actually shifting and actually emotional to see that we might make a special, and what made it much more value it. She was additionally one of many prime 5 educational achievers in Grade 10. That was actually an exquisite initiative and a distinction that we might make in somebody’s life. We additional tackled classroom upgrades the place we upgraded the ICT classroom. As well as, we offered full CPR and first-aid coaching for 11 educators, which occurred over two days and this was carried out by ER24, which is a part of Mediclinic. We donated a variety of chairs for the employees room and we upgraded the learners’ bogs. I feel one other nice story to share is that 14 of the 18 bogs for the women have been truly not working and in full disrepair. Certainly one of my suppliers sponsored cash and we upgraded the bogs on the faculty.
It’s fairly unimaginable these tales that you simply’ve informed us, however what occur after this programme? Does this programme proceed indefinitely or is there some extent at which you need to step away and let the varsity take management once more? How does that work?
So, the Companions for Risk Program is formally a 12-month programme throughout which we undergo formal coaching. We’ve had three workshops however even though this can be a 12-month formal course of we’ll proceed with the varsity. I discovered that this primary yr has been the start. It’s the springboard for our future with the varsity. It is extremely evident and it’s my technique that we’ll proceed with Cloetesville High Faculty for quite a lot of years. Nevertheless, I need to say, what has been incredible concerning the programme is that you simply’re networking with individuals, and I feel it’s necessary to know that principals will not be there to be modified, they’re there to be supported.
What has actually benefited the varsity in addition to equipping the principal with contacts to assist him. However that is just the start. This thrilling challenge has been so constructive and it’s affected so many individuals, like our ambassadors that have been on the profession day. And we’ve determined to incorporate schooling as one in every of our CFI methods – I introduced our tasks to our mixed exco at Mediclinic they usually have been extraordinarily impressed with it and absolutely supported it. So, I’ve the help of our CFO of Worldwide in addition to our CEO of SA. So, we see this going as a long-term relationship.
Deon, simply because the final query, wanting extra broadly on the PfP Program, what message would you’ve got for different companies trying to become involved and why ought to they become involved with a programme like this?
I feel it’s our duty as residents and as company corporations or any firm to enhance schooling inside our nation. We all know it’s in disaster. Companions for Risk is among the greatest programmes. It’s probably the most nicely organised programme that has probably the most unbelievable help and does such superb work. I might advise each firm to actually become involved with this programme. This programme doesn’t solely profit the principals and the faculties, nevertheless it additionally advantages the enterprise chief. I’ve learnt a lot and grown a lot throughout this journey. I might say to any firm that’s listening that all of us need to assist individuals. Companions for Risk is absolutely the, good platform for you, as a person, and as an organization to make a distinction in schooling inside our nation.
Deon, thanks a lot for chatting to me in the present day. It’s been fascinating discovering out about your expertise with PfP and will probably be good to catch up once more, sooner or later, about how extra progress has gone?
Unbelievable, thanks Gareth and thanks very a lot for the chance to discuss this thrilling undertaking.
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