Corporate Social Investment

Quality education is critical to boosting skills and employment levels

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and IDC CEO Geoffrey QhenaBasic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and IDC Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Qhena at the handover of Nkonkwana Junior Secondary.The country needs to invest more in its education system, according to Geoffrey Qhena, the chief executive of the Industrial Development Corporation.

Qhena was speaking at the handover of the multimillion-rand school in Nkonkwana, just outside Willowvale in the Eastern Cape. The corporation donated and built the school and launched the brand new school with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga on 19 August.

It was built as an IDC social responsibility initiative as part of efforts to improve infrastructure and the quality of education, especially in rural schools, across the country.

Given the country's skills shortage and high level of unemployment, Qhena said improving the quality of education was critical in meeting South Africa's developmental goals.

One of eight classrooms at Nkonkwana Junior SecondaryOne of eight classrooms at Nkonkwana Junior Secondary."We need to invest more in our education system. Resolving the current challenges at schools requires a concerted effort between the government, the private sector and the community," he said.

He also said that more interventions were needed at all education levels - primary, secondary and tertiary - to realise tangible socio-economic impact.

Nkonkwana Junior Secondary School has eight classrooms, an administration block, water and sanitation facilities, a fully-fitted kitchen and a playing field.

More than 150 pupils from the surrounding villages attend the school. "The IDC's intervention will enable the school to improve the quality of learning," said principal, Patricia Mhlathi.

Nkonkwana Junior Secondary SchoolThe IDC's efforts to improve education levels across the country focus strongly on rural and peri-urban schools."This is a timely intervention when everyone in the community was losing hope. This partnership between the government and the IDC has brought back dignity to Nkonkwana," Mhlathi said.

The school would also be used for adult education.

Motshekga said Kha ri Gude would also be made available to the community of Nkonkwana. Meaning "let us learn" in Tshivenda, Kha ri Gude is a programme run by the Department of Basic Education to teach adults who were unable to complete their schooling, how to read and write. Its literacy classes are taught countrywide.

Education is one of the pillars of the IDC's social responsibility unit. In the last financial year, the corporation spent over R20-million on improving infrastructure, governance and curriculum support at its 20 adopted schools across the country.

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