The rebirth of a school

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

A commitment to teaching standards has earned high praise for a little-known primary school in Soweto.

Inkwenkwezi Primary School takes in children from the Elias Motsoaledi informal settlement.

Principal Skipper Lekgalake took over the school in 2001 when it was on the verge of collapse. The parents had lost hope of improving the school and had moved their children to smarter schools.

The children who remained were uninspired and bunked classes regularly.

"I engaged the teachers and the community in discussions so that we could remember what our primary task was," saysLekgalake.

"We have built a team through respect, responsibility, time management and the principles of teaching. We also built incentives to motivate ourselves."

The teachers regularly attend a three-day bosberaad where the "best teacher of the quarter" is honoured.

"I am proud to say that the teaching staff is supportive and just as excited by the results of our teamwork."

Lekgalake went on a fund-raising drive and now has the support of primary schools in Parktown, Bryandale, Northcliff and Parkview, who have also provided the school with office equipment.

The school has registered about half the children with Ucima, a learning programme created in India, which is paid for by sponsors.

The maths programme is for Grades 3 and 4 and the pupils go to Wits University every quarter to compete with other schools.

"Mathematics has an impact on life. Pupils on the programme are clearly more advanced than others," Lekgalake says.