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Improving educational attainment in Limpopo Province, South Africa

In partnership with the University of Venda (UNIVEN), the Centre for Education Studies (CES) is leading a Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded project to explore ways to improve educational provision in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

A grant of £52,600 was awarded to CES and UNIVEN in the summer of 2014 from the British High Commission (BHC) Prosperity Fund. That money has now been used to fund a study trip to the UK for Limpopo head teachers, UNIVEN staff and provincial Education Board members in October, and a reciprocal visit by CES staff to Limpopo in January 2015.

The results of the data collected on those visits will inform a list of evidence-based recommendations on how to improve educational provision and attainment in Limpopo, which would then be delivered in partnership with local school head teachers and senior management staff in the Province. Subjects focussed on will include educational leadership initiatives, community engagement projects and school-to-school support systems.

LAMP programme - October 2014

A delegation from Limpopo and UNIVEN visited the University of Warwick in October 2014, when CES delivered a week-long Leadership and Management Programme (LAMP). Attendees included six Limpopo school principals, two members of UNIVEN staff, and two members from the Vhembe District Education Board.

The trip was a fantastic success, and the delegates were not only able to partake in an intensive educational leadership and management classroom-based programme customised to their particular needs and challenges, but were also able to visit local high performing secondary schools, and spend time with their English counterparts. The visit also included cultural trips to Stratford-upon-Avon and London.

CES visit to Limpopo - January 2015

A small group of CES staff - Ian Abbott, Phil Whitehead and Laura Jackson - undertook a week-long needs analysis visit to South Africa in January 2015. The team spent their time in a variety of schools in the Vhembe district of Limpopo, hosted by members of the provincial Education Board and staff from UNIVEN.

A total of nine schools were visited, which included two of the Vhembe district’s best performing secondary schools, alongside a mix of less well-resourced primary and secondary schools. The team was also fortunate enough to be able to attend meetings with circuit managers in the district (who oversee the performance and support of the schools) and spend time with members of UNIVEN’s School of Education.

The group found that added support would be needed to enable firm implementation of the initial recommendations, and, together with UNIVEN, are putting in a further bid to the British High Commission for some additional funding to support a subsequent trip to the district. The proposed follow up visit would see the University of Warwick and UNIVEN teams working with the LAMP head teachers on coaching a further group of school principals in the Vhembe district in elements of the programme to increase the reach of the work. This would then be followed by a final visit to the region for a full evaluation and impact study of the project.

Read our blog on the Times Higher Education website