LEAP named a Global Best for innovative partnership
LEAP Science and Maths School has won a Global Best Award for Africa for its innovative partnership with HCI Foundation, the United Herzlia Middle and High Schools and Litha Primary in Gugulethu. The International education business Partnership Network (IPN) awards, presented in collaboration with MIET Africa and The Conference Board of Canada, celebrate outstanding business, education and community partnerships that have a significant impact on communities.
LEAP’s initiative in Gugulethu was recognized by the awards as a partnership that ‘demonstrates capacity building, leadership and innovation’. LEAP’s second school serving the community of Gugulethu and Crossroads is partly funded by the HCI Foundation, the corporate social investment arm of the Hoskens Consolidated Investment (HCI) group of companies. LEAP and the HCI Foundation have created a partnership which goes far beyond a simple funding and reporting relationship. All companies in the group actively participate and support LEAP’s work and are engaged in identifying ways of developing, growing and sustaining effective models to provide quality education to all.
The funding relationship has incorporated the development of a close working relationship between LEAP’s teachers and students and those at the United Herzlia Middle and High Schools, a wealthy, high-performing school in Cape Town. This part of the partnership even has its own Facebook page. The two schools are working together with HCI Foundation to support Litha Primary School, a failing public school in Gugulethu from which a number of LEAP students are recruited.
Johnny Copelyn, CEO of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited, explains in the 2011 LEAP Annual Report:
Our challenge in South Africa is to provide a decent education to people who historically have been severely disadvantaged. At the heart of how to do this, is to help successful, functioning organisations spread their message, influence, standards and dreams to non-functioning ones.
LEAP and HCI Foundation have been working closely with the Litha Primary School principal and management team to determine the needs of the school and the priority interventions which should be put in place. Partners including Edupeg, Equal Education and Shine Centre have been involved in addressing these areas. Herzlia and LEAP also provide support to leadership and teaching through mentoring of school leaders and teacher training.
The HCI Foundation is partnering with LEAP and supporting its work with the South African Extraordinary School’s Coalition to advocate for the development of Impact Schools, a new sector of State-assisted schools between the public and the independent school sectors.
But most of all, the partnership has created a space for positive and meaningful interaction between two groups of economically, socially and culturally distinct students who may not have had the opportunity to engage otherwise. This has been an important area of learning for the students and teachers around cross-cultural collaboration.
This cross-sectoral partnership is a new and effective model and has the potential to be replicated in other partnerships involving business, high performing schools and struggling schools.