8. Themba Mola

Kroonstad primary school upgrade project creates job opportunities for the community

According to the Department of Basic Education, the government needs R35 billion to provide optimally functioning schools across the country. The MEC for Education in the Free State, Dr Tate Makgoe, approached KST and the De Beers Trust to partner with the Free State Department of Education to fund the construction of a new school for Phuleng Primary in the community of Maokeng, in Kroonstad, Free State.

The new school will be a pilot for the teaching of robotics and coding in the Kroonstad area. This is the Department of Basic Education’s commitment to increasing skills development and competencies to prepare learners for the fourth industrial revolution. The curriculum forms part of the department’s education priorities and is envisaged to equip learners in all public schools with skills and competencies for a changing world.

KST has been committed to implementing the District Whole School Development (DWSD)model and school infrastructure development in the Fezile Dabi and Motheo districts. The construction of the new school has been an opportunity for KST to make use of their infrastructure model that ensures the local community is upskilled and employed during the construction. This process has ensured that the local community and parents of learners take ownership of the new school. Public partnerships in education development are most effective when the beneficiaries of the partnership also participate in the process.

“It was important that the community of Maokeng participate in this project from the onset to ensure that it empowers the community to participate and ultimately own and protect the facilities for the benefit of the current land future learners in the community.

This project has seen various empowerment opportunities, particularly for the local community. Almost 50% of this project’s labour force has been sourced from the local community and empowered through our EPWP work opportunities; local sub-contractors and suppliers were used to carry out essential work during the project, and on-site training was provided for students of the built environment,” said Themba Mola, CEO of KST.

The project is also an opportunity to test KST’s infrastructure model on a large scale and speaks to KST’s Theory of Change that if a school has adequate infrastructure, and is well resourced, it creates an environment conducive for effective teaching and learning.

“This upgrading of our school benefits our learners and the community of Maokeng greatly. The addition of the computer laboratory means we are able to enhance our teaching of STEM school subjects. The new school will continue to benefit the community for years to come,” said Mr Motloung, Principal of Phuleng Primary School.

The previous Phuleng school structure was old and not in a condition conducive for effective teaching and learning. The new school will cater for Grade R to 7, it has 26 classrooms, a computer and science laboratory, a multimedia centre, an administration block, a hall, a nutrition centre, two toilet blocks, and space for sport and netball fields. The school’s capacity can now accommodate 900 learners. The school will have a security system to protect the school from incidents of theft and vandalism.