On Monday 30 March 2015, Enver Sury, Deputy Minister of Basic Education, officially handed over two fully resourced science labs to Boithaopo Secondary School, the only high school in the rural village of Old Kraaipan.
This is part of a continued effort by Adopt-a-School Foundation and the IDC to transform the education experience in a number of rural high schools in South Africa.
"We are pleased to note that the IDC's support of this programme will ultimately benefit 2,300 learners and 25 educators from schools in neighbouring villages who will also have access to these facilities," explained Stephen Lebere, Executive director of Adopt-a-School Foundation.
The opening of the science labs will not only transform the educational landscape, but the project has already produced far-reaching impact for the local community.
During the building of these facilities 31 temporary jobs were created and given to unemployed parents of learners at Boithaopo Secondary School. These jobs provided community members with basic construction skills and an income for the duration of the project. Five small businesses also benefitted, while a number of educators received additional training on teaching methodologies and curriculum delivery in mathematics and science.
Norman Phiri, the principal, explains the school's origins: "Boithaopo means to volunteer in English. This stems from the community volunteering to build themselves a high school because there were no high schools in the area and surrounding villages."
Now, with the investment of the IDC, Boithaopo Secondary School can give back and empower the very community responsible for its existence.
In 2012, the IDC partnered with Adopt-a-School Foundation to adopt 20 selected schools in invest in a model of Whole School Development (WSD). The WSD model aims to provide rural and township schools with sustainable solutions by addressing the skills, social and infrastructure challenges.
To date, the IDC has invested about R54m in the programme. In addition to the work done at Boithaopo Secondary School, the corporation has upgraded nine more science laboratories, renovated 11 schools and provided access to clean water supply.
"Two ablution facilities, one perimeter fence and an administration facility have been built and 26 new classrooms, three science laboratories and a feeding scheme kitchen are under construction," says IDC's corporate social investment head, Tebogo Molefe.
The partnership with Adopt-a-School Foundation has already impacted on the lives of over 20,000 school children, trained over 140 teachers and empowered the School Governing Bodies and Management Teams in each school.
The next phase of the programme will see Adopt-a-School Foundation continuing to address the critical infrastructure needs and develop educators in mathematics, science, accounting and technology. There is also a focus on providing learners with career guidance and youth development programmes as well as addressing the welfare of the pupils.
IDC's education strategy is aligned with the Basic Education and Partnership with Schools Accord. The Accord seeks to mobilise all key players: private sector, organised labour, communities and government to strengthen basic education to meet the country's developmental goals, particularly employment creation.