In the Education Department we run a similar mega project called the High School Improvement Programme or HISP. It is underpinned by millions of rands and is focused on providing learners with extra tutoring via after-school, Saturday and holiday programs in support of improving the results of learners-at-risk. In our district the program has multiple strands. Some of these strands are driven by schools themselves and others via district co-ordination. It is the latter I wish to highlight here.
We run 5 district hubs which cater for an array of subjects that are deemed to carry risk; risk being defined as potentially impacting on the failure rate of the school. A set program has been devised that provides learners with 3 - 6 hours' tutoring and a bite to eat each week. To give you a sense of scale, on average 1000 learners pitch each week across the centres. The programme is in its 10th week of 18 weeks. Over 9000 learners have been serviced over the period.
At the centre of the program sits learners - this must be so. But there are other foot soldiers who make this week-in-week-out activity work. Today I salute three if them.
Frank, David and Anthea coordinate the logistical support at our hub at Steenberg High School. They are an inseparable team. They engage each other and feed off each other as if joined at-the-hip. It is obvious they know what needs to be done and get on with it. Nothing is left to chance or choice.
When the tutors arrive, the school is ready. Attendance registers are lined up for each tutor, resource material unpacked per class and subject, and classroom keys positioned atop each register. On arrival, tutors have a smooth handover of each element, with a personal greeting. The same happens when tutors exit the school. The checklist is run down with military precision: keys, registers and claim form. Any others issues raised are logged.
Learners are dealt with in similar vain. They exude warmth and care. They light up the faces of attendees with terms of endearment, like "bokkie", "dear" and on the first name of the learners. Learners who arrive late and dutifully reminded to be early and move to class with speed. Stragglers are fetch at the kerb side of the entrance to the school. An occasionally, Frank's voice echoes down-the-road if they spot learners taking their time to get to the school.
This is no nonsense ownership of the programme. They are driven by the need to make sure the program works and works well! They are our unsung heroes! You can find them at every hub in the district.