KILT's goal is to make it possible for every child in Knysna to attend any local school and be assured of a learning environment that gives them a solid foundation and the opportunity to realise their true potential.
Excellent work is being done to improve education in South Africa through numerous government and private sector initiatives. Yet too many of our children still leave school unequipped to lead productive working lives.
This is where KILT comes in
In 2017, following discussions facilitated by Gill Marcus, KILT’s executive director, a number of school principals formed the Proactive Principals of Knysna to build greater co-operation across Knysna’s government schools. To formalise this initiative, KILT was registered in 2017 as a non-profit organisation and a public benefit organisation with tax exemption.
It soon became clear that making a real difference to the quality of education could be achieved only by addressing the education system as a whole.
Drawing on the schools, government, non-profit organisations and other partners, we have developed hands-on initiatives that are regenerating Knysna’s education system as a driver of positive transformation for the entire community.
Today, 17 schools and some 12 000 learners in greater Knysna benefit from this effort.
Results since KILT’s foundation in 2017, backed by the enthusiastic determination of the principals, their teams and our volunteers, show significant progress has already been made.
With the support of corporate and individual donors, this year’s budget of R27-million will enable us to enhance and extend our programmes.
Helping learners realise their full potential
KILT’s geographic area is a microcosm of the broader South African society, with its contradictions of urban/rural, wealthy/poor, education excellence/under-performing, and global/isolated. This environment provides an exceptional opportunity for developing a sustainable education support system in Knysna.
Nationally, more than 50% of learners drop out of school before Grade 12, while around 80% of Grade 4 learners cannot read with understanding. Disengagement of learners at an increasingly early age is at an all-time high.
A poor education excludes young people from opportunities, impacting negatively on their potential, their ability to earn a livelihood and their sense of self-worth. These deficits often persist over generations, with dire long-term consequences for the country’s economic growth and inclusive future.
South Africa’s basic education holds the key to the well-being of our children, the health of our economy and the prosperity of our nation. Yet our children will graduate into a future that – with rapid technological innovation – we are hardly able to predict.
KILT’s goal is to augment Knysna’s entire school system and enable principals and their teams to transform their schools into centres of excellence that equip young people with the adaptability and resilience to thrive in the changing world of work.
Advancing our education system in Knysna
There is no quick fix to the system of education. Helping schools to help themselves requires purpose, determination and a passion to make a difference to the future of our children and society.
Each tier of the school structure needs to be supported in an integrated way. From the outset, KILT has identified the touch points and critical gaps in each part of the system. This is about things not being done often enough, not being done well or not being done at all.
What is required is the sustained, long-term and consistent implementation of quality learning and teaching.
We are achieving this by:
- Funding additional teaching posts to reduce learner/teacher ratios.
- Strengthening the principals’ leadership and management skills.
- Enhancing teachers’ skills and motivation.
- Installing technology to support the introduction of e-learning.
- Introducing psychological and counselling support for children, families and teachers.
- Facilitating after-school study clubs and professionally coached sport.
In planning our programmes, we work with the principals and their management teams, school governing bodies, teachers and the Western Cape Education Department. We draw on the expertise of more than 180 specialists and volunteers in Knysna who provide an outsourced service, while we retain overall oversight and management.
In our first three years of existence, we have laid a solid foundation, enabling us to continue to address many of the challenges we face.
This requires a long-term commitment. We draw our inspiration to persevere not only from the remarkable support we have received so far, and the enthusiastic determination of the principals and their teams, but also from the knowledge that we have, collectively, already made a difference.