Ndalo Media has long championed the cause for education. Whether advocating for further tertiary study through our content platforms, or collating best-performing schools as we've done in print, content about the education sector is important to us. For the past seven years, we've run a print report called the Good Schools Report in our flagship title, DESTINY magazine. This website is the result of us turning that print report into a digital one.
The curated list of schools profiled on this website meet a minimum standard of excellent academics. For high schools, this means a minimum of 100% Matric pass rate and 80% Matric exemption rate. Many of our schools have maintained a 100% Matric pass rate for three years and over. We also focus on schools that excel in art, culture and sports. Primary schools listed are those that serve as feeder schools to the listed high schools. This list will be expanded as the website matures.
THE GOOD SCHOOL PROJECT: A GOOD INITIATIVE
Many people have asked me what makes a good school. If there were one easy fix which could cut across all schools, that would certainly make my job easier. Unfortunately, what makes a good school is a combination of various elements coming together and working in synergy, but it always starts with getting the basics rights from the very first day.
Often, these basics are taken for granted and instead we search for a miracle intervention. For example, if you give a poorly performing school a state-of-the-art ICT intervention, that doesn’t mean its performance will improve. However when a school gets the basics right, often other things fall into place. A good school is punctual: by the time the first bell rings, the teachers are all at school with their lessons prepared, ready to start teaching. A good school has the right teacher in front of the right class, teaching the right subject, for the correctly allocated amount of time. Other basics include a clean, neat school environment, as well as a sense of discipline and decorum which pupils know and proudly uphold.
On the numerous school visits I’ve been on, I’ve often been amazed at how quickly I can spot whether it’s a good school just by walking through its gates. It doesn’t matter where the school’s located – it could be in the rural Eastern Cape, in the heart of a Johannesburg township or in an affluent suburb. If I’m greeted by well-maintained gardens and clean surroundings with no broken windows, I know that this is a school which is getting the basics right. The pupils are neatly dressed in their uniforms and greet me with a polite: “Good morning, ma’am.” These things may seem as if they have nothing to do with education, but they create an environment that’s conducive to productive teaching and learning – and that’s where education begins.
During the course of my many years in the education sector, I realised that leadership could be one of the most critical elements in getting a school to perform optimally. A good school principal ensures that there’s effective implementation of the curriculum and efficiently manages staff and time, which ultimately results in a good school. A school principal needs to know exactly what his teachers are teaching in the classroom and uses the information at his disposal to implement school improvement plans effectively. He gets the community and stakeholders involved, which yields positive results.
Partnerships with those stakeholders play a vital role because a school can’t do everything alone. No school operates in isolation. It needs to be at the centre of all community activities. The community and parents need to take ownership of the school in order for it to succeed. Parents are more likely to enrol their children in a school regarded as a good school. That means each community has a role to play. Imagine a country where we have 25 000 good schools!
Education is a societal issue and as government, we’re unable to do everything alone. For this reason, we’re pleased to partner with Ndalo Media on the Good Schools Project. This initiative not only serves as a guide to parents, but will also encourage them to become more involved in making their child’s school a good one.
MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION