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CUT launched the Schools Advancement Academy (SAA) in order to support provincial/district structures to meet their set targets and to lend a helping hand to schools, teachers, and learners to improve their performances.

This academy takes us another step further towards the establishment of a sound partnership that will not only sustain our working relationships, but also enable all of us to accomplish much more in terms of academic excellence in our schools,” said  MEC for Education, Honourable Tate Makgoe when he delivered a keynote address at the launch.

“Every year we review our targets for the Grade 12 pass rate. Last year another success story of the NSC examinations reaffirmed our commitment when an overall pass rate of 81% was reached, rating the Free State third among the nine provinces,” MEC said.

He said that the Province will once again show a notable improvement as a result of direct interventions of CUT in helping schools; particularly, learners to improve their performances. He also commended new partnership efforts between Ex-model C schools and the disadvantaged schools in Mangaung which will allow teachers from these schools to exchange lesson plans, advise and discuss innovative methods of improving teaching.

The concept of the Schools Advancement Academy (SAA) was adopted in 2011 to give effect to a more holistic approach on intervention programmes and to manage them in one basket.  It is the culmination of a series of engagements between CUT community, Department of Education, external partners such as Standard Bank, Interstate Bus Services, Telkom Foundation and Mutual and Federal after showing interest to partner with CUT on these respective programmes.

It was brought into existence to consolidate Saturday Classes for Grade 11 and 12, the Winter School and Spring School Programmes including EMDP (Educator Mentoring and Development Project).

Vision 2020 gives clear focus not only on technological but also social innovation, and the SAA are exactly such an initiative. Prof. Thandwa Mthembu, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of CUT, stated that the innovation is not new, but rather consolidating what has been active in the university, using expertise to support and direct contributions to the education in the central region.

“Taking the statistic of country’s education sector into consideration; the idea behind SAA is in response to the vast needs we have seen.” said Prof. Mthembu. “Today, we are not launching an idea, there are already tangible products being delivered in the academy.” said he.

Mr Giel de Villiers, Director of the SAA at CUT highlighted the fact that the academy took cognizance of research, and other reports including the new National Development Plan 2030 when planning initiatives. He also highlighted that the involvement of civil society with education and trust played a major role in the success of SAA. “Improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) outcomes, and learner retention is a major focus of the academy.” said de Villiers.

It is envisaged that SAA will be extended to CUT Welkom Campus where the need is equally if not much greater.


At the official launch of CUT’s Schools Advancement Academy: left to right is: Ms Nontando Seopa, CEO NLA Project Consulting; Prof. Henk de Jager, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic; Ms Thando Lepele, PRO for Interstate Bus Lines; MEC Tate Makgoe, Department of Education, Free State; Mr Giel de Villiers, Director of CUT-SAA; Ms Selloane Malie, Head: Business Banking at Standard Bank South Africa; Prof. Thandwa Mthembu, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of CUT; and Ms Angeline Mdakane, Programme Manager of Kagiso Shanduke Foundation Trust.


Educator Mentorship Development Programme: in 2012 School educators received teaching support materials to improve Math and Science. Pictured is Ms Sarah Mthintso, CEO of the Telkom Foundation, Mr Tau Seheri, Principal Bainsvlei Combined School, Ms Brenda Lebitsa, Chairperson of Governing Body Bainsvlei Combined School, and Miss Marlise Viljoen, Teacher Intermediate Phase at Bainsvlei Combined School with a group of school learners from Bainsvlei Combined School.

Winter School 2013: school learners undergo a two-week winter-school programme. The Free State province has set the 2013 target at 85 percent pass rate. CUT and partners, Department of Education, Standard Bank South Africa ensure that a rigorous time-table include seasoned teachers/lecturers, tutors, motivational talks, wellness programmes and a nutritional programme to give matrics a helping hand. Improvements in pass rates are noted in schools that join the Winter/Spring Schools.

Article issued by CUT

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