‘Hope For Education in South Africa’ summit in Bloemfontein

Prof Jonathan Jansen…participating in education summit. (PHOTO: SAIRR)

Hope for education in South Africa is the theme of a two-day education summit that started in Bloemfontein today.

About 35 faith and civil society leaders are attending the National Religious Association for Social Development (NRASD) consultation which is exploring ways for successful private educational models to benefit dysfunctional public schools, said NRASD executive director Dr Renier Koegelenberg in an interview this week.

The summit is being chaired by Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa and Professor Jonathan Jansen,Rector and Vice Chancellor of Free State University.

Summit speakers, including Prof Jansen; former education Director General Professor Mary Metcalfe; businessman and former headmaster Kevin Tait; Anglican Bishop of Lesotho, Adam Taaso; and Dr Braam Hanekom, Moderator of the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Western and Southern Cape; were scheduled to present reports today on successful educational initiatives run by churches and other private organisations.

The summit is the start of a three-year process during which churches and other organisations aim to develop constructive educational interventions into public schools of which some 80% are in disarray, said Koegelenberg.

The next step in the process will be to convene a broader, national educational consultation, he said.

The Hope For Education in South Africa summit arose out of a mid-October NSRAD gathering in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, at which church leaders focused on the National Development Plan. Minister of National Development and Planning, Trevor Manuel addressed the meeting, and urged church leaders not to wait for government alone to address issues in our country but to take the initiative to encourage all citizens to become actively involved in the full realisation of democracy. According to a NSRAD media statement released after the Kempton Park gathering, church leaders committed themselves not only to exercise a prophetic role in addressing the struggles in South Africa but to get actively involved in making a difference in the lives of the poor, sick and suffering in our land today and to play a role in effecting healing, reconciliation and wholeness. They also called on government to more seriously recognise that religious bodies are key partners in bringing about change in South Africa.

Leaders who attended the Kempton Park consultation on October 15 and 16 are:
Archbishop Dr Thabo Makgoba – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Bishop Lunga ka Siboto – Ethiopian Episcopal Church
Rev Motlalentwa Betha – Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
Archbishop Dr. Zandisile Magxwalisa – Jerusalem Church in South Africa
Prof Jerry Pillay – Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
Fr Richard Menatsi – Catholic Church in South Africa
Pastor Dr. Butisi Yakobi – Assemblies of God South Africa
Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Rev Vuyani Nyobole – Methodist Church of Southern Africa
Rev Braam Hanekom – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
Rev Willie Van der Merwe – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
Dr Kobus Gerber – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
Rev Hermy Damons – International Federation of Christian Churches
Canon Desmond Lambrechts – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Rev Vasco Da Gama Seleoane – African Enterprise
Rev Moss Ntlha – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
Rev Marlene Mahokoto – Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
Dr Renier Koegelenberg – National Religious Association for Social Development
Dr Welile Mazamisa – National Religious Association for Social Development
Miles Giljam – African Enterprise
Marcus Van Wyk – National Dialogue Initiative for Social Change.

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