Les Osler, the HCET project co-ordinator, and Estelle Jacobs, its project manager, recently attended a conference on Rural Social Cohesion held by the Mandela Initiative in Victoria West.
The HCET has received a visit from members of Pebbles, a wonderful project working with children and families in Winelands farming communities in the Western Cape. See their website at www.pebblesproject.co.za. The visited allowed Pebbles and HCET staff to share ideas and best practices, and plans were made for a reciprocal visit. The visitors and hosts enjoyed lunch at the HCET Hospitality Centre in Colesberg.
THE story of the genesis and development of the HCET over the past 25 years has been recorded in a book. Entitled Trust and Hope: The Story of the Hantam Community Education Trust, it has been written by Anne Hill, an education specialist who has consulted to the HCET for a number of years and is intimately familiar with its history.
Researched over several years, the author drew on unrestricted access to data in reports and records, as well as in-depth interviews with key role players.
In a foreword, Jonty Driver writes:
‘For the last quarter-century, and more particularly since 1992 when I was first allowed to become a regular visitor to what was until 1964 my home country, I have watched and marvelled at the growth of the Hantam Community Education Trust. I am delighted that, now, we have a clear and ordered history of how the scheme was envisaged, and how it has developed. Anne Hill’s own intimate vantage place as a trainer and a coach of teachers gives her special insight into the school and its place in the community, and this book should become, not just as history, but a lesson in how development best takes place, not imposed from outside according to a model dreamed up by strangers and imposed by diktat, but thoughtfully worked out, in consultation with the community in which it is based.
‘It is an exciting story, too, and an honest one, because the failures, false starts and misapprehensions along the route have not been ignored, but explained. This is a history in its wider context; the many problems – both before and after apartheid – in South African education, especially in schools, are explicitly addressed, not glossed over.
‘When people express disappointment that post-apartheid South Africa seems to be taking longer than they had hoped to become the sort of society we would all wish for, I tell them always that they should visit the school and its associated ventures. There they would see what may be achieved by combining imagination, energy and commitment with a clear and unsentimental vision, and by using what resources are provided by the state, even when they aren’t enough, then supplementing them with private finance raised with enthusiasm, rather than lamentation about the inadequacy of state provision. The HCET is a triumph of the determination to get things done, rather than to submit to the lethargy of complaint: ‘we must get this done’, rather than ‘they should do something about this’.
‘This book reveals a paradigm of the possibilities, not only in South Africa. I commend it to all readers, not merely to those interested in education, but to anyone concerned about social development; and I congratulate its author as warmly as I praise Lesley Osler, Clare Barnes-Webb, Anja Pienaar, Nombulelo Matyeke, Thembakazi Matera, Lettie Martins, Louis Benjamin, and the many others involved in the project, for what has been achieved, and what will I am sure go on being achieved for even longer than the twenty-five years recorded here.’
The book can be purchased from the HCET at a cost of R120 excluding postage. To order one or more copies, please use our contact form.
IN December 2015, the HCET held its annual graduation ceremony in the Colesberg High School hall. The photograph below shows all the learners who came first in their standard, from Grade 1 to Grade 9. The ceremony was attended by Trustees, learners, parents, and other family members. Learners from each grade performed an item on stage. Refreshments were served after the ceremony.
In 2014, Thembakazi Matyeka successfully completed her studies towards a National Professional Teacher’s Diploma at Free State University. She received her certificate at a graduation ceremony in December.
In November, Hospitality School students were assessed by Maritha Steyn of Steyn’s Culinary School in Pretoria, and a representative of City & Guilds (UK). The students prepared a delicious breakfast for 24 invited guests on consecutive days. Standards were exceptional, and all the students passed.
In October 2014, the HCET held its annual school prize giving ceremony in the Colesberg High School hall. It was very well attended by both farm and town parents and relatives. Below are learners who came first in their grade.
In April, children enrolled in the nursery school in the Fundisana Early Learning Centre received beautiful new jerseys knitted for them by a women’s group in George.
In March 2014, Grade 9 pupils attended the Science Festival in Grahamstown. They attended workshops on the maths of beading; attended a laser show; made rockets; made a racing car; visited the National and Observatory Museum; and swam in the sea at Port Alfred (many of the children had not seen the sea before!).
In January 2014, Dr Louis Benjamin conducted a refresher course in the Basic Concepts Programme with Early Childhood Development Phase teachers (also see www.basicconcepts.co.za).
In March and August 2014, the maths educator Aarnout Bromberger conducted a two-week maths upgrade training through Number Sense course at the HCET.