South African Minister learns from students in Mount Seskin

By Aideen O'Flaherty

THE South African Minister of Education for the Western Cape, Debbie Schafer, may be implementing a number of new school programmes in the Western Cape following her visit to Mount Seskin Community College in Jobstown last month.

This followed a trip that was undertaken by Mount Seskin Community College teacher Caitriona Mulhall last summer, when she travelled to South Africa with Mellon Educate to work in schools in underdeveloped urban areas, known as townships.

3rd year students with visitors teacher M. Mulhall and Principal Mr. Fennessy

When Ms Mulhall was working in these schools she met Minister Debbie Shafer, who expressed an interest in visiting the Jobstown school she worked in, so that the minister and her team could “learn from our teaching and administration methods to support their goal of improved education across South Africa,” according to Ms Mulhall.

Ms Mulhall said: “The purpose of their visit was to see how schools in Ireland operate, and to provide the team with ideas which could be implemented in schools across their region so that the schools can improve student enjoyment, appreciation, and overall benefit from attending school.”

The minister got an overview of the different facilities, clubs and support groups in the school, including the school’s breakfast club, the ‘payback system’ which requires students who show up late for school to stay afterschool for 15 minutes, the student council and the adult education team.

Ms Mulhall said: “The minister and her team confirmed that there were a number of programmes in operation in the school which they feel would be of benefit to the pupils in their region, and across South Africa as a whole.

“The students and teachers of Mount Seskin appreciated the visit of the South African team, and our pride in the school was evident throughout the day.

“I have offered, along with our principal Austin Fennessy, and the extended teaching staff, to liaise with the team and provide any additional assistance that we can going forward.”

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