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The Zenex Foundation is calling for EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST from Non Governmental Organisations, Academic Institutions and other players in the field for partners to design a pilot of interventions aimed at addressing Mathematics and English content backlogs in grades 8 and 9. The Foundation will consider projects for implementation in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape only. The expression of interest should specify the proposed province/s of implementation

The Zenex Foundation extends its heartfelt congratulations to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the newly-appointed leadership in the national and provincial departments of basic education. We were particularly delighted and encouraged by the retention of the education Minister and some provincial education MECs, particularly in two provinces in which we work (Gauteng and the Western Cape). We look forward to a continuation of our partnership with government as we work together to address key education challenges in South Africa.

 

The Zenex Foundation attended the inaugural conference of the National Association of Social Change Entities in Education (NASCEE), which took place on 28-9 May 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosebank. The conference was held to launch NASCEE formally and to offer community leaders, activists and strategists a platform to come together and share insights. The theme for this event was “NPOs Working in Education: from Promise to Practice”.

Literacy and language are the foundation of all learning. It is for this reason that the Zenex Foundation has a history of committed and evidence-based support for literacy. Over the 23 years of its existence as an independent donor, Zenex has supported literacy either by way of interventions in schools; materials development and/or research. The impact of this support has been evaluated through extensive Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) and important lessons have been learnt about supporting literacy improvement at school level.

Zenex Foundation has an annual budget of R 75 million to spend on grant making and general operations. Managing a task of this nature requires meticulous attention to detail, strong leadership and ethical conduct. The man behind this task at Zenex Foundation is Paresh Govind, Director of Finance & Corporate Services.

We caught up with him to find out more about his background, passions and future aspirations. Paresh’s story is one of overcoming obstacles, making sacrifices for loved ones and pursuing a life of fulfilment. While he had a rocky start in life, his perseverance and the support of his family has seen him through.

Getting literacy right is of critical importance in South Africa. The results of the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) show that 78% of South African Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning in any language. South Africa was placed last out of 50 countries in this study (behind middle-income countries such as Iran, Chile, Morocco, and Oman) and some six learning years behind the highest performer, Russia.

Developing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds has been the nub of Zenex’s learner support programmes for the past ten years. These learners are primed to enter tertiary education and contribute to scarce skills.

We caught up with Jonathan Banza and Laila Bera who were both part of the Zenex Inkanyezi Project. After successfully completing matric, they secured scholarships at the African Leadership Academy (ALA). This is residential academic institution which offers two-year courses to exceptional students from across Africa. It is aimed at producing future African leaders. Laila and Jonathan are currently doing their second year at the academy. Jonathan and Laila have risen above their challenging backgrounds through resilience and hard work.

In 2015, the Zenex Foundation launched an internal internship programme to commemorate 20 years of impact-fully driving educational change in South Africa. The objective of the programme was to create opportunities for workplace experience for young people. This programme is directly aligned to the Foundation’s vision which is to have “skilled and empowered young people that can contribute towards the growth, development, and democratisation of the country.” The positions were created to support communications, finance and administration within the organisation. The internship runs for a period of 18-24 months and interns are given an opportunity to learn through a structured work plan developed jointly with their managers.

The Zenex Literacy Project (ZenLit) that commenced in 2014 reached its final year of implementation in 2017. Between 2014 and 2017, the Zenex Foundation designed and tested a model for improving the way literacy at Foundation Phase in both Home Language (HL) and English First Additional Language (EFAL) is taught and learnt. When the project was completed, the Zenex Board approved an extension of the coaching component of the project. The approval for the extension was informed by evaluation findings which showed that coaching plays a big role in ensuring that good teaching and learning practices are embedded.

The evaluation of the Zenex Literacy Project (ZenLit) was conducted by the Evaluation Research Agency (ERA), based at the Stellenbosch University. The Project was evaluated over a three-year period (from 2014 – 2017), using a framework which included repeated measures testing and control schools.

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