Leading | Connecting | Learning

Frequently asked questions


Frequently asked questions

What does the Zenex Foundation do?

Created in 1995, the Zenex Foundation is an independent, evidence-based grant-maker that has distinguished itself from other grant-making bodies by committing its entire budget to the advancement of Language and Mathematics education in South Africa. The Foundation co-designs the programmes it funds, informed by extensive research, monitoring and evaluation. This highly focused approach means that the Zenex Foundation is not able to support external, unsolicited proposals and requests for funding – be it from schools, learners, individuals or not-for-profit organisations.

Is the Zenex Foundation a corporate social investment vehicle of Zenex Oil?

No. The Zenex Foundation is an independent grant-maker. While the origins of the Zenex Foundation come from Esso Oil (that later became known as Zenex Oil), the Foundation was established as an independent trust in 1995, at which point all ties with Esso/Zenex Oil no longer existed.

How does the Zenex Foundation decide on which projects to fund?

The Zenex Foundation Management conceptualises its funded projects, informed by lessons drawn from internal and external research and evaluation. The executive members of the Board are responsible for the approval of all projects, their evaluations and research reports, and provide direction at crucial points in the roll out of the Foundation’s strategy.

Can I apply for funding from the Zenex Foundation?

The Zenex Foundation conceptualises and co-designs the programmes it funds, informed by extensive research and evaluation. It commits to multi-year funding of projects, which means its funding is committed in advance. This highly proactive approach means that the Zenex Foundation is not able to support external, unsolicited proposals and requests for funding – whether it be from schools, learners and other individuals, or not-for-profit organisations.

Does the Zenex Foundation provide bursaries?

No. The Zenex Foundation funds programmes rolled out in schools and provides various forms of support to learners, teachers and school leadership. The support provided ranges from additional academic instruction, teacher training workshops and classroom support; to the provision of resources. The support is provided through service providers who implement the programmes in schools. The Zenex Foundation only supports learners up to Grade 12 level. The Foundation does not provide individual funding to students and for tertiary studies.

Does the Zenex Foundation support individual schools?

No. The Zenex Foundation works with clusters of schools in projects that have been co-designed by the Foundation and its partners. The schools are identified through extensive engagement with relevant stakeholders and the Department of Education at district level. The schools have to meet clear selection criteria at inception of the projects. Different projects adopt different selection criteria informed by the objectives of the project.

Does the Zenex Foundation provide funding for building science or computer laboratories or classrooms?

No. The Zenex Foundation does not fund any form of infrastructural development (including building schools, laboratories and libraries).

Does the Zenex Foundation provide funding for research?

Yes. The Zenex Foundation commissions and funds research to better understand and solve key educational problems in Language and Mathematics. We put out calls for proposals and terms of reference to which suitable and interested parties can respond. The Foundation seeks to develop an extensive knowledge base in key strategic areas through its research, monitoring and evaluation.

Where does the Zenex Foundation roll out its projects?

The Zenex Foundation works in four provinces: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape to balance urban-rural, socio-economic and language contexts. We work nationally where strategic opportunities arise.

What are the Zenex Foundation funding principles?

The Zenex Foundation funding is guided by seven principles:
  1. Funds targeted areas of work in Language and Mathematics education.
Principle Two

2. Conceptualises and co-designs the programmes it funds in consultation with key stakeholders in education to address specific, identified gaps.

Principle Three

3. Adopts an evidence-based approach to designing programmes, informed by lessons drawn from internal and external research as well as independent evaluation of projects.

Principle Four

4. Promotes monitoring and evaluation as a tool for measuring impact and learning from practice.

Principle Five

5. Commissions research to better understand what works in Language and Mathematics teaching and learning.

Principle Six

6. Contributes to knowledge building in the sector by sharing findings from research and evaluations to inform policy and practice in the education and grant-making sectors.

Principle Seven

7. Operates on the basis of strong partnerships with Government, donors, NGOs and other education stakeholders involved in education delivery.