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Media Release

22 October, 2007

W Cape celebrates Bitou education partnership

BITOU 10 EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION

Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore will be visiting schools in the greater Bitou Municipal Area tomorrow (October 23) and meeting informally with the entire Bitou school community of some 300 teachers and administrative staff ahead of a formal visit by National Minister of Education Naledi Pandor on November 1, as part of the official launch of the Bitou 10 Education and Development Foundation.

This is a rural School Cluster model which has successfully sustained educational upliftment over seven years in partnership with the 10 schools and WCED's South Cape Karoo EMDC. Its key focus has been literacy, numeracy, school improvement and leadership mentorship. Currently the three parties are developing an innovative memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how they will best work together to the benefit of all the children in the Bitou region.

The Foundation is also facilitating the formulation of An Integrated Education Development Plan for the Bitou Region and the Mayor of Bitou will present a progress report MEC Dugmore , and the first draft of the Plan to Minister Pandor. This represents the work done by some 87 community organizations who are concerned with the education journey of the child from ECD to ABET as a result of the Mayor Lulama Mvimbi calling for a Bitou Education Indaba earlier this year.

Operating as the Cadbury School Development Initiative (CSDI) since 2000, the Bitou 10 Education and Development Foundation was registered as a Section 21 company in March 2006 to ensure local ownership of a project in the belief that "No people will ever release their creative capacity for productivity and development without real participation". The formal launch of the Foundation takes place on Thursday evening, November 1, when the Minister will address some 350 education and business representatives.

Jeremy Ractliffe, a Foundation Director who has been involved in the project since inception said the Ministers' support for the project would go a long way in continuing to improve the education and lives of thousands of school pupils in the region.

Bitou 10 is a private sector intervention whose support and enrichment programmes are aimed at adding value to the 10 government-operated schools in the greater Bitou region from Kranshoek to The Crags. Its predecessor, the CSDI, was initiated in response to a call by former South African president Nelson Mandela for Cadbury to get involved in supplying seed-funding and organisational skills to support an education project with him.

Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore has welcomed the initiatives of the Bitou Ten Foundation, and applauded it for its efforts to help schools deliver quality education.

"Whilst government is making interventions and whilst our interventions have shown what can be done, I think at the end of the day, government alone will not make a difference. We shall never succeed without working together, and all of us must put the interests of our kids first.

"I am sure the schools in this area, like so many other schools, are very appreciative of the support of organisations like the Bitou Ten Foundation. I really want to thank all of them for the support they provide to the schools, without which our task would have been even more difficult."

For further enquiries, please contact Jeremy Ratcliffe: jeremyr@icon.co.za

Issued by:
Jeremy Ratcliffe
Director
Western Cape Education Foundation


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