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Media Release

18 April, 2007

Beyond the School Wall Educators' Graduation - Statement from the Extra-Mural Education Project (EMEP)

It takes a lot of creative thinking on the part of school leaders and managers to find ways to enhance learning in the context of severely constrained resources and difficult social environments.

Therefor, through a partnership between the Extra-Mural Education Project (EMEP), a non-profit development agency based in Cape Town, and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), educators from various schools have been trained to answer the challenge of creating conditions that will enable all children to succeed.

During a two-year Beyond the School Wall - Developing Extra-Mural Opportunities Training Course, a pilot project of EMEP and WCED to qualify and support teachers as Extra-Mural Development Practitioners (EMDPs), teachers have been equipped to develop extra-mural opportunities at their schools for the benefit of their learners, families, and communities.

The graduation of the first intake of 23 teachers from 14 schools will be celebrated at Sid G. Rule Primary School in Grassy Park on Saturday 21 April 2007 from 10h00 - 12h30. Education Minister Naledi Pandor will officiate the certificate ceremony. A range of school, government, and community players is expected to attend.

Said Jonathan Gevisser, Director of the Extra-Mural Education Project: "EMEP's vision, strongly supported by government, is of schools functioning as community hubs through an innovative extra-mural approach, using their existing resources maximally as the first strategic step to do so.

"A school operating as a community hub is a site of extra-mural opportunities for young people, their families, and their local communities. These range from sports, arts, recreation, environmental education, service learning, and study support to adult education and training, income generating projects, and support services (e.g. counselling, health, welfare, legal aid, etc).

"Extra-murals make use of time before, during, between, and, especially, after-class, as well as during evenings, weekends, and holidays. The EMEP model recognises that for the 'whole child' to be reached and supported fully to succeed, an holistic approach, requiring multiple supports - physical, emotional, social and academic - is vital.

"The Extra-Mural Development Practitioner (EMDP) graduates' skills include designing, leading and managing a holistic programme of extra-murals as well as mobilising partnerships to integrate existing community resources with the assets of the schools.

"The graduates report that some of the most positive outcomes of the training have been improved relationships within their own schools and between schools and their respective communities, that their leadership skills and ability to facilitate change have vastly improved, and that there have been many direct benefits for learners, families and community.

"According to some graduates, the skills they acquire from this programme have played a vital role in improving the impact on learners and the culture of teaching and learning. The integration of the curriculum and extra-murals has made learning more fun and enjoyable, and that leads to a positive attitude towards change."

Said Education MEC Cameron Dugmore: "I believe there is a reciprocal relationship between safe schools and safe communities. A community that is engaged, that feels ownership of and pride in its school, does not vandalise it and does not allow others to do so.

"A school is part of the community, its community role is to reach and serve the community, opening its doors to everyone and enabling the whole community to become a learning community.

"Learners, teachers and administrative staff are not only school agents; they are also community agents, agents of social change and development. We look to our role-model schools and teachers who have graduated, to give a lead in matters of extra-mural activities and their shaping power in young lives."

For more information contact Jonathan Gevisser at EMEP 021 448 0660, or Sarah Bliss 084 983 4333, or email info@emep.org.za.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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2007 WCED