The numerous education challenges facing the Eastern Cape are high on the agenda of the two new staff members of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS) in this province.
The new provincial manager in the Eastern Cape, Mr Bun Hopley, has 35 years’ experience in education, of which the last 13 years were as head master of the oldest high school in South Africa, Muir College Boys’ High in Uitenhage. Hopley takes over from Mr Abé Smith, who retired after more than a decade with FEDSAS.
“One of the most important functions of FEDSAS is to support leaders of schools and governing bodies to take good decisions. Then there is the Eastern Cape’s huge backlog in appointing teachers as well as the challenge to provide schools with equipment and learning material,” explains Hopley. He is supported by the new deputy provincial manager, Ms Josephine Rodgers. She is a high school teachers whose career of two decades include teaching in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and the Middle East. She has experience in remedial as well as special needs education.
Rodgers says her focus is on schools in disadvantaged communities. Apart from all the challenges that also face other schools, these are no-fee schools. “I firmly believe that we can eradicate poverty through education. From Grade R children should be exposed to first-class education. This includes smaller classes, more teachers and teachers with better skills.”
“The Eastern Cape is a huge challenge in terms of education,” says Dr Jaco Deacon, Deputy CEO of FEDSAS. “Our staff are hand-picked to take on specific challenges. The new team in the Eastern Cape is no exception. With their experience and unique skills they are an asset to the broader education community in this province.”