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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  23 Nov 2016

EDUCATION: Collaboratively Finding Practical Solutions to Many Societal Challenges


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Industry leaders from Absa, a member of the Barclays Africa Group Limited, Afrika Tikkun Services and Partnerships for Possibility met at The Wanderers Club in Illovo with an audience of top business leaders to discuss the ‘Current State of Education in South Africa’.

The first of a series of events coordinated by Tri-Anchor Connexions, agents of positive change and catalysts for solution-driven conversations, the panel discussion was borne of the belief in the power of collaboration and the need to find credible solutions to drive the country forward.

South Africans may be adept at identifying solutions to our challenges, yet the implementation thereof remains our downfall. This was the insight that galvanised the launch of Tri-Anchor Connexions’ series of debates and conversations hosted regularly to find solutions to the challenges impeding our progress as a society.

Founders Kalnisha Singh and Merle Faku explain that the concept is the brainchild of a network of businesswomen who are concerned by the lack of action when it comes to implementing solutions to problems. With this in mind, Tri-Anchor Connexions is not going to be yet another talk shop, far from it; “Our idea is to create meaningful dialogue about how we can solve our problems. The difference is that we will record all points made during these debates and repackage them so that they can be easily actioned,” Singh explains.

Tri-Anchor Connexions is to become monthly events kicking off from January next year, with their inaugural debate – exploring issues around the state of education in South Africa – hosted on 17 November 2016.

This month’s panel included Dina Cramer of Partners For Possibility, Dr Immelman Absa General Manager: Education and Skills and Marc Lubner CEO of Afrika Tikkun.

On Afrika Tikkun’s involvement, Lubner says, “Fortunately, in response to this sense of crisis over youth unemployment, a range of labour market interventions have been initiated by government, civil society and/or the private sector and are indicative of the country’s commitment to reducing youth unemployment rates. Collectively, these organisations, such as Absa, and programmes like Partners For Possibility, represent a significant investment in training provision for the workplace and offer accessible alternatives to formal post-secondary education for young people.

Such interventions aimed at developing the technical and work-related skills of young people – that is, pathways facilitating school to work passages, programmes operating on the supply side of the labour market such as Afrika Tikkun Services, invest a great deal of time and resources into training young people; providing them with technical and human capability skills with the intention of making them more competent for the workforce.

Lubner believes that despite the many visionaries working to address these challenges with hard-hitting initiatives, the reality is that socio-economic spend and development is fragmented. There is no collaboration between entities to ensure that organisations partner with children from infancy to adulthood to develop well-rounded individuals who are work-ready. Instead, programmes tackle just one aspect of a child or adult’s life. This approach fails to develop the holistic being.

He says, “Afrika Tikkun has been working within marginalised communities for over 20 years, readying young people for internships and jobs through our Cradle to Career programmes. We are one of few organisations that can literally track the developmental programmes that enable us to accredit the graduates from both a hard and soft skills perspective. We currently have close to 20 000 beneficiaries enrolled in our programmes.”

Lubner concludes that a society based on integrated solutions, requires integrated strategies to truly support itself and its capability, “If we could develop the cradle to career model countrywide through an integrated NGO sector working with corporate sector and government, I envisage that we would see significant and effective change in future generations and the leadership in our country.”

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