The Centres of Learning Initiative is a whole school development project funded by the Delta Foundation. It is based in Port Elizabeth from where Delta Motor Company draws its workforce. The immediate beneficiaries are the communities of the Delta workers. Therefore all 18 project-schools are located in historically disadvantaged communities.
Innovation: The Initiative is based on the principle that in order for schools to deliver effective education to all learners and prepare them for active economic life once they leave school, they must first operate as functional institutions. Specific stratified training intervention was therefore designed for each school in the areas of school governance, management, leadership, administration, school development planning and computer literacy. The project focuses on leadership, administration, management and governance. The project design also emphasizes stakeholder-based education systems.
Poverty Impact: This envisages that the schools become self-managing institutions. More than 220 teachers received computer literacy training. 18 governing councils received formal training in school governance while 600-650 teachers and principles received school leadership training. The management of schools has improved. Staff and parents are more involved and teacher morale is better. Schools produce better equipped learners, ready for the work place.
Sustainability: In order for the project to be sustained once the Delta Foundation has withdrawn, officials in the Department have been trained in whole school development. The provincial Education Department has decided to structure the district office in such a way as to facilitate the Centres of Learning project.
Replication: The functionality instrument and training framework have been made available to all provincial Education Departments for wide-scale replication.