Rhodes University’s award-winning community engagement programme, the Nine Tenths Matric Mentoring Programme, celebrated winning first in the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship recently, beating over 388 universities in 77 countries.
The University was awarded this prize earlier this year but due to COVID-19 disruptions were not able to celebrate with other prize run-ups. The celebration was the last leg of a week-long satellite conference on community engagement held in Bloemfontein.
The prize-giving also served as an opportunity for the top three prize winners to discuss the value of global citizenship, strategic partnership, and the importance of community engagement projects.
President of the Talloires Network of Engaged Universities, Tony Cook, convened the prize-giving by praising the Nine Tenths programme for its commitment to combating unequal education in Makhanda.
“The success of the programme is evident in the increasing pass rates of university entrance level exams. That’s an extraordinary achievement, and we congratulate you,” said Cook.
The Nine Tenths Programme provides mentorship and a broadened education to pupils in no-fee paying schools in Makhanda. The mentorship programme is run through a partnership by the Rhodes University Community Engagement Division, local high schools and GADRA Education, a non-profit organisation working to end the education crisis in Makhanda. The programme works with four partner schools, including Mary Waters High School, Ntsika Secondary School, Khutliso Daniels Secondary School and Nombulelo High School.
Nolubabalo Makombe from GADRA Education added to the discussion by noting the success of the Nine Tenths programme was due to community partnerships.
“The Nine Tenths mentoring programme has been successful because of good partnerships between Rhodes University and the Makhanda community,” she said. She added that the strategic partnerships in community engagement pull wisdom from different stakeholders.
“GADRA is one of the oldest organisations in Makhanda. It was founded 63 years ago, and it has worked in the community space and the education space for a long time. It is well versed in terms of the needs and gaps in our education system. They bring a lot of expertise and experience to the partnership with Rhodes University,” said Makombe.
Over the years, the programme has helped produce quality results for matriculants hoping to get into University. The past year’s results were awe-inspiring because a record number of mentees of the programme qualified for university entrance, despite the pandemic. These included 89 bachelor passes from the four schools, 32 full-time Rhodes University students, 26 Extended Studies students and five full-time students at other universities.
Additionally, Khutliso Daniels Secondary School grew its bachelor passes by ten times and increased its overall pass rate by 28%. Ntsika Secondary School doubled its bachelor pass rate to 85%.
Source: Rhodes University Communications