By ASHLEY WESTAWAY
Community members flocked to GADRA’s 2022 AGM, held on 6 September at the Joza Youth Hub, and welcomed its renewed determination to take local educational performance to new heights.
The organisation’s Board and management used the occasion of its AGM to present the findings of a recent external evaluation and the recommendations of its strategic plans for 2023 – 2027.
Key aspects of the plan that were welcomed by the meeting were:
- GADRA intends to build on recent educational successes in Makhanda, thereby achieving new heights concerning matric pass rates, Bachelor pass rates and enabling local students to access Rhodes University. Its priority is to facilitate the emergence of Makhanda as THE leading educational centre in the country.
- GADRA aims to further strengthen its institutional partnership with Rhodes University.
- GADRA is committed to continuing to deliver educational services to the city’s young people through its GADRA Matric School (GMS) and Whistle Stop School. It will also continue to work with public schools and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to boost the performance of local schools, especially in the no-fee sector.
Various important stakeholder groups were well represented at the meeting, as follows:
- Parents and family members of students registered at the GADRA Matric School;
- Leaders in the public sector, including school Principals and DBE officials;
- Academic staff and students from Rhodes University; and
- GADRA Board members and senior staff.
GADRA staff regretted not hiring a bigger venue because the hall at the Joza Youth Hub could not accommodate all who arrived at the meeting. Those who couldn’t be housed in the hall agreed to sit in the passageway to be part of the meeting and listen to the discussions. Over 100 people were in attendance.
The meeting elected GADRA’s Board for the upcoming period. Those elected to steer the organisation as it implements its new strategic plan are:
- Prof Ken Ngcoza – chairperson
- Margie Keeton – treasurer
- Dr Ashley Westaway – administrator
- Radio Mcuba – representative of the education community
- Patience Vanda – representative of the Parent Body
- Mbalentle Gova – representative of the Rhodes Student Body
The meeting was characterised by lively discussion. One of the points most warmly received by those in attendance was Radio Mcuba’s comment that all parents and all families should join GADRA in its pursuit of educational excellence because education is a societal challenge. In his professional capacity, Mcuba is the Principal of Khutliso Daniels.