Retired business leaders urged to use knowledge and skills to improve education in SA

Retired business leaders urged to use knowledge and skills to improve education in SA
SSA’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Dorcas Dube

Internationally acclaimed Symphonia for South Africa (SSA) is inviting retired business leaders to join its Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme in 2021. This is an opportunity to contribute to education by sharing the valuable leadership skills and knowledge gained through years of work experience, with a principal from an under-resourced school in South Africa.

“After dedicating decades to a career, gaining vast experience and skills, and creating an extensive network of colleagues, retirement can be an exciting and productive time to make a significant contribution to education. Joining Partners for Possibility gives retirees a way to utilise their resources in a new purpose-drive, post-career phase,’’ says SSA’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Dorcas Dube.

PfP pairs a business leader with a school principal, and they become agents of change, finding their own solutions to the problems the school faces. Both partners attend several leadership training courses and facilitated coaching sessions with other principals and business leaders over the course of a year. Through this dynamic, in-field leadership development process, principals are empowered to embed their schools at the centre of their communities and social justice takes centre stage within the school.

A recent survey conducted by Age Wave in partnership with Bank of America/Meryl Lynch has uncovered how retirement transforms ‘giving back’, and why retirees across different ethnicities, races and income levels are able to give more and have even greater impact than younger age groups. Over 65% of the 3,694 respondents say that with more time, skills, and savings to contribute, retirement is the most opportune time to contribute their talents and money to building their communities.

“PfP gave me a unique opportunity to use what I had acquired in business over my career to benefit a school principal. I see life as having 3 stages: Learning, earning, and returning. I couldn’t have imagined that the final stage would have been the most rewarding,” says Mike Wolhuter, retiree and former MD of Pressure Die Castings (PDC) Pty Ltd.

“South Africa has many business leaders who have been well-equipped by their organisations to assume leadership positions and manage change. Mobilizing this large, often neglected cohort of business retirees, is a massive opportunity for education. Research shows that successful schools are run by capacitated and energised school principals. Simply put, school leadership is a key driver of quality education. Supporting a PfP school principal is a direct investment in meaningful and lasting change for the benefit of all our children,” adds Dube.

PfP aims to reach 600 under-resourced schools within the next two years. If successful, the programme will realise its goal of impacting 1800 schools by 2022. Within 10 years, the PfP programme has reached over 1,500 schools across all nine of South Africa’s provinces and has touched the lives of over a million learners.

PfP has been endorsed by prominent South African thought leaders including former Public Protector Professor Thuli Madonsela and Distinguished Professor of Education at Stellenbosch University, Jonathan Jansen. The programme has received numerous local and international accolades.

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