Needs in SA Says Archway Foundation
State does not provide all essential facilities for schools
It’s more urgent than ever for the private sector to help alleviate the enormous shortfall in essential education facilities. Government is not keeping up with the existing and increasing needs of schools. Millions of children are not getting what they need for a comprehensive education.
These are among the preoccupations of John Matthews, CEO of Garden Cities, the Western Cape’s oldest and largest residential development company. Matthews resolved while he was still at school to do what he could to improve facilities for education in disadvantaged communities. And he has.
With his company’s Board and their Archway Foundation that was established for the purpose shortly after he took office, a big dent has been made in the hundreds of schools that do not have a hall. Since it started, the foundation has been responsible for the building of 67 school halls, alone or with the collaboration of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). The foundation is endowed with funds from the company’s profits to do its work.
More recently, the Archway has also been partnering the University of the Western Cape to provide science laboratories for schools in need in the province, and so far it has collaborated on 32 of these projects. The labs are provided complete with the entire infrastructure that includes hardware, equipment and chemicals, as well as the training of teachers in their use.
‘I knew, first hand, what it was like to go to a school that lacked all the things that teachers then, and particularly now, consider absolutely essential to a holistic education. The things we didn’t have, like the halls - which nearly a million kids in the Western Cape still today don’t have - are not add-ons or luxuries. Without them, it will be an ongoing struggle to achieve world-level education standards.
'And there’s actually no reason whatsoever that our children shouldn’t have the best education the world can offer. It’s all in the will of the people who have the power to create the change.'