For a city that is home to a respected university and some of SA’s leading private schools, Grahamstown’s educational challenges are conspicuous. Rhodes University, Kingswood College, St Andrew’s College and Diocesan School for Girls all boast outstanding academic records. But it’s a different story for state schools in a city where jobs are scarce and the matric pass rate is below 50%. Rhodes Business School is leading an initiative to raise standards at 24 schools in the area. Director Owen Skae says the Principals’ Programme, launched in 2016, is a natural extension of SA business schools’ commitment to support ventures where leadership and management development are required. Rhodes’ partner is Gadra, the Grahamstown Area Distress Relief Association, whose director, Ashley Westaway, came up with the concept, along with independent researcher Cathy Meiklejohn. The programme is managed by Rhodes academic Noel Pearse.

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