Second Boks for Books literacy campaign school library to open
Gcobani Higher Primary School in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape will become the second school to benefit from the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) Boks for Books literacy campaign when they open the doors to their new library on 22 August 2013.
The school was identified for the resource as part of the Boks for Books campaign – a major new Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative by SARU to supply fully stocked mobile or refurbished libraries to previously disadvantaged schools.
SARU CEO Jurie Roux said the Boks for Books project was still in its infancy but he welcomed the opening of the first SARU-backed library.
“This is just the first step of the campaign,” said Roux. “Over the coming months and years we will be opening more libraries and announcing other initiatives to promote literacy among our children.
“I am also excited to announce that a number of our sponsors have immediately expressed their desire to partner in this project and we will be making further announcements in due course. We are committed to making a difference by putting something back into South African society.”
Renovation work on the Gcobani Higher Primary School project started on 1 July 2013 and merely a month later is ready to be utilised, being fully shelved and stocked. The training of the librarians will be complete by 12 August 2013.
The decision to choose the School was based on a number of factors including the need in the Eastern Cape, the quality of leadership at the school, the needs of the learners and the welcoming of the project by the community at large.
The first school chosen was the KwaManzini Higher Primary School based in KZN. The official opening of this library is due to take place in September 2013.
SARU is planning to provide a minimum of 23 libraries per year across South Africa, which aligns with 23 players in a team. The project will be assisted by corporate and public sponsorship to ensure that this number is reached.
The Acting Principal of the Gcobani Higher Primary School, Mrs Mjila said: “On behalf of the parents, learners and teachers I would like to thank SARU and the Springboks for their kindness and thoughtfulness in choosing our school as a recipient.
“Receiving a library will be of great assistance to our learners as well as the community at large. We want to ensure that our learners become independent and are able to research information for their learning subjects as well as read for pleasure to broaden their minds.”
“That’s why I believe the Boks for Books campaign is so important and why my team mates and I are right behind it. School has made me what I am today – And I hope this campaign will help other youngsters become all they can be.”
South Africa currently holds approximately 12.3 million learners, although only 8% of these public schools have functional libraries. The majority of these are found in former ‘Model C’ schools where they have the resources to staff and stock libraries.
In 2011, the World Economic Forum ranked South Africa 140th out of 144 nations based on national educational assessments.
Boks for Books was launched in Durban last month by Roux, SARU President Mr Oregan Hoskins, Springbok captain Jean de Villiers and a number of players from various national squads– the Springboks, Springbok Sevens, Junior Springboks and SA Women.
“SARU is a caring corporate citizen and our teams have contributed to social cohesion and nation building by their performances on the field,” said Roux. “But we wanted to find other ways to contribute to national life.
“We chose education and literacy as a focus area as it is priority for a national government and there are clear synergies with rugby. Springboks are made in schools and every one of them values the chances they have been given through their schooling.
“Our Boks for Books campaign will provide opportunities for children who could not have expected them otherwise and while we’re not trying to make them into Springboks on the field, we will be hoping that they turn them into champions in the class room.”
De Villiers said: “I was fortunate enough to go to a school which provided me with every opportunity I could have hoped for – both in education as well as on the playing field. Without my school background I wouldn’t be here today.
The new library will officially be opened on the 22 August 2013, by Mr Mark Alexander, Deputy President of SARU.