Four SA teachers off to Sweden as part of SA-Sweden Schools Exchange

Four teachers from Ivory Park Secondary School have been selected as part of the South Africa-Sweden Schools Exchange to visit Sweden, to spend time learning about the Swedish education system, and identify ways to improve education in SA local schools.

 This programme forms part of the Olof Palme Youth Education Initiative, an educational programme of Africa Reading Consultants (Pty) Ltd that aims to provide a platform to educate and instil the patriotic values in the youth of South Africa for a better South Africa by learning from Olof Palme’s legacy.

 Olof Palme was a Swedish politician who wholeheartedly supported the struggle against colonialism and apartheid. The historic ties between the people of Sweden and South Africa’s liberation movement was epitomised by the comradeship between the late President of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, and Palme. They met in early 1962 in Sweden and Palme became known not only as a leader of the Swedish people and an international statesman, but also a fellow combatant who made an inestimable contribution to the struggle for the liberation of South Africa.

 The Olof Palme Youth Education Initiative is one of the platforms created to develop relevant educational projects to enable the youth of South Africa, especially those in schools from the previously disadvantaged communities that Palme fought for, to formally begin to reflect on his legacy.

 African Bank has stepped in to sponsor the selected teachers. “The initiative will see teachers from various schools in Johannesburg go to Sweden. African Bank, through its Trust, has sponsored Teacher Development at Ivory Park through the Schools Connectivity Computer Training Project, and this initiative complements our Teacher Development objectives,” says Kennedy Dembetembe, National CSI Manager for African Bank.

The teachers have been invited by Brinell Upper Secondary School in the Nassjo Municipality, Sweden. “Phase 1 will see our teachers go to Sweden, and phase 2 will see teachers from Sweden coming to South Africa. This will expand in coming months and years to an exchange of students. This is a massive development for a township based school,” says Dembetembe.  

The initiative is supported by the Swedish Government, Swedish businesses, and politicians who spent time in Sweden namely former Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Mothlante.

“The objectives for the teacher exchange programme is to encourage knowledge and information sharing among teachers in common learning areas such as Technology; Mathematics; Natural Sciences; Social Sciences; Arts and Culture; Life Orientation; Languages; and Economic and Management Sciences, etc. The idea is also to share skills in dealing with different challenges faced or encountered in the teaching profession and to enhance good governance and accountability among teachers in schools,” explains Dembetembe. “While in Sweden the teachers will be involved in classroom observation, subject teaching, report writing and educational sightseeing.”

 The teachers are set to leave for Sweden on 30 September returning on 7 October. African Bank is sponsoring their flights and two events before their departure.

“We are excited to be part of this initiative that is going to change lives and contribute to the betterment of our education system,” concludes Dembetembe.