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COLP Principals Are Students too

Community of Learning Principals: Education on the other foot

South Africa has one of the highest rates of public investment in education in the world and yet South African learners perform poorly in international standardised tests, and countless schools still struggle to provide learners with basic tools such as stationery, textbooks and even desks. The Community of Learning Principals (CoLP) programme is intended to help change the situation.

Founded in 2011 by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences of the University of the Western Cape (UWC), in partnership with Symphonia for South Africa, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet with support from the South African Principal’s Association (SAPA), the CoLP initiative brings together principals from all over the Western Cape to equip them with leadership and management skills required to deal with the range of challenges they encounter at schools.

This year’s workshop topics go to further expand the programme’s aims to provide invaluable input on education-related issues, school management, networking and community engagement.

“This year, as CoLP expands nationally with events taking place in Johannesburg as well, we strive to present topics that go to further expand the CoLP Programme’s aims; to provide invaluable input on education-related issues, school management, networking and community engagement,” says Winslow Schalkwyk from Symphonia for South Africa.

Effective leadership skills are critical to the success of organisations across all sectors - and this is especially true in the education sector. The initiative targets principals because they are seen as catalysts to drive social change and are well-placed to strengthen the fabric of South African society.

CoLP also aims to make sure other key players, such as School Governing Bodies, function optimally. At the first CoLP event for 2015, speakers from academia and various organisations gave tips and best practice feedback on School Governing Body (SGB) Selection and Functionality, which school Principals could explore further and apply to their schools and communities - especially considering that SGB elections will be taking place early in 2015.

"MySchool has been raising funds for education for over 17 years,” says Helene Brand, Marketing Manager of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet. “By investing in CoLP we impact on the school leadership structure directly to support them with skills and networking opportunities which they would usually not have access to."  

“The CoLP Programme is unique because it touches more than the Principal,” adds Schalkwyk. “Our goal is not to just empower the Principals, but to equip them with the skills, knowledge and practical support to lead change and engage the parents at their school and the community at large.”

CoLP: Get involved

CoLP will be hosting a series of capacity-building workshops in 2015, giving these leaders within our community the opportunity to engage with their peers, experienced academics, business professionals and community leaders, and to share valuable information.

Workshops are free to all principals.

If you know any staff members, principals, community leaders or organisations that could benefit from attending CoLP events, please ask them to contact Melissa at or on 021 913 3507.

And why not join the conversation on Twitter.