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The West Rand always make headline news for all the wrong reasons. Just last week police raided schools in Bekkersdal and found alcohol and drugs on pupils.
But the picture that will remain etched in people's minds is that of two Madiba High School pupils in Kagiso drinking alcohol on their way to school. Though this is not unique to the area, it added to the negative picture the area has when it comes to education.
My former high school, Kagiso Senior Secondary, has produced great leaders such as Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, legal eagle Themba Langa, former Pikitup managing director Zami Nkosi, Mogale City spokesman Nkosana Zali and journalist Don Makatile, to name a few.
However, most parents in the area are reluctant to send their kids to Kagiso Senior Secondary but some have no choice. Why?
This is because the school has a history of poor performance and is also notorious for having pupils who beat up teachers and come to school drunk.
The new principal, Vuyo Zali, who is a former pupil, seems to be the new broom that promises to sweep clean and bring about much-needed change at the school.
On Saturday, I went to help paint the school. Many people from the surrounding area turned up to paint, and clean the yard and classrooms.
Is this a sign of good things to come? I hope so.
For how long are township schools going to specialise in poor performance? We can no longer blame apartheid for the schools' mediocre results. It is about time they produced top pupils and excellent results. We must, as parents and residents, begin to be part of the education solution.
Concerned citizens in the area have started an initiative to help improve education on the West Rand. West Rand executive mayor Mpho Nawa is part of the project. So are Vuyo Zali, 2011 Boss of the Year, pastor Chris Mukoki and Nico Molefe, who is the brains behind the project.
The project is still in its infancy and needs more volunteers who want to make a contribution to improve education on the West Rand.
This is an opportunity for people who reside on the West Rand to help in little ways to turn things around in education. Let's grab this opportunity with both hands and help build the leaders of tomorrow.