An Mthatha school principal who transformed a local secondary school from ‘good to great’ has been selected to head the ambitious new Mandela School of Science & Technology.
Patuxolo Toni will be the first principal of Mvezo’s first high school. His record includes turning the Dalindyebo Secondary School from a moderate institution into one of the top performing schools in the Eastern Cape.
This makes him an excellent leader for the Mandela School, which is being built by global engineering firm Siemens at a cost of R100m in collaboration with the Mvezo Development Trust, the community of Mvezo, and the national and regional departments of education, science and technology.
The school is one of South Africa’s largest corporate social responsibility projects, and the fulfilment of Mandela’s dream of building a high school in the village of his birth.
It embodies Mandela’s belief that ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. The school’s motto is “Education is Freedom”.
Toni started teaching at a very young age and has taught extensively in rural areas. Behind him is a vast wealth of teaching and management experience. He believes in discipline, hard work and excellence from both staff and learners. “Students should ultimately be empowered to learn on their own,” he says.
Having specialised in maths, biology, science and history, in 1995 Toni completed a Masters degree in international relations and economics. He is well known for the training and mentoring he provides to government officials, school leaders and project teams.
His vision for the Mandela School is to create an institution of excellence and a bright beacon of learning in the Eastern Cape.
“Madiba would be very excited as he believes in upliftment for rural areas,” Toni said.
“The new Mandela school should produce top matriculants that go on to make a big difference in crucial fields like medicine and information technology.
“The learners that attend the school will live, breathe and think science and technology because it will be around them all the time, and will be taught in a way that delights and inspires eager young minds.”
From January next year, Grades 8, 9 and 10 will be offered at the school. Grade 11 will be incorporated in 2015 and Grade 12 the following year in 2016, when the school will operate at its full capacity of 700 learners.
Four sets of specialised subject streams that focus on engineering, science, technology or agriculture are available for learners to choose from.
Applications for the 2014 school year have closed, with applications received from as far as Cape Town. A lot of learners have selected the engineering subject stream.
Toni has been appointed in an acting capacity.
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