By Chamu Wilson –
The Free State Department of Education were the big winners at the recent 2018 PMR.africa Awards held at Kopang Nokeng Country Lodge and Conference Centre on the outskirts of Bloemfontein.
As a worthy recognition for the efforts being put in the education sector in the province, the department walked away with two gold awards, one for being the Provincial Government Department doing the most overall for Prosperity and Growth while the second one was for being the Most Effective Provincial Department in Achieving its Goals, while its MEC, Tate Makgoe, was adjudged the Diamond Arrow Award winner in the Pro-active Political Leaders over the past 12 months category.
In an interview on the sidelines of the awards ceremony, Makgoe dedicated the department’s success to teachers who he described as the cornerstone for the good results that Free State has been producing over the years.
“I am happy that we are being recognised by the private sector for the efforts that we are putting in ensuring that education in the province remains a priority. Once again, I feel the credit should go to the teachers who work tirelessly to produce excellent results. I must say we have some of the best teachers in the country and we are very proud of them,” Makgoe said.
The MEC emphasized the critical importance of education in the development of any economy.
“Education plays a crucial role in the success of any nation. If we can make it in education, everybody in the province of the Free State can make it. When I came to the Department of Education, the Matric results pass rate was around 69 percent. I was told that when we set targets, the aim is not to achieve them but just as a motivation. I remember telling officials in the department that we will set targets and achieve those targets,” he said.
The province first achieved the target that it had set for itself in 2011 when it scored a 75,7% pass rate. Free State has gone on to consistently achieve a pass rate of more than 80% in the Matric examinations and became the best performing province in the country in 2013 and later in 2016 and 2017.
The Deputy Director General in the Department of Education, Motseki Monnane, who received the two awards on behalf of the department, attributed their success to the fact that they set targets for themselves and work towards achieving them.
“We have received two awards as a department for this year. Our core business is learning and teaching and we have been relatively successful because we have continuously set targets for ourselves and have worked hard to achieve them. We are also contributing positively towards making sure that conditions in schools are conducive to effective learning,” said Monnane.
He went on to add that it was motivating to note that what they are doing in government is being recognised by the private sector.
Meanwhile, Motheo TVET College received the Diamond Arrow award in the Colleges and Training Institutions category ahead of second-placed Damelin and CUT Bloemfontein in third place. Electricity management firm, Centlec, came out winners in the Companies doing the Most to Develop and Enhance Infrastructure category.
Other winners include Molly’s Funeral Parlours in the Funeral Services section, SEDA in the Development Agencies category, Johnny’s Fruit Market in the Fresh Produce Retailers section, the University of the Free State (UFS) in the Institutions for Higher Education sector, Vodacom in the Telecommunications category, MACUFE in the Art Festivals category, among many other winners.
According to PMR.africa Chief Executive Officer, Johan Hattingh, the awards are based on public opinion gathered through research and surveys to measure customer service and satisfaction over a 12-month period.