The Royal Bafokeng Insitute (RBI) is an organisation with a simple but powerful purpose – to set children on the path to achieving their potential. In order to realise this, we pioneer world-class education in the Royal Bafokeng Nation, supporting students and developing skills throughout the communities we serve.
The RBI was founded in 2007 as a part of Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi’s larger goal of ensuring a sustainable future for the Royal Bafokeng Nation. Historically, the RBN has relied on its abundant mineral wealth to support itself, but early in his reign, Kgosi Molotlegi realised that this could not always be the case and developed a master plan that would help the Nation chart a course to long-term sustainability.
He knew education was a key part of achieving this vision and tasked the RBI with strategically addressing the challenges in the Nation’s schools to ensure that all its children were able to achieve their potential.
To deliver on our mandate, we know that we need to act with boldness and focus. The state of South Africa’s educational system is problematic, so to really make a difference we need to display the strong leadership that will make us a true agent of change. In this way we can bridge the gap between society and opportunity and pioneer world-class quality in South Africa, adding value not only for the Bafokeng, but the country as a whole.
The Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) is located in the North West province of South Africa. The administrative capital, Phokeng is near the town of Rustenburg, around 150km from the major hub of Johannesburg. Home to some 150,000 members living in some 29 villages, the RBN is in many ways a typical South African community. With the legacy of the educational system of the previous government, its members face numerous challenges in ensuring their children receive the standard of education they need to succeed in life. Unlike many other communities, however, the RBN has the benefit of mineral resources and a strong vision for the future under the leadership of Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi. With this in mind, the RBI works to address the current educational challenges in the region while at the same time helping to develop the human potential required for the Nation to flourish in the future.
By choosing to work within a few key strategic areas, we focus our efforts where we are able to have the greatest impact. In this way we make sure that we are directly benefiting Bafokeng learners but also serving to uplift the broader community.
The quality of a learner’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) has been shown to have a direct impact on their performance throughout their school career and even on their earning potential later in life. Children begin to learn long before formal schooling begins, so the attention and interaction they receive in these formative years is vital to ensure future success.
ECD is a key focus area for the RBI, not just because the standard across the RBN is currently lacking but also because investment in this area has a substantial long-term impact on its learners. With this in mind the RBI is in the process of establishing 10 high-functioning ECD centres, each with experienced and trained practitioners. Through a franchise model with the Royal Bafokeng Enterprise Development Programme (RBED), this network is projected to ultimately grow to around 50 Centres around the RBN, ensuring that all the Nation’s children are school-ready by age six.
The RBI is in the unique position of working with both independent and government-run schools to deliver quality education to Bafokeng learners. This requires an approach premised on partnership and creative solutions, developing new ways of working in the independent space and then introducing these into the public space through targeted interventions.
The RBI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Section 14) with the Department of Education (DoE) to help both parties to deliver quality education to Bafokeng learners in RBN government schools. These schools still effectively function as public schools, but we are able to assist in improving governance where necessary, and ensure that they are receptive to our interventions.
There are currently two independent schools in the RBN – Lebone II: College of the Royal Bafokeng and Kitsong. The RBI is deeply involved in both of these, using them as both examples of best practice and spaces to develop new approaches to education. In this way they not only serve as leading schools for their own students but also as resources to the broader education community in the area. Future development in this area will also include further Accessible Intervention Schools – “low-fee” institutions focused on core learning areas in IT-rich environments that enhance learning.
Our initiatives vary from school to school, based on specific needs and circumstances, but are generally focused on the following areas:
Conducting on-going assessment on the performance of specific test groups of students in key learning areas to gauge the effectiveness of interventions and inform further development.
Identifying students that need assistance in core subject areas and giving them the support and resources they need to develop these skills.
Providing support and resources to improve teacher skills in key subject areas, as well as developing consciousness around the craft of teaching itself.
Training and supporting principals and community members elected to SGB positions to ensure that they are able to institute good school governance and strengthen the effectiveness of the SGB as a whole.
Working to influence policy directives by engaging in discussions at both Provincial and National platforms.
As part of our holistic focus on education we know that it is important to support School Leavers in order to help them to effectively transition into the working world.
Our programmes therefore focus on instilling practical and marketable skills so that people can use them to live financially independent lives.
Working with FET colleges we help learners to gain the certification they need to enter the construction, hospitality, nursing and engineering industries.
The practical skills learned through these courses help the learners to find employment and are useful to the community as a whole.
Using a means/needs assessment, we assist promising students through loans that cover tuition and associated living expenses.
Post-school students who apply for funding for university through our Student Loan Department are enrolled on this course. It helps to prepare them for tertiary study and focuses on the three broad objectives of community service, academic stretch and social development.
As part of our mandate of human development, we conduct training with members of the RBN’s Traditional Governance Structure to develop their skills across a broad range of areas.
The primary focus of our Teacher Development curriculum is the art and craft of teaching itself. This is often overlooked but we believe, as in any other vocation, that it takes extensive practice and focus to perfect one’s skills as an educator. This core competency is also vital for improving subject-specific skills and understandings, as well as for the creation of a broader culture of learning across our schools.
This development model draws strategically on the skills of practitioners from Lebone and the RBI, alongside superb teachers in our other schools. These individuals are employed to transfer these skills in the areas in which they excel, thus creating a rich reservoir of promise for aspiring new teachers and also for experienced practitioners.
As an ISO 9000 company, we strive for high standards and a professional approach to our work. All of our programmes are either accredited or are in the process of being accredited. We believe that this is important because it shows the community that our interventions are of a high standard, and shows teachers that the skills acquired can be transferred to other professional environments. Accreditation also affords us the opportunity to access certain state funding and to position the RBI as a service provider to an ever-growing market in the business of skills provision.
For any further information on the RBI, what we do and how you can get involved, please get in touch:
Telephone: +27 (0) 14 566 1400
Fax: +27 (0) 14 566 1315
Stand 4, Punodung Section, Luka Road
Phokeng, 0335, South Africa
P.O. Box 315
Send Us A Message