Six years ago, eight Principals of the Primary and High Schools in the Franschhoek Valley started meeting to develop the blueprint for education transformation across the Valley. Together with a local businessman, Alastair Wood, the Vision for this transformation was set down as: “We are a partnership of interdependent schools promoting lifelong learning and wellness which will improve the quality of life of all our people in our community”.
The Bhabhathane Programme, operates under the Franschhoek Valley Transformation Charter (FVTC) which, itself, was launched on 16 February, 2012. The launch was the culmination of a two-year process of thought and discussion undertaken by a group of some 30 local people from all walks of life, representing the entire Franschhoek Valley community. The principles advocated in the discussions are written up in a guiding document which is available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa and which continues to steer the activities of the FVTC.
Social development and education were two areas highlighted by the FVTC as strategic intervention points. The projects established by the FVTC were not necessarily set up to exist in perpetuity. At the present time, the Bhabhathane Programme, one of the earliest projects to be established, remains the biggest and is expected to continue for at least a further three years.
The Bhabhathane Programme–Bhabhathane means “butterfly” in isiXhosa. The butterfly symbolises transformation and joy. Its metamorphosis shows that change ensures growth.
In keeping with the principles of the Franschhoek Valley Transformation Charter Trust, the Bhabhathane Programme has the overriding objective of transforming education across the entire Franschhoek Valley.
Bhabhathane, initially called the Franschhoek Schools Transformation Project, has been underway for six years, during which the Early Childhood Development Project and Principal Enrichment Project have become fully operational and have achieved notable successes. In 2017, the teachers of the Valley completed the design of the Teacher Enrichment Project and have operationalised initiatives.
The Bhabhathane Programme is uniquely overseen by a Committee of Principals of the nine primary and secondary schools in the Franschhoek Valley and the Chair of the Franschhoek ECD Forum (FECDF). The Committee meets monthly under the chairmanship of the Principal of Wemmershoek Primary School. The Schools in the Valley are:
- Bridge House Preparatory and College (Independent School)
- Dalubuhle Primary (Quintile 1, WCED no-fee paying school)
- Franschhoek High (Quintile 3, WCED School)
- Groendal Primary (Quintile 1, WCED no-fee paying school)
- Groendal Secondary (Quintile 1, WCED no-fee paying school)
- The Kusasa Project (Independent School registered with the WCED)
- Wemmershoek Primary (Quintile 1, WCED no-fee paying school)
- Wes-Eind Primary (Quintile 1, WCED no-fee paying school)
The Bhabhathane Programme has an impact on:
- 5422 learners
- 230 teachers
- 54 ECD practitioners and
- 1 500 children under the age of 5 years
The Programme is resourced with a small, project team. Rather than building a substantial project team, Bhabhathane employs and supervises specialist service providers in chosen areas to execute defined sub-projects.