Talk given by Jane Bradshaw on Women’s Day 2001
My erstwhile colleague, the late Jenny Mallet, older sister to Nick, had a sticker on her staff room locker at St George’s Grammar School for Boys which read “Women who want to be equal to men are lacking in ambition.” She rose to be the first female principal of the primary section of that school. Jenny was larger than life in every sense, but feminine, a confident woman, not a woman trying to be a man. She was comfortable with men, never threatened by them never putting them down and she succeeded to reach the top in a male world. So my first challenge for women’s day is let’s celebrate who we are and let’s aim to reach our full God-given potential both as individuals and as the women of this city.
Welcome to The Amasango School Grahamstown Online
Mrs Jane Bradshaw is the founder and Principal of the Amasango Career School for extrinsically disabled learners. Through her initial work with street children in East London (a coastal city in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa), she realized there was a desperate need for an alternative system of schooling for these children who are being sidelined by the social system and society.
It was a process of five years developing and refining the teaching methods suitable for these extrinsically disabled learners. The system used is a form of Accelerated Bridging Education, which enables learners to catch up on lost years and so that they can re-enter mainstream schooling at a more age appropriate level.
During 1995 Jane Bradshaw lobbied the new Eastern Cape Education Department to recognize education for street children as a new category for Extrinsically Disabled Learners i.e. children whose need for an adapted approach to the curriculum and specialized intervention was not caused by a physical or mental disability.
Early in 1996 this was achieved and the Amasango (Open Doors) School was registered as an ELSEN School. As a registered school it began to receive an annual subsidy from the Department of Education.
The Amasango School now operates in 3 towns in the Easter Cape Province, South Africa. The Grahamstown Amasango Career School began in 1993 as one of two satellite schools of the East London Special School registered for extrinsically disabled learners. The third school is in Aliwal North.
Most of the learners at the Grahamstown Amasango Career School are street children accommodated at the Eluxolweni Shelter for Children. Other learners come from the immediate impoverished environment. Suitable buildings have not yet been supplied by the Department of Education. At present two solid Spoornet / Propnet buildings next to the railway station are rented at a nominal rate.
The East London School, being older than the other two branches, is more developed. It currently goes up to grade 9 and has a staff of 11 It has a fully equipped pottery, mechanics and welding workshops and a large vegetable garden for teaching practical agriculture. Much of this was funded from Australia and Japan through the efforts of the Daily Bread Charitable Trust.
The Grahamstown and Aliwal North branches of Amasango have not had this benefit. It is essential to offer slower learners or children who have started their education very late in life the opportunity for skills development as an alternative to entering the mainstream academic curriculum. Children learn the academic theory from grade 7 while also developing the practical, marketable skills required for basic entry to the job market.
A former street child who is already 17 or 18 in grade 7 needs to become self-sufficient in order to support themselves.
The Grahamstown Amasango Career School is seeking to expand its range of facilities so as to be able to fulfill the needs of all its learners. This will only be possible with the aid of external donors and funding.