How it started
In May 2012 a dedicated group of individuals intricately involved in the Hangberg community established Hangberg Educational Trust (“HET”). It was founded on the belief that in tough socio-economic environments the cycle of weak coping mechanisms and poor parenting skills cannot be broken without quality early childhood interventions.
Hangberg is situated in Hout Bay, Cape Town on the slopes of Karbonkelberg with an idyllic view onto Chapman’s Peak. It is home to the original fishing community of the Western Cape. Vibrant as it is, it is also plagued by unemployment, substance abuse, prostitution, poaching and gangsterism leading to unplanned pregnancies and low parental engagement. Based on 2010 research an estimated 8000 people live in Hangberg, of which approximately 1000 are preschool children (HB CARES 2013, drug rehab centre in Hangberg). Sadly most preschoolers have no access to quality care.
In 2013, in line with its key belief in quality early childhood interventions, HET set its medium-term objective as the provision of quality, affordable and sustainable preschool infrastructure to 300 children in Hangberg with its first project the Hangberg Pre-Primary School project.
In July 2014 the Trust started an independent school, Hangberg Pre-Primary School, for 60 preschool children in two classrooms on loan from Sentinel Primary School. A new facility constructed by HET on the premises of Sentinel Primary School for up to 120 preschool children opened its doors to its first learners on Monday 10 October 2016.
The Pilot – Hangberg Pre-Primary Project
Points 1,2 and 3 below are linked to their relative documents.
The Hangberg Pre-Primary School project has significant potential. HET believes it could become a unique model for pre-primary education in the Western Cape and possibly South Africa as it provides an exciting collaboration between the Public Sector, the NGO sector and the Private Sector.
Public Sector. Department of Education and Department of Transport and Public Works provide fit-for-purpose land within existing primary school properties. The land is developed into a well-managed, interventionist preschool that supports the struggling education system; especially in disadvantaged communities.
NGO sector. The NGO (Hangberg Educational Trust in this case) provides a well governed structure with skills, drive and strong local buy-in to set-up and manage a financially sustainable, quality pre-primary school.
Private sector. Private businesses and individuals who have finances can support capital expenditure and some initial running costs of the project and receive regular audited statements and progress reports.
The Hangberg Pre-Primary School project is seen as an important pilot which is continuously assessed and improved. Lessons learnt are recorded and processes carefully refined through focused quarterly Trustee meetings. The Trust has a big vision if this pilot project indicates materially positive and tangible impacts for the local community and its wider surroundings. It just might be the start of an economically sustainable, long-term, scaleable solution to our country’s desperate need for quality, affordable and intensive upliftment of disadvantaged preschool children and their families.
The HET team wishes to support the development of at least another ten (maybe 20 or 200?!) similar pre-primary schools in the team’s lifetime.