Developing Future Leaders

DUT Engages with Local Schools to Develop Future Leaders


The Durban University of Technology has established a multi-pronged School Engagement Project geared towards promoting academic excellence, social entrepreneurship, peace-building and leadership through a joint project between the International Centre of Nonviolence and the Advancement and Alumni Relations office.

With the support and project management of an experienced educational and leadership  development practitioner, Bérénice de La Croix, the project seeks to address some of the serious challenges we are facing in basic education, i.e. under-preparedness for tertiary education and the world of work. South Africa needs initiatives that address the difficulties of the progression from school to university because these difficulties have significant costs, in particular in limiting the effective throughput of students through higher education.

The project consists of four pillars that provide the framework for the development of tomorrow’s leaders and they support one another in enhancing the capacity of the participating schools to become sites of genuine inclusion and educational excellence. The four pillars are as follows:

1.     Gateway Subjects (Promoting Academic Excellence)

Good matric results in the gateway subjects (Maths, Science and Accounting) can open doors for various fields of study in tertiary institutions, thus opening up a range of career possibilities.

For this reason, learners in these subjects are offered revision classes by DUT students under the supervison and guidance of qualified educators. The Grade level is determined by the needs of the school. 

2.     Peace Clubs

DUT students facilitate the development of Peace Clubs in our participating schools to fulfil the following functions:

-The growth of conflict resolution skills to harness diversity and reduce school violence so that learning can take place in a safe and supportive environment.

-The establishment of peer mediators who can be called on to mediate conflict situations.

3.     Social Entrepreneurship Clubs

Mentored by DUT students, teams of Grade 10/11 learners in participating schools implement workable solutions to problems facing their school communities, leaving a legacy in the process.

In this way learners are prepared for tertiary education and the world of work by developing entrepreneurial competencies.

The Social Entrepreneurship Clubs from the participating schools are competing with one another in completing their project milestones and leaving a legacy that adds value to their school communities. This encourages active citizenship as we build South Africa together. The current projects include renovating school infrastructure, upgrading sports facilities, adopting orphanages, and commemorating the history of the school to inspire learners. 

4.     School Management

With the help of a retired school principal, the School Management Teams of our participating schools will be supported in their development in order to optimise school management for quality teaching and learning. This pillar has not yet been implemented due to a shortage of funding.

The project is currently limited to four schools but the intention is to expand our educational community and offer this support to additional schools that are committed to partner with DUT in improving education and opening doors for our children. With additional funding support, this will become a reality. If you are interested in supporting this project, contact Zwakele Ngubane, Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations at DUT, on or tel: 031 373 3020 or Mr Crispin Hemson, Director of ICON, on or tel: 031 373 0829. You can also visit our funding page on

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Issue 414


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