Lecturers within the UKZN School of Accounting, Economics and Finance (SAEF) recently completed community service work with KHULA Education on the Kids Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme.
KHULA Education is a foundation committed to improving the quality of education in rural KwaZulu-Natal and aims to develop children’s business, entrepreneurial skills, leadership potential and lateral thinking through this programme.
SAEF lecturers, Dr Michelle Hatch, Dr Jessica Goebel and Mr Mohamed Suleman assisted Grade 8 students with finessing their business plans and preparations for their final MBA pitching competition where winning teams from each school received R2 000 seed funding to implement their small business ideas. Hatch, who initiated this participation said this learning engagement did not only benefit students but as lecturers, they also gained a genuine perspective of the challenges faced by children from rural backgrounds.
‘I would repeat the experience in a heartbeat. It gave me hope for the future of our country and left me a bit frustrated afterwards thinking how much harder our government should be working to support our school children,’ said Hatch.
Ms Deborah Heustice, KHULA Education Director, said the programme was launched earlier this year. Grade 8 students from three participating schools, Amoibe Secondary, Shiyane High School and Gadeleni Secondary School in the uMzinyathi District received one lesson per week. They were able to discover the beginning and running of a business through discussions, brainstorming and presentations.
Said Heustice: ‘This course teaches essential business development and management skills to our in-school youth, giving them tangible homegrown scenarios to discuss and debate. The course was not tested in traditional exams, but rather in a real-life “Dragon’s Den” pitch to the local business community.’
One of the trainee teachers, Ms Snethemba Majozi, who assisted with preparing and delivering weekly lessons said: ‘What is important and very useful is that Kids MBA supports the Economics and Management Sciences curriculum. I’m also learning a lot of new things from this course that I didn’t know about it and I believe learners are also taking this very seriously.’
Words: Samukelisiwe Cele