Programme 3: Innovation Programme

The programme is intended to initiate programmes and set up channels that will promote new thinking, approaches and programmes aimed at improving the quality of learning and teaching and the efficiency and effectiveness of the education system. The NECT’s focus is on identifying, testing, replicating and institutionalising innovations that have been proven to be effective and have the potential to enhance the overall performance of the system.

Initiative 1: Promoting learning initiatives in the system

As part of developing and promoting a knowledge management agenda in the system, the NECT has initiated 3 learning case studies. The first case study, produced in 2013, focuses on the national examination system and how it has showed improvement over the last 20 years. Whilst it highlights replication learning for public school improvement, the research identified ways in which the examination system itself can be further improved or preserved. The second case study focuses on learning and demonstrating the successes, innovations and challenges of the district steering committees (DSCs) structure with a view of determining whether it can serve as a replicable model for other districts nationally. The third seeks to publicly share the lessons from the school referral system which was piloted in Bela-Bela, Waterberg with 3 government departments as well as universities and NGOs. The case seeks to demonstrate the pilot as an innovation that can be replicated nationally and to strengthen the implementation of the Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS).

Initiative 2: EdHub Innovation

The EdHub is a dedicated hub within the NECT with an explicit mandate to promote and support innovation in education. It aims to coordinate innovation for 21st century education, so that it can impact, at scale, the basic education system in South Africa and ultimately improve education outcomes and quality of life for all.

The EdHub’s primary function is to provide support to innovative education initiatives showing the greatest potential to transform the public schooling sector, at scale. We assist these initiatives in proving their case for scale, through the implementation of pilots of increasing magnitude over time. Initiatives are selected and supported at varying stages of their life cycle; from concept to maturity.  The areas in which the EdHub can provide support include:

  • Providing access to pilot schools
  • Facilitating introductions to government and non-governmental organizations
  • Access to funding
  • Buy in and support from the highest national levels across government, labour and business

The work of the EdHub is experimental, risks taking, entrepreneurial and open. It seeks out ideas with transformative potential, takes risks on less proven approaches, explores new solutions and recognizes that innovation requires flexibility, iteration and failure. The EdHub acknowledges that supporting innovation comes with a fundamental shift in mindset; trading off probability of success in return for greater social impact, where the first question is not “Is this going to work?”, but rather “If it works, would it matter?”.

To streamline our efforts and maximize support impact, the EdHub has selected 3 thematic areas to focus on within the basic education sector:

  1. Entrepreneurship in schools
  2. Reading and literacy
  3. 21st century teaching and learning practices

If you’re an entrepreneur, innovator or organization with a great education innovation, we’d like to hear from you. Initiatives that fall within the above 3 mentioned focus areas, will be given priority.

If your initiative falls outside of these 3 themes, but can demonstrate the potential for transformation at scale, we will consider your application for support.

Support Application Process:



Keen to apply? Tell us about your innovation

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