On Thursday, 3 October 2019 Cornerstone Institute will be hosting a Critical Dialogue on The State of Education in South Africa. This dialogue is an opportunity for reflection on the state of our education system and how we collectively contribute to shaping it more progressively.

The facilitator and panellists represent different sectors and bring their experience to help shape the dialogue. The audience will be introduced to Dr Sharon Johnson’s forthcoming book Lessons in care: Triumph over trauma and tribulation that deals with her experiences in a state care and education centre for maltreated male adolescents on the Cape Flats.

Bersan Lesch will be launching his book Dysfunctional Schools in South Africa: Reflections and a turnaround plan.

The panelists and facilitator represent different sectors and bring their experience to help shape the dialogue

Dr Sharon Johnson


Sharon, currently a senior lecturer at Cornerstone Institute, obtained her PhD Psychology (Stellenbosch) in 2013, researching the impact of interventions on the stress and burnout of teachers in high-risk schools. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in 2016 at a Cape Flats youth care centre, dealing with the wellness of teachers with abused and neglected youths.

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Dr John Volmink


John served for four years (2006 – 2010) as the Chairperson of Umalusi Council and is now serving a third term as Chair of Council. In 2016 he served as the Interim Vice Chancellor of the Durban University of Technology and he was the Acting Vice Chancellor at CPUT in 2017. John currently serves as the President of Cornerstone Institute.

Jean September


Jean currently works for the British Council where she is the Deputy Director: South Africa based in Cape Town. She is the strategic lead in developing and overseeing the education and society portfolio, a member of the child protection team and an active contributor to the regional and global Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda.

Rene Fahrenfort


Rene taught at a few schools in Cape Town before transitioning to Adult Basic Education and Training. In 2001 she relocated to the United Kingdom where she spent the next 12 years teaching in primary schools across five London boroughs. During this time she was awarded Leading Teacher Status, Chartered London Teacher Status and was conferred the Fellowship of the College of Teachers in 2010. She read for a Master’s degree in Education at Brunel University in West London and is completing her research in South Africa. In 2013 she returned to South Africa to take up a position at the International School of Cape Town where she is head of primary Mathematics. She is a member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children.  

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Bersan Lesch


Bersan taught for eight years in Cape Town and after obtaining his degree in education, left to lecture at the Giyani College of Education in Limpopo. He thrived in the college environment where he developed more valuable teaching skills. In 2002, when colleges of education were to be closed down, Bersan became both a facilitator at the Giyani Science Centre and a curriculum advisor for the Mopani district. By 2004, all his colleagues from Giyani College joined him as curriculum advisors serving 240 high schools in Mopani. For the next three years, they criss-crossed the district to train, monitor and support over 500 teachers.   

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This event is free and open to all


Thursday, 3 October 2019


16h30 for 17h00 – 19h00


Cornerstone Institute, 5th Floor, 2 Roggebaai Square, Foreshore, Cape Town


Call 021 448 0050 or email rsvp@cornerstone.ac.za

Cornerstone Institute
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