Yandiswa Xhakaza has come from leading a national literacy organisation, the Nal’ibali Trust. Picture: Supplied
Yandiswa Xhakaza has come from leading a national literacy organisation, the Nal’ibali Trust. Picture: Supplied

UCT online high school gets its first principal, Yandiswa Xhakaza

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Sep 20, 2021

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Cape Town - The recently launched UCT online high school is today expected to announce Yandiswa Xhakaza as its director and principal.

Xhakaza has come from leading a national literacy organisation, the Nal’ibali Trust, where she served as a chief executive.

The online high school in partnership with the Valenture Institute, an education technology company that has developed its own proprietary online model, was launched virtually in July.

Xhakaza said online education in their context would always come with its own fair share of challenges as a developing country.

She said the digital divide was significant and had to work around the digital barriers such as poor network coverage, data costs, access to devices and computer literacy to mention a few.

“This is exactly the type of challenge I am excited about, because when we get this right, it will be a massive win for all of us,” she said.

Xhakaza is expected to begin her tenure as the director and principal of the UCT Online High School from November, ahead of its first official cohort, cementing her role as its leader from an early onset.

UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng welcomed Xhakaza's appointment, saying she embodies what they as an institution stand for: building an inclusive society using the knowledge and resources that they possess.

“With her leading us on this journey we will be building a more equitable and sustainable social order and influencing our young people from an early age to prepare them for the demands of higher education and society,” said Phakeng.

Nal’ibali Trust acting chairperson Kay Lala-Sides said they know that Xhakaza has a real passion for making high-quality education accessible to all South Africans.

“It is that passion that led her to Nal’ibali and it is the same passion that draws her to UCT’s Online High School. During her time with us, Yandiswa worked with our executive team and the board to help the Nal’ibali campaign adapt to our changing world, strengthen systems and processes, and introduced cost-effective innovations that helped us deliver value at scale,” said Lala-Sides.

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