Our Premier Helen Zille made it clear that the ‘Game Changers’ needed ambitious goals and had to deliver visible impact through faster delivery. Stretch targets and real-time performance tracking have forced officials and departments to work differently, which has inevitably disrupted existing organisational behaviour, systems and structures.
Instituting these changes across government has been challenging. We have responded by building a team characterized by a unique set of values and standards: an untiring work ethic, persistence, resilience, plain-speaking, self-motivation, taking initiative, and flexibility. All these are framed in an environment that supports innovation, constant inquiry, and an orientation towards finding solutions to the problems we face.
By constantly discussing these values internally, and challenging each other to live up to them, we have made them real. An example of this is within our e-learning Game Changer. It is complex, as it requires influencing an entire education system to innovate and change its teaching and learning methods, training thousands of teachers and influencing a million learners. It cannot work in a top-down manner, with some of the best results emerging with engagement at the coalface – the schools and teachers.
South Africa has a reputation of teachers reluctant to put in extra effort and time, and yet teachers in the Western Cape have been so excited by this initiative that they have accepted after hours training, with no extra remuneration. The DSU’s e-Learning team is just two people, working closing with a small eLearning team within the Education Department, but it has seen tremendous results to date, not least in getting broadband and technology to schools, with a rapidly growing eContent platform. This is down to the way the team has lived out our values and as a result, they have earned the trust of a broad range of stakeholders and supported them to accomplish great things in this priority.