March 9, 2022

Rector’s eNews – 09 March 2022

/ Rector's eNews

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a day on which the world reflects on the challenges which have faced women over the ages. I spoke, briefly, about the importance of this day in assembly on Monday and the difficult course which women have had to tread over the years: the granting of the vote to women has been a slow process over the past century and into this century, with Saudi Arabia being the last country in 2015 which extended the vote to women. There remain many countries where it is difficult for women, particularly married women, to vote as men are able to wield undue influence over them. This applies to countries such as Pakistan and Egypt. Of course, the challenges facing women are not solely related to voting. As we all know, the re-emergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan means that women and girls there are oppressed and, inter alia, education is denied to them. The biggest issue facing women in the United States and in South Africa relates to sexual violence and objectification.

The International Women’s Day draws attention to gender equality and, in simple terms, the way men interact with women. Those advocating the celebration of International Women’s Day suggested that men and boys may like to do something which is respectful and genuinely appreciative of the role of women – whether this is an act of gratitude towards a mother, a family friend or someone known to them. I do hope that some of our mothers or sisters may have been the recipient of some such gesture.

I am pleased to announce that Mr Brendan Gittins has been appointed to the position of Deputy Rector: Pupils from June/July 2022. Brendan is currently Deputy Headmaster at Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg where his portfolio encompasses, inter alia, an oversight of admissions, staff mentoring and wellness, discipline, sport and cultural affairs, academic innovation, finance and interns – he certainly has demonstrated leadership and a wide ranging capability in different aspects of school life.

Brendan holds a BCom (Honours) Degree from the University of Johannesburg and a PGCE from UNISA, cum laude, and as Head of the Commerce Faculty at Jeppe, has taught Accounting, Business Studies and EMS.

After leaving Jeppe as Head Boy, Brendan had a brief spell as a professional rugby player with Border Bulldogs whilst teaching at Dale College before concentrating on the educational environment; this included a significant spell as a Housemaster of a boarding house, as well as being assistant coach for the Jeppe 1st XV, Master in Charge of Athletics, Director of Sport and leading his Academic Department very successfully. Brendan is married to Charné and they are expecting their first child in April.

I would like to thank Mr Dean Forword for all that he has done and will still do in his role as Acting Deputy Rector: Pupils until Brendan is able to join us in June/July on relinquishing his responsibilities at Jeppe. On stepping down from the Acting Deputy Rector role, Dean will return to Founders full-time and be Senior Housemaster, a role which envisages further support and guidance for fellow Housemasters, as well as support for the new Deputy Rector.

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