Many schools across South Africa do not have a school hall to bring the entire school community together. Government has not built a school hall in more than 20 years and whilst their spend may be prioritised for classrooms and ablutions, the importance of a hall should not be underestimated. A hall is a multipurpose communal space that offers the school a number of opportunities.
Bringing all school learners and educators together for assemblies fosters the creation and development of school spirit and a sense of belonging. It provides a venue for parent meetings, cultural and sporting activities and community meetings and gatherings. The hall is also an ideal resource for fundraising initiatives - the school can host events or rent the hall out to the community for a fee. One of the most impactful uses observed is as a venue for writing Matric exams. Previously schools have used up multiple classrooms when Matrics write exams (up to 5 times per year). This impacts other grades as their classrooms are unavailable and they lose precious teaching and learning time.
In 2018, the building of the 'shed-like' hall at Kenilworth Secondary School commenced. The building was designed to provide a basic structure, at minimal cost, that can be enhanced in phases as additional funding becomes available. Completed just prior to the 2019 Matric exams, the school now has a fully functional hall. The impact is already evident in the educator and learners' excitement and appreciation of this new resource. The school hall hosted the Matric valedictory service and it was the first time that all educators, learners and parents could come together in the same space for the event.
Kliptown Secondary School had an existing concrete quad sandwiched between school buildings that was mostly unusable as it provided no protection from the elements. Through the simple installation of shade netting the quad is now used for a variety of activities from school assemblies, drama, public speaking, school / parent meetings and fundraising initiatives.