Conversation with Ayanda Booi, a young Enko recruit with grit, heart & art

As part of its social responsibility policy, Enko funds the tuition fees of a number of deserving students in each of its schools. Last November Enko organised a selection session with World Vision, an NPO that works with communities to improve children’s well-being. They were helped by Ayanda Booi, a youngster who has created an NPO to help young people in the township through performing arts workshops. The selected students visited Enko Ferndale on the 9th of March, to get an impression of their future school. We asked Ayanda, who has now joined Enko headquarters, to tell us more about his career, his commitment to the Orange Farm Township youth, and the Enko project.

Can you tell us about where you come from and what you did in Orange Farm?

I originally come from Soweto, but I moved to Orange Farm years ago. Orange Farm is a township south of Soweto, on the road to Bloemfontein. I created my NPO because a lot of youngsters did not do anything after school, there were no facilities where they could be taken care of, so they hung around, and some of them ended up in gangs. In Orange Farm, there is this big issue of Initiation Schools, where kids are abducted at a very young age from their parents who are then asked to pay tuition for initiation school. But these illegal schools are the pathway to gangsterism. I wanted to offer an alternative. As I have always been passionate about performing arts, I started an organisation in 2015. I thought teaching performing arts to them would also allow them to develop their life skills. We had workshops where we would study dance, music, poetry, drama. The big challenge was to find spaces where we could gather and practice. We often practised in dumping spaces, as there were no other places we could meet. As of January 2017, we had 84 kids aged from 6 to 18 years old in our organization, at three main locations. As performing arts are not very popular with boys, I had mainly girls. Boys in the townships are more interested in football… Over the two years we have been operating, I have been developing partnerships and joint events with other NPOs to give a chance to my kids to perform in front of audiences. That is how I met with the people of World Vision.

How did you hear about Enko?

The people from World Vision told me about the Enko selection tests for scholarships to Enko Ferndale, for students in grade 7/8/9. I looked at the prerequisites, asked my kids for their (grade) reports and I sent the pupils that could qualify. I had ten kids, but two of them had parents who would not let them try the test. So, World Vision helped me organize transport for eight kids to where the examinations were held. I guess Enko did not realise how attractive their offer was. There were 135 kids attending the session! The test consisted of written tests in English, science and mathematics. Pupils who achieved high scores in these tests had an interview with an Enko representative. As I had helped with the process, I was asked to come and help them to finalize the selection. 15 kids were selected and awarded a scholarship to attend Enko Ferndale. I had to go to the families, explain to them how it would work and then interview them and send the report back to Enko. I act as the “liaison officer” with the families.

Tell me about the event on 9 March?

The event theme was “unlocking your potential”. It was a pre-orientation day at Enko Ferndale. It was difficult for them to realise that they will be only starting in September. We took them to visit the school. They were able to see how it looks like. They had a lesson there. They even got to learn some French which they repeated enthusiastically! They came to the headquarters afterwards . They met Enko’s heads of school and staff. They had career talks with young professionals. They quite enjoyed their day!

What would be the best education to unlock youth potential? Engage the conversation! Let us know your ideas and discover Enko Education.

Welcome to Enko Ferndale!

The inauguration of Enko Ferndale, the newest school in the Enko Education family that already offers a high-quality international education to students in four sub-Saharan African countries, took place on Thursday.


“Support for education is a key priority for France”

Charlotte Montel, Principal Advisor to the French Embassy in South Africa, took the floor to welcome the establishment of this first Enko school offering the International Baccalaureate in Johannesburg. She also spoke about France’s commitment to the development of education in Africa, and thus to the Enko project.

This commitment was also demonstrated by the presence of Proparco, the private sector finance subsidiary of the French development agency AFD, which has been an investor in Enko Education since August of this year.


“Offering African students the opportunity to obtain the most sought-after high school diploma by admissions managers at the major international universities”

Cyrille Nkontchou, co-founder of Enko Education with Eric Pignot, spoke about the beginnings of their entrepreneurial venture, which came into being just two years ago with the acquisition of the Amazing Grace school in Johannesburg. Enko Education has now expanded into three other countries on the continent: Cameroon (Cyrille Nkontchou’s native country), Ivory Coast and Mozambique. 2017 will see the opening of two new schools, in Ferndale and Mozambique A greater percentage of students in Africa than in other continents aspire to a higher education in foreign universities. Enko Education was established to meet the needs of these young people. 6% of secondary school students want to study in another continent. High school diplomas or certificates from African countries are not always recognised by foreign universities, however. The most prestigious universities acknowledge the under-representation of African students, and often seek to remedy this shortcoming.


“We are doing nothing less than changing the world!” .

Nowvuyo Mzamane, the enthusiastic Academic Director of the Enko Education schools was proud to share the experiences of Enko students, which highlight the rich educational environment offered by our programmes (see our interview with Adzo Ashie, Regional Development Manager IB for Africa, which you can read on the blog). She spoke about three students, among the first to attend Enko schools, who have already been offered conditional places at prestigious universities in the United Kingdom and Australia; some have also been offered scholarships to finance their studies. She then presented Enko Ferndale, which will open its doors on 18 January of next year, initially offering a Cambridge IGCSE programme for grades 8, 9 and 10, followed by the IB Diploma programme for grades 11 and 12 starting in 2018. She specified that it will also be possible for students from northern hemisphere countries (who therefore finish their school year in June) to start in September.


From the very start of their venture, the founders’ main priority has been to offer the best international education at affordable prices. School fees are on average five times less than in schools offering the IB curriculum throughout the rest of the world. However, aware that these fees are still high for African families, Enko Education has also undertaken to take between 10% and 20% of students on scholarships, in each of its schools.


Bienvenue à Enko Ferndale !

Le jeudi 22 novembre 2016 a eu lieu l’inauguration de l’école Enko Ferndale, nouvelle arrivée dans la famille Enko Education qui offre déjà une éducation internationale de qualité dans quatre pays d’Afrique sub-saharienne.


« Le soutien à l’éducation est une priorité de la France »

Charlotte Montel, première conseillère à l’Ambassade de France en Afrique du Sud a pris la parole pour saluer la création de cette première école Enko préparant l’International Baccalaureate à Johannesburg et dire l’attachement de la France au développement de l’éducation en Afrique et donc au projet Enko. Cet attachement est d’ailleurs matérialisé par la présence de Proparco, filiale de l’AFD au capital d’Enko Education depuis le mois d’août dernier.


« Proposer aux étudiants africains le diplôme de fin d‘études secondaires le plus recherché par les responsables d’admission des plus grandes universités internationales »

Cyrille Nkontchou, co-fondateur d’Enko Education avec Eric Pignot a rappelé les bases de leur aventure entrepreneuriale qui a commencé il y a juste deux ans avec le rachat de l’école Amazing Grace à Johannesburg. Le développement d’Enko Education s’est étendue à trois autres pays du continent : le Cameroun dont Cyrille Nkontchou est originaire, la Côte d’Ivoire et le Mozambique. L’année 2017 verra l’ouverture de deux nouvelles écoles : à Ferndale et au Mozambique. Enko Education a été crée pour répondre aux aspirations de ces jeunes africains, proportionnellement plus nombreux que leurs homologues des autres continents, à vouloir étudier dans des universités étrangères. 6% des lycéens africains vont étudier sur un autre continent. Les diplômes ou certificats de fin d’études secondaires des pays africains ne sont pas toujours bien reconnus par les universités étrangères. Les universités les plus prestigieuses reconnaissent la sous-représentation des étudiants africains et cherchent souvent à combler cette lacune.


« Nous ne faisons rien de moins que de changer le monde ! »

Nowvuyo Mzamane, enthousiaste responsable académique des écoles d’Enko Education était fière de pouvoir partager les expériences d’élèves des écoles Enko soulignant la richesse de l’expérience éducative dans les programmes proposés (voir notre interview à paraître avec Adzo Ashie, Regional Development Manager IB for Africa). Elle a évoqué les histoires de trois élèves, parmi les premiers scolarisés dans des écoles Enko, qui ont déjà obtenu des admissions conditionnelles dans des universités prestigieuses au Royaume Uni et en Australie et pour certains d’entre eux des offres de bourses pour financer leurs études. Elle a ensuite présenté Enko Ferndale qui ouvrira ses portes le 18 janvier prochain et proposera dans un premier temps un programme Cambridge IGSCE pour les grades 8, 9 et 10, puis à partir de l’an prochain le Diploma Program IB pour les grade 11 et 12. Elle a précisé qu’il serait possible également à des élèves venant de l’hémisphère nord (donc finissant l’année en juin) de commencer en septembre.


Le souhait des fondateurs est depuis le début d’offrir la meilleure éducation internationale à des tarifs abordables. Les frais de scolarité sont en moyenne cinq fois moins élevés que dans les écoles proposant le cursus IB dans le reste du monde. Cependant consciente que ces frais restent élevés pour les familles africaines, Enko Education a par ailleurs pris l’engagement d’accueillir dans chacune de ses écoles 10% à 20% d’élèves boursiers.