EQ + IQ = A+ at new KZN Midlands school

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EQ + IQ = A+ at new KZN Midlands school

Hilton’s Etham College will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation to develop future problem-solvers

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An artist's impression of Etham College in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal.
BIG PLANS An artist's impression of Etham College in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal.
Image: Supplied

A new private school, set to open its doors in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands next year, will focus on innovative thinking and problem-solving as it hopes to mould SA’s future minds. 

Etham College, a 4,000m² campus, is under construction in Hilton, just outside Pietermaritzburg and not far from one of the country’s most expensive private schools, Hilton College.

The school, expected to open in July 2021, will feature an Innovation Hall, 38 learning venues and dedicated robotics, technology and science labs. 

Learners are usually rewarded for remembering - being tested on memory - rather than solving problems that exist. We are aiming to change that and help them think differently. 
Edinvest Schools COO Sthabile Shezi  

Etham will be the second college opened by black-owned private-school group Edinvest Schools, which successfully opened Canaan College, the first private co-ed primary and high school, in Umlazi township, south of Durban, in 2019. 

Group COO Sthabile Shezi said the company was excited to add another school to its portfolio. 

“With Etham College the area is different. It’s not going to be in a township, but closer to other prestigious private schools.”

She said the location had a good track record for education in the private and public sectors. 

She added that Etham would offer similar subjects to those offered at Canaan. 

“We will have the normal CAPS curriculum, but over and above we will have entrepreneurial and innovative mind space being offered on a daily basis. Emotional intelligence will also be incorporated as a daily activity, as well as robotics, which is part and parcel of what we do.”

Shezi emphasised that the foundation of Etham College was to develop problem-solvers. 

“The most important thing that we really want to ensure is that our pupils learn how to be problem-solvers and innovative thinkers. Seeing the way the world is going now, a lot of companies are retrenching, with a shrinkage in employment contributing to a high level of unemployment that hasn’t been helped by the pandemic. We want our learners to adapt to be able to find alternatives if they find themselves in a situation where they are unemployable.”

FEES (grades R-9)

• Day pupils: R3,100pm - R3,600pm 

• Weekly boarding pupils: R6,400pm - R8,100pm 

• Full boarding pupils: R7,000pm - R9,000pm

She said parents looking to enrol their children at Etham College should bear in mind that their children would be taught how to think along innovative and entrepreneurial lines.

“On a daily basis they will be given tasks to help them broaden how they view things, how they think about those things and how they can come up with solutions, because entrepreneurship is about solving problems.”

Instilling a mindset of innovation and problem-solving would begin from as early as grade one and carry through to matric, she said, adding that the innovation hub would be a space for creativity and creative thinking. 

In phase one, grades R to nine, the school would accept 150 pupils, said Shezi, with the first group matriculating in 2024. 

“We will also offer off-campus boarding facilities. We chose not to have on-campus accommodation because we really want our learners to distinguish between home and school. I couldn’t imagine having to be at the same place for 24 hours,” she said. 

At the beginning of the 2021 academic year the institution would operate from King’s School in Nottingham Road and use a four-star guest house in the area for boarding, with plans to complete the move to Hilton campus by midyear.

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