Leading South African educational publisher, Oxford University Press Southern Africa (OUPSA) in partnership with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS), the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the South African Post Office (SAPO) has released their “My Education my Future” stamp competition as part of Oxford’s centenary celebrations.
Oxford University Press wanted to commemorate 100 years of publishing educational books in Southern Africa with a centenary stamp developed based on the theme, using artwork and accompanied creative writing submitted by participating school learners in South Africa.
The competition extends to all provinces with the Department of Basic Education selecting the top ten quintile one and two schools per province that performed the best in the 2014 Grade 9 Annual National Assessments. The 90 schools participated in an educational art and creative writing project for the development of the centenary stamp with nearly 2 000 learners taking part.
“The project allows all participants to focus on the importance of education and reading in particular in their lives in the creative context of a stamp design,” said Oxford University Press Southern Africa, Managing Director Steve Cilliers.
“We recognize the power of education to uplift individuals and communities. Our quality educational materials and support, based on the demands of learners, students, teachers and lecturers in Southern Africa help to deliver these outcomes. We have already donated 20 000 dictionaries with our ‘Every Child Deserves a Dictionary’ campaign earlier this year but we also wanted to commemorate the occasion by having a centenary stamp developed involving and rewarding school learners in South Africa,” added Cilliers.
An assessment will take place at the end of the competition. First, there will be adjudication at a provincial level and then the top twelve finalists will be selected on a national level. The national winners will be announced on 8 December 2015 at an awards ceremony where the centenary stamp, developed from the winning artwork, will be unveiled. The centenary stamp will be available in January 2016 nationally at select South African Post Offices and on www.virtualpostoffice.co.za.
“When the Department received the proposal from Oxford University Press Southern Africa, there was no hesitation to be involved as this is one of the greatest initiatives where the role of the Postal Sector, particularly the Post Office in education will be highlighted through stamp design and creative writing by learners from underprivileged schools of our country. As we know, stamps are a critical component of the postal sector across the globe and are generally referred to as “the country’s smallest ambassador” as they travel across the globe and carry with it a message about the country throughout the national and international postal system. Stamps are linked to wider national and international identity and portray the political, social, and economic achievements of the country, cultures and the beauty of the country’s natural and built environment. This also assists in creating revenue for the Post Office as this becomes an attraction to stamp collectors who are mainly interested in the designs and the message that goes along with it.
We would like to thank Oxford for the wonderful initiative and we as government, support any idea that seeks to assist us in carrying our mandate thoroughly and we believe that the learners will be the biggest beneficiaries of this initiative,” said Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister, Siyabonga Cwele.
“The initiative supports the DBE’s key focus areas with regard to the improvement of literacy through improving reading and writing skills, the provision of Learner Teacher Support Material and school library resources, learner wellbeing and the promotion of a holistic school environment through the use of art and creative writing. The theme enables learners to creatively depict the importance of education in relation to their lives, growth, the country and the world,” said Mrs Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education.
“This stamp development initiative shows the versatility and uniqueness of the South African Post Office offering. Involving school learners in creating the artwork for this stamp provides an opportunity for South African learners to contribute in a creative way in the creation of a memorable stamp,” added SAPO Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, Trevor Ndlazi.
Finalists from round one of the adjudication at provincial level will all be awarded a silver certificate and will receive Oxford University Press educational resources including a dictionary and an atlas. Finalists from round two at national level will be awarded a gold certificate and will receive Oxford educational resources as well as an educational success hamper. The hamper will include an electronic learning device loaded with resources (a laptop for each of the top three national finalists and a tablet for each of the remaining nine national finalists). The schools of all the finalists will also receive a book donation for their school library from Oxford University Press.