Transforming the education landscape in SA Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
The Instructional Leadership Institute (ILI) is making remarkable strides toward transforming the education landscape in South Africa.

The Instructional Leadership Institute (ILI), which became a social impact partner of Stellenbosch Business School this year, is making remarkable strides toward transforming the education landscape and changing the life trajectories of millions of young South Africans. 

“Both institutions have a strong focus on responsible leadership through education, which makes for a solid partnership on achieving collective impact goals towards a more equitable South Africa,” says Salma Seedat, Executive Director of ILI and an alumna of the business school. She completed her MBA (cum laude) in 2019, as well as her Postgraduate Diploma in Development Finance in 2015. 

“ILI is dedicated to equipping school leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to run exceptional schools in under-resourced communities. Through a vision of educational equity and a mission rooted in leadership development, ILI is shaping a positive future for South Africa’s youth by helping school leaders tackle challenges relating to teachers with inadequate content knowledge and demotivated learners,” she adds. 

Dr Armand Bam, Head of Social Impact at the Business School, says: “Embedding ILI as a partner within the Stellenbosch Business School illustrates our commitment to delivering impact into society. We share the common object of developing leaders, in this instance school leadership teams, and we are proud to share our expertise and resources in developing this partnership further.”

Salma elaborates on the challenges the education sector in South Africa faces, the vision and pillars ILI is built on, and its future plans.


The challenge of education in South Africa

South Africa is a nation rich in diversity, culture, and history. It is also one of the most unequal societies in the world, with its complex and continuing effects of historical poverty and racism. Socioeconomic disparities, resource limitations and other factors create barriers to quality education for many young South Africans and affect school functionality, the quality of teaching and learning, and ultimately learner outcomes. These challenges are a harsh reality but not insurmountable, and ILI addresses these issues head-on.


A vision of global educational equity

ILI envisions a South Africa where every student has access to a globally competitive education regardless of their background. This bold vision seeks to break the cycle of educational inequality and uplift the nation’s youth. ILI’s work believes that quality education is a fundamental right, not a privilege. To achieve this vision, ILI empowers school leaders to bring about real change in their communities despite their daunting challenges.

The core of ILI’s mission lies in improving the quality of teaching and learning in South African schools by fostering effective leadership and providing leaders with the necessary tools. ILI can then ensure that students receive the education they deserve despite the circumstantial obstacles they face.


Key pillars of ILI’s approach:

  1. Leadership Development: ILI provides school leaders with a comprehensive leadership development programme aligned to the Department of Basic Education requirements, using instructional leadership techniques and practices to equip them with the skills necessary to inspire and lead their schools effectively. ILI recognises that these school leaders are the changemakers who drive progress in under-resourced communities.
  2. Quality Teaching and Learning: ILI recognises the pivotal role that quality teaching plays in learner success. By providing targeted training and one-on-one coaching aimed at helping leaders focus on improving teaching practices in their schools, ILI ensures that students receive the best possible education and addresses the challenge of teachers who struggle with content knowledge. 
  3. Rigorous Curriculum: ILI’s programmes are thorough and practice-based. This approach is designed to help school leaders make a real impact in transforming their schools into high-performing institutions. ILI’s training and coaching covers various aspects of educational leadership, from strategic planning to community engagement, focusing on ensuring school leaders actively participate in teacher development and monitor the quality of learning in the classroom.
  4. Community Involvement: ILI recognises that it takes a collaborative effort to bring about lasting change and that schools are institutions with complex challenges that cannot only be solved by its intervention. Therefore, ILI actively engages with the education community to collaborate on interventions and foster a shared responsibility for improving education in South Africa.


Changing lives, one school at a time

ILI’s impact is tangible and inspirational. Over its five-year history, the organisation has trained 167 school leaders and impacted 3612 teachers and 115209 learners. ILI is transforming schools in under-resourced communities by nurturing a cadre of instructional school leaders. These leaders, armed with the tools and knowledge they have gained, are making a difference where it matters the most: in the lives of South Africa’s youth.

As ILI continues its vital work, along with its partners in the education sector, we begin moving our education system towards greater equality and achieving the goal of global educational equity. In the face of South Africa’s complex landscape, ILI stands determined to ensure that all South African learners have access to the education they deserve and are served by strong, accountable leaders in South Africa’s education system.


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