Vice President, South Africa, Global University for Lifelong Learning
Bruce Damons is the co-founder of the Manyano School Network and a lecturer at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Prior to his recent NMMU appointment, Bruce was Principal of Sapphire Road Primary School (SRPS), Port Elizabeth for 15 years. Among many awards, Bruce is the 2005 recipient of the Batho Pele award (from the Premier’s Office) and the 2008 National Teaching Awards Winner: Excellence in Primary School Leadership.
As a School Principal he contributed to the national debate about the role of schools in the community and in particular, as a lifelong learning hub and he is passionate about leadership and school development involving parents, teachers, learners and the broader community. In this context, Bruce pioneered the concept of Skills School to facilitate the training of unemployed people – a service that has benefited more than 1000 people since 2000. His school draws widely on the skills available in the local community and some 45 volunteers serve as teacher assistants, toilet managers, vegetable gardeners, administrative assistants, security and general handy men.
On the 18 March 2015, SRPS began a GULL pathway to assist parents to help their children with school work. This collaborative approach (with teachers and community members learning together) is facilitating stronger relationships and a deeper understanding of what is needed to better support educational development. Bruce led the parent-teacher pathway with GULL which is now expanding.