In South Africa, a Bishops education is a privilege. Most people outside the school think the boys are just a handful of very lucky kids who will never understand the reality of a country with a brutally painful past.
However, for Bishops boys to succeed they must understand the society they are living in and dealing with, and, for this reason, the school makes a concerted effort to introduce its pupils to the changing world. It is especially important to teach and learn the difference between abundance and scarcity.
Central to the outreach programme is the need to become sensitive to others, particularly the less privileged, and to recognise the worth and importance of those who have been discriminated against in the past.
Bishops offers the boys a number of ways to reach out to the community. Pupils can teach young children from disadvantaged schools English, gymnastics, computer skills, cricket or any of the sports offered by the College. Part of the learning experience is finding money to pay for transport to get these children to the school if they are to use the facilities, and paying for refreshments.
Bishops boys supervise a horse-riding programme for disabled children and sports activities for autistic children from a school for the mentally handicapped. The tiny patients at Red Cross Children’s Hospital and the senior citizens at various old age homes in the city know Bishops boys well, as they are regular visitors and entertainers.
The outreach programme also extends to the staff, who mentor between four and five intern teachers every year. These young men and women are in their final year of studying and live in one of the boarding houses while they are working at the school.
More experienced visiting teachers are regularly invited to the College for a week at a time to refresh themselves in a subject of their choice, using the school’s extensive facilities. While they are guests of the school their accommodation and meals are free.
In this way several hundred visitors pass through the gates of Bishops each year, every one there to enjoy the facilities and expertise available to the pupils.