Mariannhill Adult Education Centre

The school was started in the former St.Anne’s School Building in 1926, with the purpose of training girls to be Domestic Workers. In those early years from 1926 to 1935 the number of girls admitted and trained was small. Finally, in 1935 the present old building was erected based on plans of our senior sisters.

The school had its official inception in 1936 and started to offer a three-year full-time course in Housecraft. In 1938, academic subjects were added to the curriculum. During those years the school was a private institution. Already in 1940 a small extension needed to be added to the building, thereby providing for a second classroom.

In 1952 the school was officially registered with the Government, with its name being retained as St Theresa’s Industrial School. From 1952 to 1961 the number of girls applying for the course increased steadily. After completion of the course the girls received an official certificate.

By 1961 the two-year Domestic Science Course changed into a two-year Dressmaking Course. At that point in time the Government stepped back from its involvement and St Theresa’s became again a private school. In 1974 a short course in Dressmaking was introduced and 1975 the school was taken over and registered with the Department of Education and Training.

By 1980 the number of girls had increased. The trainees had to be divided into separate groups. This was made possible because spare classrooms were made available and the school had been given a complement of four subsidised full-time teachers and one part-time post.

In 1987 a letter from the Circuit Inspector of the Department classified the school as the Mariannhill Adult Education Centre and thus as a Secondary School. Thus the Centre qualified to receive donations from companies for the project of a new building.

In 1996 the contract between the school and the Education Department was renewed for further five years. The Department thus took on responsibility to pay the rent for classrooms, office space, storerooms and the ablution block.

The Mariannhill Adult Education Centre continues to draw many women for training in dress-making. It has a vital role to play in the upliftment of women in today’s South Africa’s society.