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Education & Enrichment

Education Assistance, Greater Kruger

By June 28, 2016November 23rd, 2017No Comments

By providing afterschool classes and learning resources we can provide a much needed focus on the individual needs of the learners. We will also work closely with teachers in identifying and addressing areas where students are struggling.

Project located in Greater Kruger, South Africa
Project focused on Education and Enrichment

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The most basic and important need for our youth is education. Recent studies in the Greater Kruger area show that 45.7 percent of the population have not completed schooling. Our education programs address areas where students, teachers and schools are struggling.

We are currently working in partnership with Seganyane Primary School in Green Valley, one of the communities within the Bushbuckridge area. The school principle is well motivated although restricted on resources and working with large class sizes. We work together well, with the joint aim to improve learning for the children at the school. Many students here do not have the support at home to encourage them to address difficult topics in their lessons nor have the motivation to complete homework assignments. The earlier in life children receive quality education, the higher the chances they have to evolve into savvy and responsible teenagers and improve their prospects in the job market.

Primary school teachers in the area are currently struggling to deliver the national curriculum due to large class sizes, extended curriculum and a lack of individual attention for learners. This results in many learners being left behind in class and struggling to cope with the material leaving them unable to make the leap from primary school to high school or experiencing difficulties in keeping up with the education at high school.

By providing afterschool classes and learning resources we can provide a much needed focus on the individual needs of the learners. We will also work closely with teachers in identifying and addressing areas where students are struggling.

1. Homework Assistance
One,of our most important areas of focus, is educational support. The educational support that we provide includes homework assistance and resources for English, Maths and Science classes. During these sessions we will provide the learners with extra materials and individual attention when possible to supplement their studies. Over time and through research, we have found that these three subjects need the most attention in order to prepare the learners for high school. By purchasing learning books and resources linked to the curriculum along with a projector this will boost the impact of our homework assistance and help the children tremendously with their studies.

2. Reading Club
Learners are required to have a decent level and understanding of English. Sadly this is currently not the case, and very often learners graduate from primary school with an inadequate understanding of English. One of the main causes for the low standard of English in the area is that classes up to Grade Four in the Bushbuckridge area,are taught in Sotho. By the time learners are ready for grade four, (which is taught only in English), most of them have never spoken any English before. These learners cannot keep up with any of the courses taught and fall further and further behind. Through regular reading club sessions, we can provide learners with the opportunity to read English books with the assistance of volunteers and a great variety of books that encourage an interest in reading. During reading club, learners will have to read books aloud to check their pronunciation and test their comprehension of what they are reading. By reigniting an interest in reading by buying age related books we can encourage children to grow an interest in reading. We’d like to provide certificates as learning rewards and snacks so the children can concentrate on reading rather than being hungry after school.

3. Conservation Education
The communities we work with are within the Greater Kruger Area. Education about conservation and environmental protection are extremely important to increase income opportunities and reduce the impact on the environment. Complementing this class will be regularly organised field trips for the learners to experience the animals and surrounding nature. Regular career talks by local professionals will also assist students in learning more about possible occupations and to broaden their perspective. Conservation Education will also encourage them to become a part of the change towards the protection of their environment. Be using relevant, quality conservation education resources we will create interest in conservation as well as fun learning. To broaden the children’s learning experience we want to organise occasional field trips so children can experience the environment rather than just see it in books and arrange career talks from role models in the area for inspiration on potential careers and the benefits of working.

4. Youth Club (not yet active)
The youth club aims to provide opportunities for learners to develop into responsible teenagers and to be better prepared and equipped for their next stage in life. During these sessions learners will participate in activities that educate them in self respect, teambuilding, tolerance, equality and solidarity through team sports, dancing classes, arts and crafts. The club will also host a workshop once a month with people from outside the school to discuss issues such as gender equality, (sexual) violence, HIV, drugs and alcohol abuse, health and nutrition and other issues that might arise For our youth club we want to invest in equipment for sport, arts & crafts and resources for the workshops.

Longer term we aim to assist teachers further in their skills and motivation, as well as get trainee teachers involved in the program as part of their work experience.

Short Term:
Through the educational assistance, students will gain a better understanding of the materials taught at school and will be better equipped to keep up with the pace of the curriculum and and achieve better results. Learners will also be exposed to new social and practical skills through the involvement of volunteers from around the world.

The after school classes and the youth club, will provide learners with a platform to discuss any problems or issues they may be struggling with. These discussion sessions aim to increase the level of self-confidence and self-development among the learners.

Long Term:
The primary focus of this project is to increase the number of learners that are adequately prepared for high school and improve the number of learners that get accepted into decent high schools. By preparing learners for higher education, we increase their opportunities to complete their education and increase their prospects of a decent occupation. Because of the long term effects of the project for the students, there is a long term benefit for the whole community. The youth club and conservation education sessions and exposure to volunteers and materials from around the world will provide the learners with a broader understanding of their immediate surroundings and the world outside of their environment.

Bushbuckridge Local Municipality is one of the five constituents of Ehlanzeni District Municipality in Mpumalanga. Basic services such as running water, sanitation and health care are all under developed in this rural area. The area suffers severe unemployment, poverty, high rates of HIV/AIDS and a lack of basic education.

Many of the local residents live with family or extended family in basic housing due to the levels of poverty in the area, and the level of education is low with many of the population aged 20 years and above having no formal schooling. Although rates of Primary School attendance are improving, further and higher education in the area remains a challenge. This, in turn, increases the high unemployment rate, which currently sits at over 50%.

After school classes have started for the local students in the area. Despite the classes not being mandatory, we have seen that nearly every student shows up when it’s their class’ turn.

During the homework assistance classes we are currently only focusing on English to improve the level of English comprehension required for the study of the other subjects. By focussing on improving the standard of English, we hope to build a foundation from which we can expand the homework assistance to include different subjects.

We are currently setting up a system with the teachers at the Seganyane Primary School to allow us to schedule a teacher to be present at all times.

We are currently developing a system and program from which we can measure our impact within the local communities. This will involve developing tests which can be carried out at the beginning and the end of each semester to measure the progress of each student and the efficacy of the programs.