Thursday, October 29, 2020

Last year, 60 high school learners from Gauteng participated in Tomorrow Trust’s Saturday and holiday school programme which was funded by Datatec Group’s education and technology foundation. The majority of these learners are orphans and come from disadvantaged backgrounds. “The learners on the programme are the most vulnerable in society and yet they make the most of the opportunities given to them,” says Wilna de Villiers, Group Marketing and Communications Manager for Datatec 

The success of the programme is evident among Grade 10-12 learners too. Over the last eight years, the programme has assisted 602 learners to complete their National Senior Certificate. The Grade 8 and Grade 10 learners who participated in last year’s programme benefited through the self-mastery workshops, career guidance, digital literacy, motivational talks and leadership development. The overall pass rate has been 98%, with 78% of learners achieving a Bachelor Pass Rate. 

According to the results released by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study [TIMSS], they show that at Grade 9 the national average score for South Africa is 372 points for mathematics which puts us in the last position when compared to other countries. To compound these frightening statistics, 47% of learners in South Africa drop out of school at the end of Grade 9,” says James Donald, CEO of the Tomorrow Trust. 

By contrast, all of the Grade 9 learners on the Tomorrow Trust programme in 2019 chose Maths as a subject for Grade 10 and the Saturday and holiday school programme has a 98% retention of Grade 8 learners moving to Grade 9, while Grade 9 learners who are moving to Grade 10 have a retention of 96%. The 2019 group averages in Maths and English for Grade 9 learners on the programme, compared with those not involved, were 68% versus 31% in Maths, and 60% versus 55% in English.

Donald explains that Tomorow Trusts Saturday and holiday schools programme is not intended for top-performing individuals rather, it’s aimed at those who are performing at averages of 40% or less, with a focus on helping them become top-performing learners. Tomorrow Trust runs several other education programmes throughout the year at various host-partner venues, including a junior holiday school programme aimed at Grades R-7, a tertiary programme and an alumni programme.  

Juniors are given tuition in English, literacy and numeracy, as well as fun workshops for self-growth and understanding. Meals, transport and stationery are provided. In the tertiary programme, students are offered full university bursaries, plus psychosocial and academic support through monthly workshops that cover life skills, study skills, self-awareness and self-mastery.  

As we commemorate mentorship in January, the Tomorrow Trust Junior students give back to the community by allocating 10 hours a year to the younger groups, becoming motivators and role models to them. “What’s heart-warming for us is how the learners are blossoming with extra support. We love Tomorrow Trust’s holistic approach, we see how learners’ academic performance dramatically improves as a result of them feeling supported, encouraged and understood says De Villiers.  

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