Nothing is more inspiring than witnessing the success of young people with a hunger for learning. For the hundreds of learners at the Liberty funded Kutlwanong Centers for Maths, Science and Technology, the 100% pass rate in 2020 was a testament to their determination, work ethic and embracing new technology whenever possible.
Pupils across the world had their lives thrown into disarray because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with national lockdowns resulting in a disruption in the school year that left parents, learners and education authorities in shock. Most educational institutions (including the Kutlwanong Centres) cancelled in-person instruction, latching onto remote learning initiatives in a bid to rescue what remained of the academic calendar for 2020.
“As young people dealt with a new world of anxiety, loss of loved ones and an interruption to their education, we had to explore new ways to augment the interrupted traditional way of learning. And this could only be achieved through digital learning,” said Nomaxabiso Matjila, Lead Specialist Corporate Citizenship at Liberty.
This was what led to the creation and distribution of the Promaths online platform, a collaborative effort between Liberty, Investec, Kutlwanong and the digital designers at Tuta-Me. The new version of Promaths was essential to the Grade 12 Maths and Physical Sciences Virtual Learning platform, which allowed for a combination of online learning and – face-to-face tutoring as the lockdown eased.
Even in areas where connectivity was limited, learners were still able to learn how to operate the new system and connect with their teachers using mobile devices. When schools slowly began reopening in the second half of 2020, learners who had missed certain online classes due to load shedding or connectivity issues, were able to reconnect with their teachers in person.
By 22 November, all of the Kutlwanong and Promaths centres were able to run the curriculum programme to completion for all learners – grades 10, 11 and 12.
The results spoke for themselves:
A total of 183 distinctions were achieved by Promaths learners in Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The distinctions are from Liberty funded centres in Umbumbulu and Katlehong
The average learner subject average for Mathematics was 70%
The average learner subject average for Physical Sciences was 73%
The learners achieved a 100% pass rate in both subjects
“We were delighted to see such incredible results from learners who persevered despite an extremely difficult year. They’ve surpassed all expectations, even when they were expected to struggle,” said Matjila.
For the Liberty team, it was essential that they remained focused on using their Corporate Social Investment capital on education, as the pandemic had further highlighted the huge inequality between disadvantaged schools and more privileged pupils as learning moved further online.
“Given the impact of the pandemic Group CSI had to repurpose their CSI plans and programmes to align with the most pressing needs that confronted our communities because of the pandemic,” said Matjila.
Beyond the new Promaths initiatives, Liberty was also able to direct funding to other digital initiatives, such as the TenFold Mobile App, Mindset TV and Prime Stars’ #SavingTheClassOf2020 initiative, which were all able to provide revision papers and peer-to-peer learning support even in areas where digital access was severely hindered.
“The key to success is always education, which is why it remains one of Liberty’s most important focus area, even at the height of the pandemic. Education inspires hope and enables financial freedom in learners from previously disadvantaged communities.” said Matjila.