The South African education system is riddled with challenges that young people have to face: we can’t ignore the infrastructure issues, the lack of class equipment and teachers’ support; the lack of a catch-up plan that identifies knowledge gaps and remedies to put in place (literacy and numeracy gaps have a huge impact on young people’s journey); the large numbers of learners dropping out; lastly, the issues of access – cue “fees must fall”- also add to this difficult picture.
It’s almost as if, in South Africa, education is fragmented and not seen as a complete and connected journey.Nosipho Sithole, Siyavula
In my experience working in the education sector, it seems like the focus is at the matric level; once young people reach Grade 12, the spotlight is suddenly turned on them, and the pressure to do well is ramped up.
It’s almost as if, in South Africa, education is fragmented, and not seen as a complete and connected journey. But we need to join the dots.
Why we need to focus on the education journey.
Every year, the matric results are widely celebrated nationwide. While this is an important milestone for many learners and celebrations are in place, little attention is given to those who don’t make it to Grade 12 or pass matric the first time around. These young people who should be supported and showed alternative pathways, often fall through the cracks. They’re left to fend for themselves while preparing for a matric rewrite. Yet, we know that without certification, life can be hard.
Siyavula provides high school learners with high quality, interactive and online Maths and Physical Sciences education, with exam prep and practice support. The platform is free, and zero-rated for MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom users.
Siyavula is a proud supporter of Youth Capital’s Action Plan, especially in their work around #CatchUsUp, and the Second Chance Matric Programme by the Department of Basic Education, which grants young people a second chance at obtaining matric. Ensuring that young people have resources to catch up while in school, or keep on learning even when outside their full-time schooling system it’s essential to help them get certified; by doing so, we facilitate their journey in accessing opportunities, and giving them a real stab at a decent life.
Without support, young people can be disabled from being functioning, ambitious and innovative contributors to their own development, their communities, and to society at large.
What it takes to help young people catch up.
It will take a true commitment from the government to overhaul education by providing more rigorous teacher training programmes and a dedication to making education a more holistic journey. Communities need to make a concerted effort and be plugged in to play a supportive role so that education continues beyond just the classroom. Organisations in the education and youth development spaces, as well as the private sector, can be intentional about joining forces to make a bigger impact.
Nosipho Sithole is the Project Manager & Provincial Lead at Siyavula. Siyavula is s a proud supporter of Youth Capital’s Action Plan.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Youth Capital.