This is a two to three year intervention funded by Swiss Re Africa Limited.
The school we are currently at is Walmer Secondary School in Woodstock/Walmer Estate. The objective is to provide a variety of support services so that the educators are free to do what they need to do; educate.
This has been a particularly challenging time for all involved in Education due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Everything has to be adapted. Most challenging was the aspect of peer learning and collaboration. Considering that there is, on average, between 45 to 50 learners in each class, everything was taking so much longer due to the physical distancing and the masks which made it very hard to hear what the learners were saying.
We overcame this challenge by purchasing mini amplifier boom boxes so that the learners could be in groups of 6, all safely spaced, and use their boom box microphones to be heard by the rest of the class. This has been really successful as the learners have found their voices again.
The fact that they have to write their final exams, despite missing so much school due to Covid-19 meant that we were dealing with a demotivated, fearful and anxious group of young adults. The socio-economic realities of this, and all the OSAT schools, is that there is no money for remote tech learning, zoom sessions or any such things that the more privileged schools were able to use.
The reality of many of the learners and their families is: do we use this money for school transport or do we buy food? Against this backdrop, we decided to do more than our usual work. We made it our point of departure that EACH matric learner WAS going to pass this most important exam; the culmination of 12 years of education. We took it as a given and designed and handed out matric 2020 sweatshirts to each learner.
The simplicity of this action the fact that besides their teachers, we al believe in them, caused a massive mental shift. THEY started to believe, that despite everything being against them, they can do this. They can attain their grade 12 matric pass.
We wish the grade 12’s all the best; it has been an absolute privilege to work with such resilient young South Africans.
These support services include providing
- A full time Counsellor available to learners, parents or caregivers and educators
- Access to a Social Worker for learners, parents or caregivers and educators
- Educator psycho-social and inter-personal skill development and team building
- Learner psycho-social skill development
- Learner Leadership programmes
- Parent psycho-social workshops
- School systems and management intervention
- Assistance with fund raising, structural and physical needs at the school