Ikamvanites have done it again. We are excited to announce that the IkamvaYouth class of 2020, against all odds, achieved an 88% pass rate.  We are also proud to share that 78% of the cohort are eligible for tertiary opportunities, with 51% achieving a Bachelor’s pass allowing them access to university entrance. Three branches achieved a 100% pass rate, and this cohort achieved 232 distinctions collectively. In the backdrop of the challenges that were brought about by the lockdown and subsequent schooling disruption, the 2020 cohort achieved no small feat. 

While we celebrate at IkamvaYouth, the national results have unfortunately regressed from 2019 by 5.1%, to achieve a 76% pass rate. While we recognise the unique challenges faced by the class of 2020 nationally, the pandemic only exacerbated the already existing inequalities regarding access to quality education in the country.  Learners, more so those coming from the communities we work in, were placed at a huge disadvantage. 

While COVID-19 caused major disruptions globally, after-school programmes became an essential part of communities’ response to the need for continued learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Internally we were pushed to find immediate solutions to ensure that learners in our programmes continued with their schooling and received adequate academic support despite the disruptions. We shifted our programmes to online platforms and provided learners with devices and data. Our 2020 Matric results across our branches are a testament to the importance of programmes such as ours.  

Our CEO, Hope Chidawanyika had this to say “I cannot begin to imagine what 2020 was like for our Matrics.  The Jet Education Services’ Education, Inequality and Innovation in the time of COVID-19 research paper published that 44% of children in urban areas are living under the poverty line, and sadly, this is where our projects are based. Schooling in 2020 meant that learners, especially those in the communities we serve, were sent home to essentially teach themselves with limited contact with teachers and resources. For matrics, this happened in the most crucial year of studies. I, therefore, commend the 2020 cohort, our reliable group of tutors and staff for their resilience, achieving such stellar results despite the odds”. 

In the Western Cape, we are particularly proud of our Kuyasa branch for achieving a stellar 100% pass rate, with 92% of the learners in the branch achieving a Bachelor’s pass. One of the top achievers in the Western Cape province is Nelson from our Gugulethu Branch, who achieved seven distinctions. Starting in Grade 8, Nelson was one of the learners who joined the After School Programme. This is a maths and science after-school programme we ran with Olico in partnership with the Western Cape Government’s Youth and After School Programme Office. 

Bridget Hannah, Programme Manager: Youth and After School Programme Office had this to say “ In 2019, as a grade 10 learner, Nelson addressed an audience of 300 representatives of government, NGO and donors. We were deeply moved as he spoke from the heart about how he had found a home in the IkamvaYouth After School Programme, an enriching environment where he was able to explore his love for maths. Two years later, and emerging from a covid ravaged matric year, this young man has triumphantly achieved 7 distinctions. This incredible achievement is testament to his grit and determination and his success is credit to every individual who has believed in him and his journey. Well done Nelson, we look forward to hearing great things!

Nelson speaking to Africa Melane at the 2019 After-school Symposium

Worth mentioning from our Western Cape region is our Atlantis Branch that achieved a 98% pass rate, with its biggest cohort since its inaugural matric class in 2017.  A recent external evaluation of the branch reiterated the experience of learners as they braved through the lockdown; one of the key benefits of being in the programme, highlighted by the learners themselves was: “that there are people out there who genuinely want to see us succeed and are available for us”. The programme indeed gave the learners a sense of hope and possibility for a bright future.

Zooming into our Gauteng and North West district, we had two top-performing branches. The Ikageng Branch in the North West and our Diepsloot Branch in Gauteng both achieved a 100% pass rate.  Thatoyaona, one of our best performers from the Diepsloot Branch achieved a Bachelor’s pass and 6 distinctions in Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Computer Application Technology, Life Orientation and English. He had this to say:

I joined Ikamvaouth in 2018, during my exam preparations. I was able to get in contact with any tutor for either of my subjects, and I was also able to access very good and highly recommended study guides. When the lockdown came it meant no schooling and also meant highly reduced contact with the teachers who are supposed to help us, however, IkamvaYouth was one of the first after-school programs I know of to implement online learning via WhatsApp. This online learning was not only educational and informative but it was also very exciting and fun. I will be going to the University of Pretoria to study Mechanical Engineering. Thank you IkamvaYouth. 

In the Eastern Cape, despite challenges including lack of access to electricity, water and sanitation, as well as Maths and Physics teachers, the Joza branch just outside of Grahamstown achieved a 93% pass rate, with 86% of the learners in the branch being eligible for tertiary. The province itself has year on year achieved one of the lowest pass rates nationally, this year achieving a 68% pass rate. Undoubtedly the Joza branch plays a significant role in ensuring learners around Joza get access to an academic support programme, helping them improve their chances to access tertiary and other post-school opportunities.  

KwaZulu Natal region achieved a steller 84.5% pass rate.  One of our top-performing learners nationally was from Chesterville, achieving 7 distinctions. Mandisi achieved a full house with seven distinctions in IsiZulu, English, Mathematics, Life Orientation, Consumer Studies, Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences.

Mandisi had this to say “I joined IkamvaYouth in 2018, when I was doing grade 10 and I can say that it was a great environment to be in, a conducive one too. There were tutors who helped me whenever I struggled with something, and got me to look at education differently. High school was quite challenging, especially at FET phase, but with discipline and determination I managed to be the top achiever in all my grades and passed my matric with flying colours (7 distinctions).  At IkamvaYouth I learnt about the importance of hardwork and relying on your intelligence, I also developed the mentality of always aiming higher, and I’m thankful for all of that.  My plans going forward are to study Computer Science at Wits University and during that period I hope to start a business of some sort.” 

As the matriculants go on to access tertiary and other post-school opportunities, we can never underestimate the value of achieving a Matric pass, let alone a Bachelor’s pass.  Research has continuously shown that for an economy like ours, a young person’s chances of leading a dignified life are directly related to how well they do in school. Learners with some secondary schooling earn on average R31,920 per annum while earning potential is almost 10 times higher for a learner with a Bachelor’s degree from University (earning on average R258,324 per annum). We particularly celebrate the record-breaking 51% Bachelor’s passes achieved by the 2020 cohort, as they are now on a path to earning a dignified living. 

At the core of our programmes is one of our organisations’ values: paying-it-forward. The programme would not be possible if it was not for the dedication of our volunteer tutors. The tutors themselves were adjusting to the demands of the lockdown while balancing school, home life and volunteer time.  While we celebrate pass rates in terms of numbers, it is the valuable relationships that our tutors and learners develop over the years that have contributed to the success of our programme.  The small group support has proven time and time again to be effective. 

Magdelina joined IkamvaYouth in 2018 when she was in grade 10. She obtained a matric Bachelor’s pass with two distinctions and has been accepted into a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at the University of the Witwatersrand. 

She says: “My greatest inspiration is definitely my tutors at IkamvaYouth as they inspired me to fall in love with the subjects that I had a problem with, namely Mathematics and Physical Sciences. In the spirit of giving back, I will be coming back to IkamvaYouth to tutor Mathematics, Life sciences, Life Orientation and Afrikaans. To the class of 2021, I would like to say that no matter the difficulties that you experience during the year, please note that the joy of success is much greater than the temporary challenges”.

We would like to thank all our donors for supporting and investing in our work. Our work depends on the generosity of many organisations and individuals who themselves were coping with the uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic presented.  We greatly appreciate their commitment to our mission. 

We are truly proud of the hard work across the organisation that has produced such great results. One of our core values is to nurture, within IkamvaYouth, a culture of responsibility for self and others. Our model builds, in the learners, the skill to self-study and support others. In 2020, these values truly came to life. While learners had no access to teachers and learning resources, they knew how to study on their own, they supported each other, and with the WhatsApp groups available they had support from IkamvaYouth. Really, #AfterSchoolWorks. 

Well done IkamvaYouth, Class of 2020!