It’s hard to believe we are already into the second school term with Year Beyond and the 8 schools we are working in! While there have been challenges and stumbles along the way, there are 8 schools in new communities where tutoring is actually happening, where learners are building a culture of taking responsibility for themselves and driving the agenda to ensure they fill the gaps in their learning, where tutors are showing up and really caring about their learners, their lives and how well they are doing at school.
Year Beyond is currently improving the grades of more than 500 learners working with 29 volunteers. The programme includes the IkamvaYouth model of peer to peer tutoring, tech-assisted English and Maths fundamentals through FunDza and Olico, and practical clubs that will introduce robotics, coding, and media during the holiday programmes.
A Heidveld High volunteer said that “We have managed to keep our numbers constant for the last four weeks. Now that we have contacted parents we are about to reach 50 learners. The learners are willing to come to tutoring even when there is no food. They come every day because they are willing to learn and that motivates us to come every day and bring our A game”
Just like in IkamvaYouth branches, learners identify work they don’t understand during class and bring these to the volunteers in the afternoons to work through and engage with their peers. One of the key aspects of the model is that our volunteers speak English to the learners. At Intlanganiso tutors said that when they first got to school, learners were very shy and reluctant to speak or answer in English. On the last day of the holiday programme tutors were very encouraged that the learners finally responded to their call of speaking English. The learners were very confident and acted out well the Fundza story ‘Dreamgirl’ speaking English the entire session.
Ntobeko from Oval North said that “Our time at Oval North thus far hasn’t been a complete train smash, although it hasn’t been a picnic either. The learners we tutor are often very demotivated when they come to us and it falls to us tutors to lift their spirits – this is especially true for the Gr 8s and Gr 9s where we need to work hard to encourage learning. I am proud to say that our efforts have really paid off in the academic results and lives of some students. Our best learners are hands down our Gr 10s where many of them now express far more interest in Mathematics and Science than before and respond very well to our tutoring. In Gr 8 we have a learner who was initially a bit of a handful but has now matured and is giving his all. He has shown great determination in overcoming his problems and we are very proud of him”.
In some of the schools, especially those where there is no culture of staying after school, engaging with homework and peers to support an understanding what was covered in class, the interest was low and initial learner signups were below what was expected. ID Mkize High volunteers dealt with this in an interesting way by not only explaining the programme to the learners but also to the parents who have been able to assist the volunteers in motivating learners to apply. The day after a parent meeting at the school the volunteers had over 60 learners at their door the next day applying to the programme! ID Mkhize volunteers say, “We are motivated to keep doing what we are doing because there are learners who really need our help and who appreciate it.”
We are very excited to leverage the lessons from Term 1 to ensure that the next couple of months see this programme gain further traction and excitement in our schools. If you are interested in getting involved as a tutor or volunteer or want any further information please get in touch with Liesel: email@example.com or Zukile: firstname.lastname@example.org