IkamvaYouth’s first rural branch celebrates an incredible 86% pass for its inaugural matriculating class, with 50% achieving the bachelor passes they need to access university. These results are particularly impressive compared with the provincial pass rate of 65.4%, and 31% bachelor passes. With the Eastern Cape the country’s worst-performing province, and Joza schools notoriously low-performing within Grahamstown’s highly unequal education system, these results mean more than just brighter futures for the 18 matriculating Ikamvanites and their families.
That after-school peer-to-peer learning and tutoring can yield results in this challenging context means hope to many schools and communities plagued by an education system in crisis. It also means that redressing the inequalities that plague Grahamstown is possible, and achievable. These results have been achieved through peer-to-peer learning and tutoring, where volunteering university students facilitate small group learning, where learners drive the agenda themselves. There is no teaching — only learning — and the results are remarkable!
Although Rhodes University is just down the hill from Joza, tiny numbers of learners enter the doors of this top institution on their doorstep. IkamvaYouth is thrilled to announce that this year, seven Ikamvanites have been accepted to study at Rhodes.
95% of IkamvaYouth’s Joza branch’s learners attend Nombulelo High school, where the branch is based. This is the biggest school in Grahamstown, and had 215 matric learners writing in 2013; just under 40% of these passed. As Dr Ashley Westaway from Gadra pointed out in his analysis of Grahamstown’s matric results last year, more than double the number of candidates that wrote at any other school in the City wrote at Nombulelo, and “as can be expected, the Nombulelo predicament had a massive bearing on the overall performance in Grahamstown. If one entirely removes Nombulelo from the City statistics, its pass rate increases by over 10%, up to 71,6%.”
This year, 75 matric learners at Nombulelo passed, with 32% attaining bachelor passes. Ikamvanites contributed 38% of these bachelor passes; a testament to what can be achieved through partnerships between schools and community-based after-school programmes. Nombulelo principal, Mr Mthuthuzeli Koliti, noted that “those learners who do not connect with the teachers are inspired by the younger tutors who inspire them to work hard. Some of these slept at the school as they could not study at home and their commitment has paid off.” Nomfusi Phamela Mgqobele, a parent of a very proud grade 12 learner, thanked IkamvaYouth and said that the organisation has “not only helped with his performance at school but shaped him to become a responsible young man”.
Establishing the Joza branch has not been easy, and it is a testament to the hard work and support from a range of individuals and partner organisations. IkamvaYouth greatly appreciates the efforts of all involved, including the tutors, parents, the schools, Rhodes’ Centre for Community Engagement, the Claude Leon Foundation, the Joza Youth Hub, the Learning Trust and the Eastern Cape Department of Education. “These results are amazing”, said branch coordinator Bulelwa Mangali. “It’s also not the end as the three learners who failed are eligible for supplementary exams and so we are shooting for 100% pass by March”.
Dear IkamvaYouth’s incredible tutors and mentors,
You are the key to IkamvaYouth’s success; you embody the spirit of IkamvaYouth and have proven that volunteerism is in fact sustainable and scalable.
Thank you for your inspiring dedication and for being a tremendous example to our learners, and the country at large.
Without you we would not be able to help as many learners as we do. We hugely appreciate the sacrifices you make when you give up your time to tutor, mentor or to help us in other ways.
We want to thank you with this message as our personal round of applause. The credit for our work rests with our dedicated volunteers:
It is you who inspire and enable our learners to achieve these amazing results. You guys are also our BIGGEST benefactors.
We hope to see you continue to lift as you rise and wish you all the very best in everything that you do.
The 2013 IkamvaYouth Annual Report highlights the remarkable achievements that we have made in 2013 by enabling disadvantaged youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty with education.You can view the full annual report here but here are some of the highlights from 2013:
- 92% of our learners passed their matric (including supplementary exams); 62% achieved a bachelor pass (compared to 30.6% nationally) and 90% of our learners accessed a post school opportunity (tertiary, learnership or employment);
- The first survey of IkamvaYouth’s alumni was conducted. The findings were more encouraging than we could have hoped: IkamvaYouth learners are almost half as likely to drop out of tertiary studies, four times more likely to graduate and are three times less likely to not be in education or employment than the average South African young person.
- IkamvaYouth WON the Stars Award which exists to reward outstanding local organisations improving the lives of children in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. IkamvaYouth WON in the category of Education in Africa and the Middle East.
Thank you for taking the future into your hands, and to holding ours. Let’s keep reaching for the stars together.
©Neo Ntsoma/Majority World
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Convincing young people to trust each other is not an easy task. Making them see each other as heroes and and future leaders takes time but when it happens many doors of opportunities open. Sometimes they do things because they’re are told to, some do beacuse they believe. Yet you push until everyone sings the same song. You practise the song until everyone is comfortable and falls inlove with it.
This has been the case with the Joza Ikamvanites not understanding the importance of peer to peer. It took exam time for our grade 12’s to believe and see the importance of peer to peer. They didn’t take any special pills all they had to do was sit and help each other out. The Joza grade 12’s are now confident they will achieve bachelor passes at the end of the year.
All it takes is preparation,patience and perseverance.
Ikamva lisezandleni zakho.
Varsity College continues to demonstrate the willingness and wilfulness to partner with IY in our vision for young people’s education in South Africa. Hosting Ikamvanites for the Cell C girl child day in May was only the start. Toward the end of our Winter School in July, the college donated boxes of files, folders, notes and thesauruses for Ikamvanites to use. WC and Joza Matrics benefitted from the use of the thesauruses during their matric camp and now WC branches have added to their libraries, which received 7 thesauruses each. The learners have also received folders in which to store notes, timetables and stationery, and notes on different subjects that have previously been used by Varsity College students.
Thank you Varsity College for your generous donation!
Following the success of the matric camp in 2013, the WC team ran the second annual matric camp following directly on after the two weeks of winter school in July. This year saw 85 matrics from the Western Cape branches as well as from the Eastern Cape get together for a week getaway at the Rotary Glencairn camp site, for 5 days of intensive tutoring, academic workshops and exam practice.
The first day saw all the learners arriving at the site and participating energetic team-building exercises to help break the ice as learners started interacting more freely across the branches, working collectively to earn points for their various teams. True to ikamvanite culture, tutoring started in earnest from day one and the learners spent the rest of the afternoon working through past exam papers and Answer Series guides.
Throughout the camp learners have all managed to take part in a variety of activities aimed at preparing them for their final exams and tertiary studies. From intensive tutoring and exam practice to workshops around how to study effectively and evening self study times.
While the camp is a serious study boot camp, with tutoring happening from early in the morning until late into the night, the learners found the time to energise themselves through the terrible weather with an impromptu talent show where learners mixed things up between branches for an evening of singing, dancing, stand up comedy and drama. I’m convinced the next MC Solaar is in this group!
Sixolisiwe sibebosi , a volunteer said the following: ‘The matric camp was very productive to me. Firstly everything was well prepared, the kids were hungry to learn something and that gave me a lot of courage and it motivated me to make sure that I give all and make a change. IkamvaYouth changed my life and I also passed my matric because of IkamvaYouth and matric camp so it was a minor thing for me tor do, I wish I could do more.’
Bonke Sibunzana, a learner from Masi said the following, ‘what I liked about matric camp was how committed the tutors were. They encouraged us to use the tutoring time wisely. I also like how united we were as ikamvanites. We showed love and support for each other ‘, while Nobulali Swaartbooi from Nyanga said ‘Matric camp was a great experience. It was great learning with people from different schools and coming together with all our different ideas.’
This strongly echoes IY’s value of peer-to-peer sharing and IY is excited to witness the fruit of the Matric camp as the learners write their mock exams in September and final exams in November.
A very special thank you to Pick’n Pay Fish Hoek, for generously supplying camp catering, and ensuring that all our learners, volunteers and staff are well fed every day of the camp; Rotary for their beautiful camp sites and ERM for the donation of solar lamps for all our matric learners. This gives out learners going into their final exams the opportunity to study at home in the evenings, thanks ERM!
Good luck for the final exams IY 2014 Matric Class!