My passion for writing stories. Sive Ncanywa grade 8 learner
First of all I love myself, I want to see myself successful so that I can be able to provide for myself and my family. I want a bright future and I know the key to a bright future is education, so I thought to myself, let me work hard at my studies so that I can be able to live my wish.
For the Year Beyond Programme to come at my school was like a dream come true to me and it was a great opportunity to motivate me to work hard. Then I joined.
In the programme we had two sessions, Mathematics and English. For Mathematics we attend Olico sessions online/offline and for English we attend Fundza sessions online/offline. I remember one day after reading a story from Fundza, at the end of the story it had the name of the writer. I so wished that it was my name that was written there. I’ve always had the dream of being a young author, but i gave up since i couldn’t find the right people to help me. I always write stories on books and never got the opportunity to show them out.
I wished to write for Fundza. So I asked one of the tutors if I can write stories or poems for Fundza, I was so happy when she said yes. I I’ve always had the passion for writing but never got the right people. It’s like a dream come true; God has finally opened doors for me.
This programme has bought up my self-esteem and confidence. I am so proud of myself for being part of this programme.
I’m good at writing and reading it’s like I was made for it.
Sive Ncanywa Grade 8 Student @GUGULETHU COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOL.
The Year Beyond programme has just had its very first successful winter school for 300 learners run by a group of 36 highly motivated volunteers. Winter school is a way of introducing our young learners to a wider world of opportunity through targeted career advice and mentoring activities, supplementary tutoring, excursions and workshops, and through career speakers offering advice and support to enable the learners to access tertiary education and employment.
Our winter schools were held at Phoenix, Manyano, ID Mkhize, and Oval North High Schools. We were hosted with warmth and the learners thoroughly enjoyed the experience. With the learners having never been to an established winter school programme, the experience unlocked their eyes and minds to a new sphere of possibilities.
Winter Schools are not like the daily routine of a normal school day, instead it’s about intensive tutoring and different workshops focussed on equipping the students with a sense of independence as well as ensuring that they leave with the confidence and understanding in mind, knowing that it starts with self. The activities and workshops were aligned with the intention of developing our learner’s leadership skills, level of awareness, valuing self and importantly raising awareness of the social issues affecting youth and the preventative actions that are available to them.
The core component of Year Beyond winter school is the academic content. Learners received 2 hour intensive tutoring sessions with a variety of tutoring resources including; past papers, mock exams and Answer Series study guides, English (Fundza) and Math (Olico) Fundamentals.
In addition to the academic emphasis, the winter school provided an opportunity for a number of workshops around themes relating to general life-skills, HIV/Aids awareness, filmmaking and personal presentation skills. Learners were also exposed to information helpful to choosing subjects when they start grade 10.
The varied workshops included; Peers in Sexual Health running workshops about teenage pregnancy / STIs/ HIV information and training through experiential games and role plays; UCT Health Faculty who ran TB awareness and movie screening for health awareness; a workshop from Live Magazine on how to build a newsletter and magazine, while Rae Human and partners gave a presentation from the Film and Publication Board covering topics like cyber safety, the film industry and the Board as national regulator that were geared towards enlightening learners to the dangers of the media landscape. Students filmed their own short documentary through crash courses in sound, lighting and directing. UCT Humanities Faculty ran subject choice workshops and requirements to access post school institutions, and many learners went on an excursion to the Jewish Museum which aimed to create an understanding, gain knowledge and an appreciation of religious and cultural diversity within our society, and to respect the dignity, rights and values of people from different religions and cultures.
Combination of Schools
As the old adage goes; two hands are better than one and combining two schools per cluster was the winning idea. Manyano high school combined with Intlanganiso high school at Manyano and Tafelsig combined with Oval North at Oval North High. Additionally, Phoenix combined with Heideveld at Phoenix and ID Mkhize combined with Leiden high at ID Mkhize high school. At this point it’s where we could see the excitement on learners’ face when they were introduced to their peers from different schools. Peer to peer support was the tool that was used by tutors to ensure learners supported one another, but also in building a culture of hard work and being responsible to and for each other.
A huge thanks to all the workshop facilitators, tutors and learners – Your passion, commitment, excitement and leadership shown over this time has started to set a precedent in the schools, instilling a culture of hard work and belief in the possibility of a bright and beautiful future!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Zukile: email@example.com