According to a report by the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE), “the shortage of good teachers, particularly in maths and science, is at the root of South Africa’s underperforming education system”.
The University of Stellenbosch’s Department of Economics has recently published a study entitled “Low Quality Education as a Poverty Trap”. Their research strongly suggests that employment and earnings are strongly dependent on having about 12 years of schooling. However, approximately 60% of South Africa’s youth do not complete secondary school and are entering the labour market without a qualification.
Within the Waterberg area of South Africa, research strongly indicates that Maths and Science are essential for skilled jobs and economic growth and development. Further education colleges who offer artisan training such as welding, electrics, and plumbing have a minimum entry requirement of 50% in both Maths and Science. However, the average grade achieved by students upon leaving school is about 30% at best.
These poor results add extra strain to an already growing unemployment problem within the youth of the Waterberg which, ultimately, exacerbates issues including poverty and crime.
With the aim of addressing this need, The Clabile Trust has partnered with The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. We have converted part of Casa Clabile (formerly a hostel) into a venue to run homework clubs for Secondary School students.
Our first Homework Clubs began in May 2012 with about 110 students coming every week for additional support in Maths and Science as they work towards their matric examinations.
The sessions involve working through a topic as a class and then dividing into teams to work together through exercises. Lunch is then provided after which students present back their answers to the class. The session ends with something light-hearted – a game or a comedy DVD – to create a youth club atmosphere.
Special thanks to Dial-a-Flight for their generous donation to provide equipment and resources for the homework clubs including desks, chairs, pens, pencils, projector and a television.
Following the success of these after school classes, the facility has also been used during the day to run vocational skills courses for young people to help them get on the road to meaningful and secure work. So far, we have run courses for young unemployed people to learn skills in nature guiding, housekeeping, first aid and environmental studies. Currently, the facility is set up as a chef school. Over 100 young unemployed people from the Vaalwater community have benefited from the opportunity to learn skills to help them gain employment in the local community.