Background: The Department of Education’s statistics show that the general level of literacy in most primary schools is insufficient. Especially schools in disadvantaged areas, where children score below the minimum required levels. Many factors contribute to these results: lack of stimulation in the children’s homes, parents who have dropped out of school themselves, lack of educational material in the home, poor equipment in school libraries, and overcrowded classes.
Many schools have limited staff resources, and are unable to address the needs of their overcrowded classrooms. This leads to a burnt out feeling amongst the teachers, which in turn heavily affects the children’s results and feeling of well being in the schools.
Often children, who do finish their matric, don’t have the means and resources to apply or pay for a tertiary education. Therefore the growth in South Africa’s workforce is halted, and the necessary development to improve its circumstances are slowed
Challenges: Due to the focus on the academic curriculum that teachers are asked to follow in detail, children with a backlog face great difficulties in keeping up with the pace in the classes. The overcrowded classes make it very challenging for teachers to discern each learner’s needs, learners’ levels and parents are often not able to help their children with extra support at home.
Additionally, children maintain an unrealistic view of what academic requirements are needed to enter into their desired profession. Likewise, they also do not know the risks they take should they drop out of school before reaching matriculation. A lot of potential goes unrealized due to the lack of career guidance.
Besides the challenges mentioned above, a big problem that remains for most children when it comes to successfully reaching their full potential, is the lack of finances to pay for FET (further education and training). Many families cannot afford the fees and/or the costs linked with studying far away from home. In the Bitou area there aren’t many colleges or training programs where young adults are able to follow courses that fit their needs. Going to university or college as far away as 100 to 500 kilometers is not an exception if students want to follow the education of their dreams.