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academic


Academic Programme


Born in Africa’s academic programme aims at supporting school going children and young adults in their academic career so they can reach their highest individual potential and have a realistic view of their opportunities in the labour market.

Born in Africa organises homework classes, art and craft classes and swimming lessons during the afternoons. To help the schools we support them with infrastructure and assistant teachers. For our older students, we organise study method workshops and tertiary education.

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 kilometres is not an exception if students want to follow the education of their dreams.

What We Do


Besides the general support of selected children during their school career (eg provision of uniforms and individual follow up) we have developed several specific activities to answer the challenges above. Born in Africa provides homework classes, assistant teachers, study bursaries, career guidance and infrastructure for the schools.

The purpose of the homework classes is to help learners who are behind in class or who could benefit from extra exercises. We focus on study methods, learn to do project work, and tutor those who need it. It is also a perfect way to work with children to develop life skills such as confidence, assertiveness, and a positive self-image. Since society asks for people who believe in lifelong learning, we focus on instilling an eagerness to learn.

Amongst the children in the program, a number of learners from grade 4 up to grade 6 are selected in groups from different schools where we work.

Our older BIA learners are often left in the dark when it comes to adequate study methods. Many of them find it difficult to study at home with so much outside interference. The demands which the school curriculum puts on them are also strenuous. Chores at home also need to be fulfilled as mom and dad often work long late into the evening. We teach them study methods to ensure they are prepared. This puts them in a comfortable routine by which they can successfully complete their homework and study for tests and exams. By gaining this valuable skill our students systematically gain confidence, empowering them to move on to a tertiary level of education.

Children are encouraged to enroll in tertiary education institutions once they have finished secondary or high school. Extensive career guidance is given to the students at least two years before their completion of high school, to help them identify the best career choice. What is most important is the student’s attitude towards wanting to study further. Various aspects are taken into consideration before enrolling students into tertiary institutes. Learners are advised of the university application requirements and are guided toward other possibilities when these levels seem to be out of reach for them.

Once the learners have been accepted into university or college Born in Africa supports them financially (school fees, accommodation and daily living) and socially during their studies. Born in Africa provides transportation to the institution and settles them in, along with providing all stationary and text books for their studies. Telephone conversations take place on a weekly basis between the student and the mentor to ensure that the studies and mental wellbeing of the student combine as a positive experience. After successfully completing his or her studies, the student is released from the BIA program with a successful strategy.

Kranshoek Computer Classroom: This classroom was built by BIA and currently houses 28 computers where the learners are taught computer skills. 

Crags Gr R classrooms: Due to the importance of the learners Gr R(reception year) BIA did extensive fundraising to build these two classrooms who each house 25 learners.

'Liliannes Classroom' in Wittedrift: A BIA initiative located at Wittedrift Primary where a wide variety of activities are taught-ranging from Ballet, Art & Craft, Drama and much more. 

BIA wooden classrooms in Harkerville, Kranshoek and Wittedrift: These were the first classrooms we built to house our mentors and their group sessions

Kranshoek wall: The 30 m long wall facing the north side of the school playground

BIA office and volunteer house: Our BIA house is where our volunteers live and it is the central hub where our staff work from

Qolweni crèche: kitchen & fence: Building a new kitchen and a fence added value to the learners and their parents.  They now know that their children are fed on a daily basis and with a secure fence around the school, they can rest assured their children are safe. 

Mazisame Youth Center for ABET (adult education): The centre was build to offer a safe but practical environment for youth at risk. There they receive abet education and a warm meal on a daily basis

Siya Phambili shop: A Group of BIA mothers learned in 2007 how to work with beads. This training was offered by Born in Africa. The business is now fully self-sustainable. You can find the shop next to the Peppermill in the Crags. All art is created by Adje Bos. The shop is daily open

Every year we provide all of our 400 children in the BIA program a new school uniform. They receive socks, shoes, trousers, shirt, jersey, jacket, backpack and school equipment.

We have placed dedicated assistant teachers in three of the schools we work at. Judy Mintoor assists the Gr 1 class with all their daily tuition, while Ronel De Waal helps both Gr 1 classes at Crags Primary school. We also fund a full time teacher at Kranshoek Primary-Magdalena Jacobs who teaches 35 Gr 3 pupils.