We work with a LOT of unemployed youth. They all come to us with a matric certificate and everyone has poor (to nonexistent) English language abilities and even poorer mathematical abilities. Life skills like time management, conflict management, study skills, personal development seem to be foreign terms for the majority of our learners.
We often throw our hands in the air and ask how this is possible? Don't they have a matric? What did they learn in school? Is Life Orientation, English & Mathematical Literacy not compulsory for all learners?
We were baffled. Until we started to investigate the schools they come from and then the schools in and around Gauteng.
1st of all, learners do not NEED to take English as a school subject, they just need to take two South African languages and that can be Xhosa & Sotho or Zulu & whatever...
2ndly, learners are packed between 68 & 100 in a classroom build to accommodate a maximum of 30, but preferably 24 learners. In most cases, there is NO space to use technology and very few teaching resources available to the teachers.
Where schools are able to raise their own funds to pay for teachers themselves, the classrooms have not had new whiteboards or projectors, or equipment in YEARS.
Even a class of 36 packed into a classroom designed for 22-25 kids are an impossible situation.
How do you teach in situations like that?
How do you get to know your learners and provide for their personal needs?
How do you even try to be more than just "a crowd controller"?
How do you use technology like projectors if the learners are squished right up to the black- or whiteboard? How do you make or obtain or use teaching resources in a classroom packed like a sardines tin and with no space to move between the desks,
We have met the most amazing, resilient, and supportive teachers in our travels to the schools. Teachers who are still in the profession because they LOVE kids and teaching because they still believe they are making a difference.
Yes, we have met teachers who do not deserve the title of teacher, but that is not what this blog is about. This blog is about how we cannot change the future of South Africa for the better if we cannot change the situation of teaching in our schools.
Why are our schools so under-resourced?
It is a disgrace and basically criminal in our eyes. I wish we could list all the reasons and not worry about consequences from the departments of basic or higher education...
How do we fix the problem of under-resourced schools?
The bottom line is that our schools are under-resourced and the government is not going to change the situation soon. WE have to. We can only do it by sharing OUR resources, of which the biggest resource we have access to is the sharing of information.
iSkoli is building a database of school resources available to teachers, parents, and students, and soon we will launch it for all to have access to and use freely.
We will keep you up to date. In the meantime - is there anything your company can do for a school near you or in your suburb or town or community?
Is there a resource you know about and think others would love to know about too? Please share it with us at email@example.com or on our social media platforms. Together we transform our world.