Covid-19

COVID-19 & SCHOOLING

Catch-up programmes aim to help the matric class of 2020

Several support programmes have been established by public and private corporations to help matrics with their studies and other needs. (Photo: Gallo Images / Roger Sedres)

Disruptions to the education system by the Covid-19 pandemic have a devastating impact on learners’ access to opportunities. In a bid to provide a lifeline to the matric class of 2020, a number of programmes – involving public-private partnerships – are being either boosted or initiated.

The matric examinations are set to begin on 5 November and conclude on 15 December. The class of 2020 is sailing in uncharted waters as Covid-19 disruptions continue to impede on their education. 

To alleviate some of the negative effects felt by matric students during this time, Primestars, a youth organisation that facilitates youth development for high school students, has put together a catch-up programme for matric learners in public schools. 

It is one of several learner support programmes established by public and private corporations to assist learners with their studies and psychosocial needs. 

“We provide programmes for extra lessons and extra support to give young people in public schools the kind of leg-up they need to get equal access to education and hopefully in the long term be able to have better lives,” said Nkosinathi Moshoana, the general manager at Primestars. 

Under the banner #SaveTheClassOf2020, Primestars’ matric programme is targeted at providing extra lessons to grade 12 learners from underserved public school communities through partaking in a 10-week examination preparation programme paid for by the youth organisation through donations made by private and public corporations. 

The matric programme is one of four initiatives that the organisation manages including career guidance, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy programmes. 

Explaining the criteria used to qualify schools for participation in the programme, Moshoana said an emphasis is placed on quintiles 1 to 3 public schools who are either no-fee paying or are low-fee paying. 

Schools that want to join the programme can apply directly to Primestars. 

Additionally, since the organisation works in partnership with the department of basic education, the programme can be introduced to schools or suggested to them by the department when a need is identified. 

“We also have a network of schools that we have worked with over the years that we know bring results and are committed to improving education outcomes,” Moshoana said. 

The programme will cover the entire Mathematics and Science curriculum in a cinema setting between 10 September and 25 November and will be rolled out across the country in all nine provinces. 

Learners from schools that are on board are registered into a database and collected from their school gates and ferried to the nearest Ster-Kinekor cinema, where the revision takes place on the big screen. 

The revision programme is put together with the help of educators and subject experts alongside Wits University’s Mathematics unit and Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Science unit. 

Moshoana said saving the class of 2020 is every South African’s responsibility because the social costs and risks of learners not completing matric will be everyone’s problem in future. 

The campaign has received financial and non-financial backing from several corporations including Cell C, Sanlam, Liberty, and WDB investment holding, to name a few. Cell C is currently working on an app that will convert the matric catch-up programme into sizeable educational content that will be accessible free of charge to Cell C network users. 

But Moshoana says the need for public-private corporations to support the programme is greater since Covid-19. 

As Covid-19 regulations prohibit large gatherings of more than 50 people,  cinemas and the buses that transport the learners now accommodate 30% fewer learners.

Though it costs more to run the programme since the pandemic, Moshoana said they cannot afford to move it online because learners do not have access to the internet, devices and digital learning support. 

“Face-to-face is still critical and the schools have requested, demanded and pushed us to continue with the face-to-face,” he said. 

On 24 July insurance company Old Mutual launched 21 Good Acts of Goodness for the Matric Class of 2020, a campaign aimed at connecting matric students with various support services such as psychosocial support, curriculum support and post-matric preparation. 

The programme is being rolled out with the help of 21 organisations Old Mutual has partnered with for the initiative. 

According to Fikile Kuhlase, the head of Old Mutual Foundation, “partners’ offerings range from online tutoring, dramatic arts support, life skills, mindfulness, online revision, study venues, advisory services for tertiary applications, WhatsApp chats and past papers, to solutions to basic mathematics equations”. 

“For example, one of our partners, Lefa Cooperative Virtual Educator-Led Learning Experiences, has an SMS line, and they currently have 36 highly qualified facilitators providing support for Maths, Sciences, English, and Accounting. In addition, loveLife is providing psychosocial support and space for study groups at their 21 Y-Centres across the country,” Kuhlase added. 

She explained that the campaign exists to create a coalition of awareness and support for the Matric Class of 2020 and will run until 30 October. 

Moshoana said saving the class of 2020 is every South African’s responsibility because the social costs and risks of learners not completing matric will be everyone’s problem in future. 

“We understand the multiplying effects of a young person not finishing their matric year. If you think of a young person in a public school who already has the challenge of learning in an environment with limited capacity and resources, they may not go back to school after this year,” he said. 

He further added that the 10-week programme will, with the help of Cell C,  be converted into a free-rated online programme at the end of September to broaden the scope of learners who can access the learning programme. DM

For more information regarding Primestars’ matric programme and the school enrollment process email: [email protected] 

For more information on Old Mutual’s matric support campaign, contact the Project Manager, Kai Crooks-Chissano, at [email protected] 

For loveLife psychosocial learner support services: send a please call me to 0833231023

Visit the free-rated website: https://www.education.gov.za/  for learning material for all grades including matrics.

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