For those who don’t know, Botshabelo is a small town in the eastern Free State. The settlement was originally established in the late 1970s as part of segregated urban planning and is about 60km from the economic hub of Bloemfontein. Today, the area is still plagued with unemployment and poverty, so it’s no surprise when one of the first things we’re told on our #Journey2 road trip visit to Ntemoseng High School in Botshabelo is, “Learners here are caught up in their circumstances and don’t have any dreams. They’ve lost hope.”
This is why Botshabelo was targeted to be part of the Old Mutual Education Flagship Project (OMEFP), a national education initiative started in 2013 to invest R350 million over seven years into under-resourced schools in key provinces. The overarching goal of the Old Mutual Education Flagship Project (OMEFP) is to increase the number of bachelor passes (university entrance) of Grade 12 learners who have maths and science in their subject choice. By doing so, the number of students who access university education increases, with the end result of more professional skills in the economy.
Under the existing structure of the Schools Partnership Project (SPP) initiated by the University of the Free State (UFS) in 2011, the OMEFP was able to extend the reach and scope of the project which provides intense mentoring for school teachers in key subjects. In Botshabelo, there are five participating schools which each have four specialist mentors in maths, science, accounting and importantly school management for principals and their management teams. The overall aim is to enable teachers to manage their classes and curriculum content more effectively.
Teachers have also received critical learning aids to provide more engaging lessons, such as maths teacher Mr Moyo (above and below) who uses his new laptop and data projector to enhance his subject content – the maths improvement has been impressive, only 24% pass rate in Grade 12 pure maths (2014), and a 95% pass rate (2015)! Additional learning aids in the form of science kits and live video streaming of lessons have also enlivened subject interest and improved teacher confidence. The lessons are taught by experienced, successful educators from a state-of-the-art studio, coordinated by the Internet Broadcasting Project (IBP) based in the UFS.
The results of this close mentoring and support are starting to show for Ntemoseng High School which is now the second best performing school in Botshabelo. Recently the OMEFP project extended into nine other ‘feeder’ (intermediate) schools in the region targeting maths and science. Over and above this intense mentoring programme, other support initiatives are underway such as an intense, week-long, values-based workshops by Columba Leadership, to encourage youth activism and embed values of personal awareness, focus, creativity, integrity, perseverance and service in young leaders. Likewise, the establishment of four veggie tunnels on the school grounds aims to improve the children’s nutritional intake.
Ntemoseng High School acting principal and science teacher, Ms Alina Matloktsi (above) displays one of the school’s science kits.
The most recent programme now assists graduated school learners with their application process into tertiary institutions. For many of these young adults, there’s been no previous exposure to the often complex requirements when completing online registrations for university applications. Moleboheng Khoabane (below) is an Ntemoseng graduate who travelled all the way from Bloemfontein to be with us today. She is currently doing her second year at UFS (BA in Governance & Political Transformation) and says, “For example, I was assisted with my application for the NBT’s (National Benchmark Tests). Previously I didn’t know where to go for information, but now I’ve learnt from that. This year I registered for myself online. I can do things on my own. I know how to follow the guidelines and if necessary ask for help from academic advisors.”
And we’re off!
Growing green futures
For the love of reading
Paying it forward
In the heat of the moment
The road to Camdeboo
The light of one small candle
Investing for the future
The building blocks of business
A heart for horses
Mining for talent
My ability is greater than my disability
To be a nurse, you must be love
There’s no such thing as ‘the voiceless’
Mark my words
The place where the sun rises
Welcome to your future
Dollops of Dreams
The Business of Farming
Staff with Heart
Staying alive in Kimberley