South Africa has come a long way in trying to undo the effects of apartheid on our education system. We have just celebrated 20 years since the dawn of democracy yet disparities still persist and many remain excluded from the system. Many children and youth do not have access to education and live in dire conditions. Many who do have the privilege of getting access to education continue to be plagued by crime, poverty, and a lack of early childhood development support, hence the high drop out rates in our country.
A child’s early years are important for development and laying a foundation. Many studies have been conducted which prove that effective childhood development yields “academic achievement, behavior, educational progression and attainment, and labour market success,” in the later stages of one’s life.
At age 15, young Ashley Magutshwa has not allowed his circumstances define him. When he joined Sparrow Schools from the Ikageng Itireleng Ministry orphanage home, he had difficulties learning. Magutshwa and his sister were left stranded after the passing of their grandmother and were taken in by the orphanage home. He later found the perfect home in the Sparrow Foundation School. Through the multifaceted team of therapists from the Learner Support Unit offered by the school, Ashley has risen above his circumstance.
Eight years since joining the Sparrow Foundation, Magutshwa is now an active ballerino at the Johannesburg Theater. He is also a drama student at the National School of the Arts. He has featured in various plays including Cinderella and received numerous certificates. The 15 year old from Soweto now holds regular ballet classes for kids in his community on weekends.
The young ballerino dreams of travelling to the United States after matriculating to pursue his dancing career. He has ambitions of spreading his wings, venturing into business and having his own family one day. He is testament to the fact that it is not where you come from that will determine your success. It is what you do now that will determine where you go.Details
With 25 years of experience in the education and skills training field it is not hard to believe the great success stories that surface at Sparrow Schools. Triumphant stories of individuals that have risen above their social circumstances and succeeded against their learning challenges. Amongst such stories is that of Aphiwe Stungu, a 19 year old female that enrolled into the Automotive Repair & Maintenance program. The Port Elizabeth born student thanks her uncle’s intervention for making her dream become a reality back in 2011 by insisting on the FET route. Young Aphiwe followed in her motor mechanic brother’s footsteps, “Seeing my brother fix anything made me fall in love with the Superwoman idea,” Aphiwe laughs.
It wasn’t long till Aphiwe made a name for herself, impressing the facilitators with her ‘doing things properly’ attitude. Being the only girl in the program didn’t faze her she says and nor did it make it easy. The hard working lady says there were no favours received for her female card, she had to toughen up and get used to the realities of her chosen field. The good reputation carried over to the workplace where she was placed and enrolled with one of our industry partners- Germiston Kia Motors, through Imperial’s four years apprenticeship program. With each level she passes she gets an increase in wage, a great incentive for her to do well and take her studies seriously.
Aphiwe completed her apprenticeship program and hopes to specialize in Diagnostic Mechanics and, who knows, maybe work for Ferrari as well. Jurgen Krause, her mentor and supervisor in the workplace says her work ethic, determination and ability to dream beyond her reality will be rewarded. Seeing Aphiwe climb up the ladder is great motivation for the staff at Sparrow Schools who work tirelessly in making a difference in the youth and country. We can’t wait to hear more from this lady on the rise.
Source : GivengainDetails
In 2014, the World Economic Forum global competitiveness report ranked South Africa at 144 for maths and science teaching out of 144 countries. The WEF’s report was later dismissed by various specialists as “preposterous” and flawed.
It was found that the methods used to calculate the rankings were “Subjective, unscientific, unreliable and lack any form of technical credibility or cross national comparability.” However it is a well-known fact that South Africa’s education system is in crisis, especially in the maths and science categories. According to the Annual National Assessment results released in 2013, only 39% of grade six learners and 2% of grade nine learners scored more than 50% in mathematics.
Some of the root causes of this failing system stem from primary and the way that mathematics is taught in schools. The remedial Sparrow Foundation School is constantly finding new ways of evolving and finding new ways to improve education. On 4 May 2015, the Foundation School launched its newly built Maths Enrichment Center at the Foundation School in Melville.
The new center incorporates a Maths Enrichment program which aims to improve the levels of teaching and mathematical competence. It is equipped with superior teaching facilities and focused on the teaching of mathematics at grades 5, 6, and 7 levels.
The center was made possible through the generous funding by General Electric and the Sparrow Foundation UK. “We at General Electric are very proud to see this place and what we have done with it. I would like to encourage you go into the center, work hard, get people to help you and don’t be afraid. Maths is a foundation for you to be great one day,” says Solutions Consultant Manager of General Electric, Andre Bodenbarck at the launch.
The program aims to break down the stereotypes associated with mathematics as a difficult subject. Keeping in mind that the Foundation School is a remedial school, the program has been specially designed for the learner with learning difficulties. “The one thing that our learners struggle with is understand the reasons why they do mathematics. The programs we have in the maths center allow them to think in that direction. The program is also designed to allow the learner to develop at their own pace. It is unlike in the classroom where all the learners are expected to all develop at the same pace,” says the new Foundation School Mathematics specialist, Vincent Edwards Basson.
Starting off as a qualified physiotherapist, Basson brings with him 27 years of teaching experience and 5 years working experience, working at district level with the Department of Education. He is also a mentor, coach and pastor.Details
SPINA NATHI AND EDUCATE A CHILD
Sparrow Schools Educational Trust will host its fifth annual Spinathon fundraising event in partnership with Virgin Active at Milpark Virgin Active, Johannesburg.
The Spinathon which takes place on 23 May 2015 will feature the crews from 5 FM, Isibaya, DJ Monotone, Lection and many more. There will be eight one hour sessions starting from 7 am to 3 pm where Sparrow Schools invites companies, celebrities and individuals to spin and donate a R100 to our Educate a Child program (EAC).
Many of our learners are from places of safety, child headed households or disadvantaged homes where parents cannot afford the special education their children need. The EAC program assists us provide education and support to children and youth experiencing life and learning difficulties.
Further Details / Contact
011 482 1015
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Work experience is one of the most crucial factors that can affirm a graduates’ competency and set them apart from the rest. The ability to place students on work experience whilst pursuing their training is part of the Sparrow FET College winning formula. The FET’s partnership with industry and relevant SETA’s has seen many of its students gain work experience and often finding permanent employment.
One such partnership has been with international flooring specialists, Peter Bates. The company has provided the FET College’s Installation of Floor Covering students with work experience for the past two years.
The company has trained over 20 students and employed one of the graduates, Luvuyo Nokwe. Nokwe’s initiative and passion was spotted by Carpet Consultant at Peter Bates, Mark Lourie. “He was a lot of trouble, constantly asking for work with a smile on his face”, Lourie laughs. He further adds, “It is rare that you come across such a passion, willingness in our youth.”
A lot of times people would rather stay in their comfort zone and stick to what they know. Nokwe’s inquisitive nature inspired him to expand his skills and explore different floorings. Luvuyo’s entrepreneurial demeanor prompted him to finding other ways of making money through marketing carpets. He would also sort boxes in the storeroom during his breaks to make extra cash.
It was through this tenacity that Nokwe was able to learn the art of negotiation with team leaders. Currently working under a Sub-contractor team, with just over a year at the company, he is working towards leading his own team.
He admits that when he got into the Installation of Floor Coverings program, all he cared about was receiving the monthly stipend. He soon thereafter came to understand that the experience would be crucial in the long run. “Young people need to show up and expose themselves,” Nokwe says. Nokwe now enjoys the perks of getting to travel and experiencing new and different places across the country. He puts emphasis on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and that it is the willingness to learn that sets one apart. “The money has its time and it comes once one has committed and sweated,” Nokwe explains.Details
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The South African Bill of Rights makes provision for children’s socio-economic rights. This includes the right to basic education and social services. However, according to Unicef’s early childhood statistical snapshot, over 200 million children under 5 years of age in low and middle-income countries – and increasing numbers in OECD countries and emerging economies – will face inequalities and fail to reach their full developmental potential. This is due to a number of risk factors including poverty which often can lead to heightened risks of substance abuse, crime and depression.
To avoid these risks and consequences in the later stages of a child’s life, early childhood development should be a key focus for every country. Early childhood spans the period up to 9 years of age which is critical for social, emotional and cognitive development. If a child is left to grow up without the proper care and education, this can lead to irreversible damage and hamper development. By investing in early childhood education, South Africa can yield long lasting benefits. Studies have shown that early childhood development play a crucial role in helping mitigate the impact of adverse early experiences.
Although South Africa still has a long way to go, it is not all doom and gloom. The Sparrow Foundation School realises the importance of early childhood development and has introduced a multifaceted remedial teaching centre. The centre will soon be extended to include a Maths Enrichment Centre and a Natural Science & Technology centre adding on to the existing Literacy Enrichment centre.
The three centres are designed to accommodate every learner’s individual style and maximise the learner’s full potential to learn and acquire a new skill. The multi-media Literacy Enrichment centre is designed to focus on the improvement of literacy levels among all learner’s enrolled in the Foundation School. The Maths Enrichment centre utilises blended teaching practices and instructional design, equipped with computer based teaching software. The aim is to improve numeracy levels among all the Foundation School learners. The multi-disciplinary and adaptable Natural Science & Technology Centre aims to expose the learner to various building blocks of the world around us and how they in our ever changing modern environment.
The remedial centre will play a crucial role in helping produce quality human capital adding value to South Africa’s economy. It also ensures that the minority of learners with ‘special needs’ are able to compete and match up to those learners with ‘ordinary needs’.Details
“When you encounter uncomfortable situations, you can either decide to be victim or an over-comer. Always choose to be an over-comer. Grace is within our reach to be an over-comer.” – Lailah Gifty Akita.
From the day we are born, life throws us with many curveballs as we try and navigate through life trying to find our feet. Hailing from the dusty streets of one of South Africa’s most notorious townships, Alexandra, Samuel Mazibuko decided he would not let his challenging circumstance hold him back and chose to be an over-comer.
The 20 year old Adaptive Curriculum Skills Program (ASP) learner joined Sparrow Schools Combined School in 2010 after dropping out of a mainstream school because of learning difficulties he was experiencing. The ASP is a programme introduced in 2014 through collaboration between Sparrow’s academic specialists, learner support services and special education practitioners.
The program aims to design a suitable environment for learners with learning difficulties. The focus is on transferring practical skills to learners who are cognitively impaired and struggle coping with the academic curriculum. The learners enrolled in the ASP have an opportunity to learn various skills ranging from baking, sowing and agriculture.
This program has helped Mazibuko escape a life of substance abuse which could have had detrimental consequences. “I come from a place where there is a lot of poverty and unemployment, this school (Sparrow) and the ASP has helped me change my life,” Mazibuko says. Mazibuko
Mazibuko has now turned his life around and has now been selected to be a Teacher’s Assistant at the Combined School’s bakery. “Sparrow has been hectic but also amazing. I have learnt a lot of skills which I never thought that I would,” Mazibuko explains.
Through his journey at Sparrow and the ASP, Mazibuko has now grown to become an ambitious young man. He aspires to one day own a bakery. He also would like to use the sowing skills he learned in the ASP and make his own clothes and transfer the skills he learned back into his community. Judging by his work ethic and focus, we at Sparrow have seen him realise his potential and we have no doubt that he will realise his ambitions.Details