“As SUNCEP (the Centre for Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University), we were honoured to conduct the third contact session (holiday school) of our national University Preparation programme (UPP)”, says Dr Trevor van Louw, Director of SUNCEP. A total of 560 learners attended these sessions at nine provincial centres. The primary aim of the programme is to equip a select group of Grade 11 and 12 learners with the necessary skills, both foundational and academic, to not only access higher education but to also succeed at furthering their education. The programme focuses on Mathematics and Physical Science but learners are also offered psycho-social support to prepare them for the challenges that come with Mathematics and Science-based University Programmes and careers.
It is envisaged that learners will benefit in the following ways through their participation;
- opportunities to engage in challenging academic work, aimed at problem solving
- psycho-social development;
- university preparation, mentorship and guidance;
- formulating their STEMI career directions;
- processing of applications to tertiary institutions under the guidance of informed advisors;
- assisting learners in gaining access to funding.
Learners attending the national UPP programme attended both face-2-face and streamed sessions. Photo's: Learner WhatsApps
Our October camps took place from 1-9 October at the nine provincial centres based in Genadendal, East London, Newcastle, Kroonstad, Kimberley, Johannesburg, Polokwane, Machadodorp and Potchefstroom and is managed by a team of over 80 dedicated staff members.
SUNCEP also hosted nearly 500 learners in Springbok, Worcester, Atlantis, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek in other supplementary tuition programmes. These sessions were offered from 2 to 5 October to mostly Grade 10-12 learners.
The tutors were recruited from lead teachers or subject advisors from respective Provincial Education Departments. The focus of these interventions was to give learners the opportunity to improve their results in Mathematics, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences with the aim of qualifying for higher education after completing school. SUNCEP also strives to enthuse more learners to choose science-related careers.
In Worcester, 49 Grade 11 and 12 learners attended sessions at Breërivier High School. This initiative has been funded by the PA and Alise Malan Gedenktrust since 2013. According to Dr van Louw, the first group of learners who benefited from this intervention was then in Grade 7. “Support was given to them every year during school holidays. Now they are in Grade 12. We hope that we will see a large number of these learners registering for Science based degrees, preferably at Stellenbosch University in 2018".
Also in Worcester, at Botha's Halte farm school just outside town, Grade 5-7 learners from five other farm schools attended sessions to enhance their reading and numeracy skills (LitNumHub). All the participating schools were issued with laptops and internet connectivity and tuition sessions were live streamed to all the schools concurrently. This initiative is being funded by the Bosjes Trust.
Ms Emily Solomon tutoring LitNumHub learners in Worcester. Photographer: Anneke Müller.
In Stellenbosch, at Lückhoff High School, the holiday sessions was hosted in collaboration with the Social Impact Division of the University with the specific aim to assist more learners from in and around this university town to qualify for access to higher education. Apart from doing Mathematics and Physical Sciences, the learners was introduced to skills to enhance their research skills; something that is included in the Curriculum statement for learners from Grade 4 to Grade 12.
SUNCEP is considering the establishment of a research hub for learners where they will be mentored by post-graduate students from Stellenbosch University on a regular basis. The research hub will mainly focus on supporting learners from under-resourced schools in disadvantaged communities and it is a response to the realisation that many more learners should have the opportunity to participate in science competitions.
The Franschhoek learners met at Groendal Secondary School.
The Atlantis learners, whose supplementary tuition programme is funded by the Atlantis Industrial Initiative, attended their week-long session at Atlantis Secondary School while Transhex Operations (Pty) Ltd and West Coast Resources jointly sponsored the session for the learners in Springbok.
The only SUNCEP group that did not attend class during the school holiday, were the SciMathUS students. SciMathUS is a yearlong university preparation programme that affords students from educationally disadvantaged circumstances, who did not qualify for higher education, a second opportunity to rewrite specific subjects to then gain access to higher education. Applications to SciMathUS for 2018 will be opened in November 2017.
Please visit SUNCEP's web site for more information: www.suncep.sun.ac.za or phone the office at 0218083032/3483.