Stellenbosch University
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Innovative Extended Education Practitioners Programme launched
Author: Frieda le Roux
Published: 11/12/2017

​Stellenbosch University, in partnership with Western Cape Government After School Game Changer, Community Chest and Rutgers University (USA), have just launched a special programme for practitioners who support learners in the after school space around the pillars of sport, arts, academic enrichment, reading and life skills. 

The Extended Education Practitioners Programme aims to recognise, celebrate and upskill the unsung heroes, the practitioners, who do this work.  It will equip them to design and execute quality programmes to close this opportunity gap and create a better experience for learners.

Together with its partners, the SU hosted the first 57 delegates who will participate in this 18-month certificate course on 20 November. The course content will focus on the development of skills such as dealing with complexity, problem solving, decision making, whole child development, working with difference, communication, project management and administration.

“The value lies in how it will help to further professionalise and capacitate those who play a vital role in the after school and extended education space,” comments Chrischar Rock, Programme Manager for the Extended Education Practitioner Training Programme, which is located within SUNCEP, the Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy, a division within the SU’s Faculty of Education.

“By developing and accrediting the programme, the SU shows that it is serious about implementing our Social Impact Strategy Plan because through education we are impacting different communities,” says Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director for Social Impact and Transformation. “By doing it in partnership, unlocks countless other possibilities.”

Learners from disadvantaged backgrounds have a 6 000 hour educational gap by the time they reach high school. This gap comprises the missed reading in the home, Early Childhood Development (ECD), family holidays, visits to museums, parks and galleries and missed extra-murals. Extended Education Practitioners help close this gap by exposing learners sport, arts, academic enrichment, reading and life skills after formal school hours. 

The Western Cape Government’s Chief Director for their After School Game Changer programme, Jacqui Boulle, says they are delighted to be partnering with Stellenbosch and Rutgers Universities to launch the Extended Education Practitioners Programme. “This pioneering provides people working in the sector access to develop themselves and at the same time improve the support they provide to learners. It is the first step in a bigger programme to professionalise and build the sector.”

The programme includes five residential blocks of four to five days each, as well as study and assignments in participants’ own time. It will be housed within SUNCEP, the University’s is the Centre for Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education. 

While the after school activities fill learners’ afternoons with positive and enriching activities, the underlying goals include the improvement of attitude to learning, better school results and reduction in risk-taking behaviour.

The Western Cape Government and its partners have set a target of 112 000 learners, or 20% of the learners in the 1 000 no or very low fee schools, participating regularly and consistently in quality programmes by 2019