Stellenbosch University's Faculty of Education's Professor Jonathan Jansen in collaboration with School Turnaround Foundation invited fifty (50) grade 10 learners from Zwelethemba High School (Worcester). The School Turnaround Foundation has developed a turnaround methodology to address various challenges in schools in ensuring excellence and improving learner outcomes.
Acting Dean, Prof Malan welcomed learners and set the tone for the day i.e. the learners were encouraged to learn and experience the life of being at the university.
Professor Jonathan Jansen motivated the learners with a powerful story of a student Sinexolo from the Eastern Cape who had passed matric and did not have aspirations to pursue further education due to unavailability of funds to study further. Sinexolo received relevant guidance and mentoring from Professor Jansen and also got financial assistance, he was able to pursue his studies further and is now a Masters student in teaching History lessons. The story of Sinexolo inspired learners not to look at their current backgrounds but to aspire for a brighter future.
As part the university experience, the learners got a chance to tour campus and while on the tour engaged with Mkhululi Nompumza who is Recruitment Officer for the Faculty of Education and also a current Stellenbosch University postgraduate student for motivation and mentorship to aspiring for a brighter future.
Centre for Student Recruitment and Career Advise presented to the learners about the university offerings, but centering the presentation on having dreams for the future. The presentation was held at the Pulp Cinema with the aim to provide students a different background and experience of being at the university. All learners had a chance to write down their dreams and also share with the group. Learners liked the 'Dream Session' citing that it allowed them to move from their comfort zone and dream for their future, also realizing they need to work hard in their academics to achieve their respective dreams. As the learners were sharing their dreams it was noted almost all of them were at a university for the first time and they could not wait to finish high school and follow their dreams with a hope to change their family backgrounds.
All 50 learners are currently studying Mathematics as a high school subject; so the Education Faculty arranged for the learners to attend a Mathematics lecture, again to give them a feel of being at the university and also to interact with current university students. The lecture was conducted by Prof Du Toit. After the Mathematics lecture the students visited AgriSciences Grape and Wine Sciences where they were taught how to make wine.
This again was to inspire learners to think about many opportunities that they can explore when they come to university and also to expose them to careers they did not know about.
Some of the feedback received from learners about the whole experience were:
“I enjoyed the mathematics lecture, because mathematics is my favourite subject"
“Professor Jansen reminded me that for me to reach my goals I must never let other people bring me down"
“I liked the dream session, it made me realise we all have dreams as young people and we all wish for our dreams to come true".
In a wrap up session, learners were hosted to residence lunch at Metanoia residence and a tour around the residence.
Learners left campus with a dream to launch into the “World of Hope" as the name of their location (Zwelethemba) is literally translated.