While it is absorbed in a struggle to overcome the legacy of decades of race-based discrimination and structural inequality, South Africa’s schooling system is failing young people. Poor maths and science teaching are particular points of concern in a 21st century economy. As a result, a significant portion of South African students leave school without the level of skills needed to get stable employment – in fact, most schooling available is inadequate and, can leave children trapped in a poverty cycle.
A number of organisations are seeking to overcome this challenge and fill the gap of academic inadequacy. The LEAP network, which has a branch in Langa in Cape Town, is one of the most prominent examples of such endeavours. The independent school, started in 2001, provides students with a high-school education programme specifically aimed at children who live in marginalised communities, focusing not just on math and science skills, but also on emotional intelligence, self-awareness and other life skills. The approach is one that seeks to self-liberate children and lead them on a “journey of learning through which they discover the capacity to take charge of their own lives”, as the LEAP website puts it.
According to LEAP, 95% of their students have passed matric (the school-end certificate), and 79% of LEAP students have degrees or diplomas or are continuing with higher education.
As Patricia Mudiayi, principal of LEAP Langa, explains, the Langa branch is seeking to introduce more technology in the classroom, as well as increase the school’s revenue streams and expand its footprint within the next two to three years. The school is keen to benefit from the input of a Brown IE team to reach these goals.