The Journey of the Learner Development Programme (LDP)
The LDP is two-fold, namely:
- Grade 12 programme and
- The Maths and Science programme (for grades 8 -11)
For both programmes, suitably qualified tutors are contracted by ASSET to run sessions on identified Saturdays for the duration of the program throughout the year.
All learners receive stationery; subject supporting learning materials and a full hot meal every Saturday that has been prepared in partnership with the host centre school.
There is a huge focus in mental preparedness mostly for grade 11 and 12 learners through career awareness – mentorship and role modelling sessions. Additional enhancement to learning is done via holiday camps, revision workshops, winter and spring schools.
Grade 12 programme
The Learner Development Programme (LDP) started as the Enrichment Programme, implemented on Saturdays, ASSET partners with the schools and identifies one of them as the ‘Operating Centre”. For program success, we therefore depend on the School Management to ensure processes are in place and classes can run safely and effectively.
Over the years, ASSET has on its efforts to transform communities through education, moved the programme to different townships of the City of Cape Town. For implementation, high calibre’ tutors are contracted by ASSET for program delivery; learners receive extra resources that have been specifically put together for tutoring sessions.
Between 2003 and 2013, the programme has empowered communities of and around Langa and Khayelitsha operating off St Francis Adult Centre and Joe Slovo High School respectively. This incorporated learners from over 30 high schools and a maximum of 800 learners could register each year per centre, totalling 1600 learners.
Initially, only Standard 10 (aka Grade 12) extra classes were offered.
Subjects on offer were: Accounting, Biology, Business Studies, Economics, English, Geography, History, Maths HG, Maths SG and Life Skills. The learners could attend any 4 subjects of choice on a Saturday.
In January 2014,The Enrichment Programme was transformed into the Learner Development Programme and in efforts to address the learner readiness gap that existed leading to grade 12, grade 11 was introduced and the focus was on Science and Commercial subjects.
This then increased total enrolment numbers to 2400 learners with about 56 tutors contracted. To rotate the resources, the LDP was then moved to a different centre base in Matthew Goniwe Memorial but still in Khayelitsha but continued in Langa due to the variety of schools it catered for.
Due to requests from school principals, a third centre was opened in Kraaifontein at Masibambane Snr Secondary School. Refocus on Maths, Science and Commerce became imperative as the country needed to address shortage of skill.
After a while, moving away from Khayelitsha Centre to Fish Hoek became eminent and so was it also time to move away from Langa after servicing that community for a very long time. Ploughing more in the new Kraaifontein Centre became the focus as there was huge need identified and the other areas had been served for quite a long time.
To be able to track success and make a focussed impact in these communities, it was decided that the Kraaifontein Centre should remain with only identified schools being served, namely; Bloekombos, Masibambane, Wallacedene, Hector Peterson and Sinenjongo High Schools were clustered. For the last seven years, the LDP has been operating in this platform.
The programme was revamped once again in 2019 and it re-introduced a strong Maths and Science focus with identified streams of subjects being offered but still this is spread over 7 subjects in total that have been packaged into proper aligning streams where the 450 learners can only attend three subjects that are fused in a particular stream.
The current subjects on offer are Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Physical Science, Life Science, Geography, Economics and Accounting.
The Maths and Science programme (MST)
For grades 8 -11
This programme commenced in 2014 (as a pilot) with a cohort of 400 grades 8 and 9 learners from Bloekombos and Masibambane High schools. Saturday sessions were conducted over the academic year in Maths and Science only and proved highly successful. Learner performance and enthusiasm in these two subjects increased to such an extent that the programme was extended to all our five high schools in 2016.
Each Saturday learners engage with 2 hours each of Maths and Natural Science / Physical Science. To encourage international compatibility, learners are exposed to activities like robotics, maths & science clubs, experiments, excursions and competitions while concentrating on a hands-on approach.
The purpose of this programme is to excite, ignite curiosity, revive out of the box thinking, and grow confidence in learners.
This professional development serves teachers from the primary schools that feed grade 8 learners onto the 5 high schools that ASSET works with. This has resulted in primary and high school teachers having the opportunity to engage with one another in mathematics and science.
The grade 7 teachers have been offered short courses accredited by SACE. These courses were based on teacher needs as well as problem areas identified in the baseline test for grade 8 learners. Teachers attended short courses in each subject held on weekdays and Saturdays provided through the partnership with the University of Cape Town’s School Development Unit (SDU).
Part of the assessment included classroom based support and observation where the facilitators visited teachers while in classes on a regular basis and provided constructive feedback to them.
ASSET has now extended this programme to grade 6 and 7 teachers whereby certain curriculum strands identified as ‘challenging to teach areas’ by the education districts are offered in Natural Sciences as workshops. Resources to support ‘exciting teaching’ in the classroom are given to the teachers to take with but only after adequate skill development and sharing of best practises has been done.