The South African matric results may have improved by 3.1% but the truth of the matter is that it’s all relative.
An impressive matric pass rate of 81.3% was announced for the year of 2019. But this statistic was quickly put into grave perspective when it was pointed out that the true pass rate was a very low 38.9%.
The argument is that of the 1 052 080 learners who entered Grade 10 in 2017, only 409 906 managed to pass their matric finals. Many of these students had dropped out even before writing their exams.
Only 24% of the National Senior Certificate candidates received university exemption.
So basically of the total number of learners who began the FET Band in 2017, only 18% were able to even consider obtaining a university entrance.
It’s time to provide academic support to our youth.
Identifying a Learner That Needs Supplemental Instruction
Once learners have reached senior high school and have not yet needed supplementary academic support, if their academic performance begins to wane it’s usually due to boredom.
This of course can be remedied with subtle adjustments to subject choice and by providing stimulating enrichment activities to the standard syllabus.
But for other learners the challenges can begin much earlier on and if left unattended, they may lead to failure or dropping out.
The good news is that it’s never too late to begin implementing mentoring and tutoring programs for a learner who is battling.
With a wide variety of tutoring services available to choose from your child can receive individualised instruction and dramatically improve their academic performance.
These are some examples of scenarios that can arise if learners aren’t given the correct academic assistance:
- Thinus is in Grade 8 and he is finding the pace of high school challenging. In Grade 7 he was barely able to keep his work up to date but now it’s getting out of control and he finds it difficult to concentrate on his homework because he and his parents are sharing a house with his extended family due to economic challenges. Thinus drops out in the beginning of Grade 10.
- Moloko’s parents have just decided to separate and she is feeling very emotional. As the school year progresses Moloko’s mental health and social life begins to spiral and she cannot cope with the stress of exams. Moloko also drops out having only completed Grade 10.
- Dlamini is highly intelligent and if he were tested they would discover that his IQ is that of a genius. But because his coursework isn’t stimulating enough he gets up to mischief and his parents think he is just a “problem child”. Dlamini’s parents decide to do his matric year at a tutoring centre where the professional tutors pick up on his “giftedness” and provide him with plenty of enrichment much to his parent’s surprise.
- Due to health issues Jonathan has missed so many school days that he is finding it impossible to catch up. The adjustment from primary school to high school is just adding to the pressure and he doesn’t enjoy his learning environment at all. Jonathan’s mother decides to take him out of school and set up a home tutoring program for him instead.
But When Is It a Good Idea to Allow Kids to Stay Away From School?
Here are a few rules and guidelines according to the South African Department of Education:
- Learners may be homeschooled from Grade R to Grade 12. It is best to register your child with the department of education if you choose to home school.
- Children in South Africa have the right to a basic education from the ages of six to fifteen (Grade 1 to the end of Grade 9).
- Learners may leave school once Grade 9 has been completed.
Struggling to keep up with the syllabus is usually the chief cause for deterioration in academic achievement but it doesn’t mean a child is doomed to fail if they fall behind. There are many options outside of the basic education system out there to help youngsters that are battling with their academics.
In short, a struggling learner is not a failing learner and just a bit of extra tutoring or any number of learning resources designed to assist learners who are struggling can go a long way.
Sometimes parents may decide that homeschooling is the best solution because:
- They feel they will provide an improved standard of education.
- Learners may have social difficulties in the school they are currently enrolled in.
- Parents may have concerns about the content of the national curriculum.
- Unhappy with the teaching methods used in school.
What Has the Education System Done to Support Learners?
Essentially it is the school’s responsibility to see to it that all learners achieve some kind of academic success. Educators should be aware of their students’ academic struggles and intercept by making an appointment with parents to discuss issues and by suggesting solutions such as after-school tutoring.
Learners that fall behind end up costing the country more money and the more learners who leave high school without decent credentials the more strain it will put on society and the economy as a whole.
RSA Policy on Academic Support
In South Africa there are many factors that influence Early School Leaving (ESL):
- Teenage pregnancy
- Poverty within the household vs. cost of schooling (transport, stationery etc.)
- Failing a grade or falling behind.
- Lack of interest in schooling.
- Lack of up to date services in learning facilities such as internet.
Of course the aim is to get the ESL numbers to drop in an effort to fight the growing youth unemployment rate which is currently at 55.97%.
Unfortunately supplementary academic support services such as tutoring and mentoring is a solution that often falls by the wayside.
What Is the DBE Doing?
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) is planning new measures in order to alleviate the number of learners who leave school without a basic education certification.
They plan to offer a wider range of subjects that are more applicable for the modern world we are living in. They also aim to enrol all South African children in a two year Early Childhood Development Programme prior to entering Grade one. The hope is that this early intervention will give all children an equal opportunity to excel from day one.
The implementation of a General Education Training (GET) certificate at the end of Grade nine will also allow learners to pursue work or further education at TVET colleges.
Access to the internet and free data is another one of the big pushes that the department hopes to have in place in all schools by 2025.
The South African government invests a considerable amount of the annual budget on education with a whopping R396 billion having been allocated for the 2020 school year. In fact, it’s reported that within provincial government expenditure, education takes “the lion’s share” and yet we still have such a high rate of youth who leave school with nothing to show for it.
And the employment rate continues to rise ...
Using Academic Support to Turn Things Around
The purpose of academic support is to provide assistance to learners who need help with their studies. And sometimes it can even mean helping advanced students get passionate about learning again by merely providing enrichment in order to make their coursework more engaging.
A little supplementary learning can lead to all kinds of student success. Learners may simply need a homework tutor to help them get through their assignments, study skills and test preparation or they may need professional tutoring for specific skills such as:
- Algebra (Math tutoring)
- Writing skills (English tutoring)
- Comprehension (Reading tutor)
- History, Geography (social sciences)
- Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Physiology (science tutoring)
- Second languages such as Afrikaans, Sotho, Xhosa, French etc.
How Do I Find Someone to Tutor Me?
A common question is: “Is it even possible to locate private tutorials near me?” and the answer is a definite “Yes!”
Even if there is no tutoring centre in your home town or your school isn’t providing tutoring for the subjects you need assistance with, there is a whole world of tutors out there thanks to online tutoring.
Some of the best tutors are online tutors!
However, if you are hoping to locate a personal tutor of if you are more comfortable with the idea one-on-one home tutoring then you could simply type “private tutors near me” in your browser and you may be pleasantly surprised at how easy it actually is to find a tutor.
And of course there is always Superprof, a reliable and safe platform where you can access personal tutors from all walks of life. You can also compare the fees of tutors registered on the website.
Using Alternative Academic Resources to Get Youngsters Excited About School Again
Our young people are finding schooling a bore and as much as the DBE puts measures in place to try to prevent kids from “bunking” the truth is they need more motivation to learn.
It’s a vicious cycle, the more kids are absent the more they fall behind which leads to further de-motivation and more reason to skip classes.
We can’t always blame poor academic skills on a school teacher, but unfortunately this is often the case. When kids don’t find the subject-matter engaging enough or if they don’t see eye to eye with their educators it can just add fuel to the fire of already dwindling academics.
Schedule an appointment with your child’s school teacher and see if you can work together to fix the problem. Perhaps there is a school tutoring program that you don’t know about or maybe the teacher can give you a clearer perspective of your child’s demeanour at school.
With a little academic support such as one-on-one tutoring or even peer tutoring your child may really blossom. Sometimes it’s also nice to join study groups and connect with other kids that are going through the same struggles academically.
More often than not we tend not to be enthusiastic about things that we find difficult so if your child says they hate math it may just be because they’re struggling with one aspect of the subject such as geometry or trigonometry. Hire a maths tutor and they may end up loving it!