The School Support Unit plans and manages a range of programmes and projects to support schools throughout Gauteng to enhance learner performance, mainly but not exclusively in mathematics, science and various critical subjects. The Unit is responsible for Sci‑Bono’s Outreach Programme to schools, various supplementary tuition projects, and for managing the GDE’s flagship intervention, the Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP).
A flagship project of the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), SSIP is the largest of the programmes managed by Sci-Bono. The programme provides supplementary tuition for Grade 8 – 12 learners in 439 Gauteng high schools that have been prioritised as needing additional tuition.
Facilitated over weekends and holidays, the Grade 12 tuition sessions cover the following 10 subjects that have most contributed to the poor results in the priority schools: Mathematics, Maths Literacy, History, Life Sciences, Business Studies, Economics, Accounting, Physical Science, English First Additional Language and Geography. Residential and walk-in examination revision camps will be facilitated for Grade 12’s in October 2012. The SSIP programme has been seen as largely responsible for the improvements in the 2010 and 2011 Gauteng Grade 12 results.
Grade 10 and 11 learners will receive exam preparation support in Mathematics, Accounting and Physical Science during the October holidays. Supplementary tuition programmes in Mathematics, Economic Management Sciences and Natural Sciences were provided for Grade 8 and 9 learners during the April Holidays.
SSIP was awarded the 2014 United Nations Public Service Award.
Secondary School Improvement Programme (SSIP)
Abaholi Saturday School
This programme is funded by the Sasol Inzalo Foundation and works with a group of 170 carefully selected, high-potential high school learners from disadvantaged communities in and around the Johannesburg city. The programme aims to prepare the participating learners for success in higher education and in the technical world of work. All 2014 Abaholi Grade 12 learners passed with excellent grades, with a total of 73 distinctions spread over the four examinable subjects offered (i.e. Mathematics, Physical Science, English and Personal Development/Life Orientation). The top learner achieved eight distinctions.
Emasondosondo Mobile Science Project
‘Emasondosondo’ is the isiZulu word for wheels. This is the name of a leaner support programme which is composed of a team of specially trained mathematics and physical sciences teachers. The team reaches out to at least 25 secondary schools throughout the province per year to provide tuition which is blended with practical science activities to Grades 10, 11 & 12 learners who do Mathematics and Physical Science among other subjects.
The programme is sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the Department of Science and Technology, iThemba LABS, Dell and the Gauteng Department of Education. The programme learner attendance reached 34 958 during 2014/15. Over the past six years since inception there has been a remarkable improvement of learner performance on the two subjects offered at the project schools.
Primary Mathematics, Science and Technology Project
This is the primary version of the Emasondosondo learner support programme. It targets at least 25 under-resourced primary schools in all the Gauteng Department of Education districts. By end of 2014/15 the programme had reached a total learner attendance of 47 002.
Blended Learning Programme
The programme is run on the premises of the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and offers free afternoon walk-in tuition to Grade 12 learners on Physical Science, Life Sciences, Accounting and Mathematics. Most of the beneficiaries are from the inner city, but an increasing number of learners travel from townships such as Soweto, Alexandra, Randfontein, Eastrand, etc. to attend the sessions.
The programme caters for an average of up to 150 learners per day between Monday and Friday, and has realized 11 293 learner contacts in the 2014/15 financial year. Towards the end of the financial year, a partnership was established between Du Pont and the
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre to take the programme further.
RB Hagart Trust Project
The Trust has funded an intervention to support Mathematics, Natural Science and English education for a group of 80 Grade 8 and 9 learners in Ennerdale, South of Johannesburg. With these grades having been identified as those showing the worst level of achievement in the entire school system through the National Annual Assessment (ANA), it is planned that the project will be used to develop a model for replication in other areas. The project is one of the first to focus solely on the Senior Phase as a feeder to the Further Education and Training (FET) Phase.
Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) Learner Support Programme
Funded by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa, the programme provides afternoon walk-in tuition in Mathematics, Physical Science, Accounting and Life Sciences. The programme targets Grade 12 learners in the Tshwane West and Tshwane South districts.
Road Safety Programme
Once again, as a partnership between 3M South Africa, the Gauteng Department of Education, the Department of Community Safety, Johannesburg Metro and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre a Road Safety programme was designed. The programme was launched and implemented for primary schools in 2014/5. The programme included an interactive component, a demonstration performed by
Sci-Bono communicators and Emasondosondo tutors; as well as provision of classroom resources for teachers and learners. The programme visited 22 primary schools throughout the Gauteng Province.
Lodirile Learner Support Programme
The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) through Sci-Bono Discovery Centre has in partnership with SASRIA rolled out a learner support programme at Lodirile secondary school. The programme targeted all the grade 12 learners at the school. The subjects offered included Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Sciences, Economics, Accounting and Geography.