SHAWCO Education provides professional intervention to 200 learners in Matric

January 2009 | Spring 2009

Amongst its many programs, SHAWCO (Students Health & Welfare Centres Organization) Education Sector has been providing extra lessons in Maths, Science, English and Biology to learners in Cape Town Township for the past five years.

There is tremendous pride in watching the SHAWCO branded vehicles drive up to upper campus every afternoon where students hurry from the classrooms to go and teach. They have learners from Grade 3 to 12 eagerly awaiting their arrival in the four Education Centres in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Kensington and Manenberg.

SHAWCO Education has evolved over time and now has committees that plan the day to day activities. About 80 student committee members and 800 student volunteers plan and implement the tutoring, sports, arts, life skills and educational trips that benefit approximately 1350 young people.

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SHAWCO has its constraints, the main one being striving to achieve long term goals with short term volunteers. Secondly, university students have restrictions on the amount of time they can spend in supporting the learners and thirdly, there exists a skills gap between volunteers’ knowledge of the subject and the professional teaching skills required to tutor learners in their final years of schooling.

Taking all of the above into consideration, in 2008 SHAWCO launched a “Saturday School” and undertook to employ teachers to teach an additional 200 learners in Maths, Science, English and Biology - with each learner receiving one hour of extra tutoring per subject, every Saturday. The initiative was made possible through donor support and was enthusiastically welcomed by learners and supported by the school principals. Through additional funds raised, SHAWCO is also proudly sponsoring four promising young people to study at tertiary institutions next year, three at UCT and one at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. As the CEO, Varkey George explained, “There is a tremendous feeling of joy at SHAWCO to see the fruits of our endeavours in the form of these four promising young people who would have otherwise found it difficult to afford to study at these institutions.”

The UCT Schools Development Unit have volunteered to assist SHAWCO in an advisory capacity, and the UCT Foundation in Canada and the UCT Trust in the UK are undertaking fundraising on SHAWCO’s behalf. Students at two UCT residences have pledged to play the part of big brothers and sisters to these youngsters.

SHAWCO has also decided to bus the 200 learners into UCT every Saturday from 2009. By doing this, they hope to expose the learners to the university campus, to be taught by professional teachers, to provide professional career guidance and exposure to lab work (many of the schools do not have equipment) and to provide each learner with a student mentor. Over and above all this, student volunteers are planning to provide ongoing academic support and mentorship to the SHAWCO bursary holders while they are at university so that they can navigate the rocky terrain of tertiary education with success.

If you would like to receive a copy of the full November 2008 Shawco Newsletter, or make a donation to the further success of SHAWCO through the UCT Foundation, please email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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