Interventions range from hands-on support for vulnerable students to the use of technology to reach students far from the cities.
Last year 40 orphaned youth from Waterval Boven and surrounding communities in Mpumalanga were provided with academic and psycho-social support. Mentors looked after their academic progress, while surrogate parents – father and mother figures – were there when needed. The children were sent to one camp promoting healthy life skills and another devoted to academic enrichment. The result: a 100% pass rate.
At the same time, family support workshops were facilitated to help orphaned youth in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.
Students in tertiary institutions faced serious challenges, especially in light of the Fees Must Fall campaign which affected many of them. Thirteen orphaned students were placed in tertiary institutions and helped to settle down in their new surroundings. They were also sent to a leadership camp. The education managers at the Transnet Foundation stayed in touch throughout the year. As a result, the 13 students managed to sit for exams at the end of the year.
For those Eastern Cape students living far from schools, the Transnet Foundation has invested in virtual classrooms, called telematic centres, where grade 12 learners can receive their lessons online. In association with the Eastern Cape Education Development Trust, the foundation is working towards the establishment of 254 telematic centres.
Monitoring and evaluating Education Development Trusts, the foundation is also involved in an ICT programme in Gauteng, district improvement in KwaZulu-Natal, infrastructure projects in Limpopo and a science centre in Mpumalanga.
Teacher development is a crucial part of the foundation’s education portfolio. From the early 2000s, the foundation has worked with the Independent Schools Association of South Africa in a Teacher Development Programme. The focus initially was on grade 10 to 12 teachers already in service, assisting them in their own environment, as well as student teachers who were placed in top performing schools.
An audit of teachers’ needs informed the Teacher Development Programme. Organisations focusing on maths, science and technology were brought in. Transnet also worked closely with Further Education and Training colleges in view of the country’s – and Transnet’s - need for artisans and technicians.
The partnership with ISASA continues, as does the placement of top student teachers and mentoring throughout their internship. As a proponent of integrated whole school development, the foundation has developed a programme to be Implemented in a number of schools.
In some schools, the foundation has donated books to brick-and-mortar libraries. In KwaMthethwa in KwaZulu-Natal, they have gone a step further by acquiring mobile libraries to service five high schools.