The Chairperson welcomed the delegates and said it saddened him to have to inform the delegation that the meeting would conclude earlier than scheduled due to the staff and in particular the meeting coordinators being released early because of the bus strike. The Western Cape Education Department and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport briefed the Committee on the After-School Game Changer.
Ms Jacqui Boulle, Project Manager of the After-School Game Changer, briefed the Committee on the background to the After-School Game Changer and the rationale behind it. She informed the Committee of some of the achievements of the After-School Game Changer and some of the challenges. While the After-School Game Changer has taken off well in primary schools, high schools learners are less responsive to the initiatives. She noted that the After-School programmes can play a pivotal role in bridging the opportunity gaps between learners from resourced schools and learners from poorer schools, hence the initiative by the Western Cape Government.
The After-School Game Changer was targeting 112 000 learners, which is 20% of learners in no fee and low fee schools. To achieve its target the After-School Programmes are being provided by the Department of Social Development, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, the City of Cape Town and a host of Non-Government Organisations.
To achieve its implementation targets the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has been working on creating an enabling environment, establishing working partnerships, building capacity and working with the Data.
The Chairperson said he was happy with the work done by the Department and expressed how critical their mandate is.
Committee Members asked questions around the struggle to implement the Programme in high schools, the issue of transportation for learners in rural areas and on mobilising parents, teachers, and school management to support the Programme.
The Chairperson welcomed the delegates from the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED). He said that the meeting would conclude earlier than scheduled due to the meeting Coordinators and staff being released at 3pm because of the Bus strike. The delegates from the WCED included Mr Redewan Larney, CES: Districts; Ms Bridget Hannah, Project Coordinator for the After-School Game Changer, and Ms Jacqui Boulle, Programme Manager of the After-School Game Changer, represented DCAS.
Ms Jacqui Boulle presented to the Committee.
After School strategy as informed by WCG research on youth
Ms Boulle said in 2013 the Department of the Premier wrote the “Youth Strategy of the Western Cape”. The Department identified that by the age of 25 the youth in the Western Cape should be inspired, educated, responsible, independent, healthy and productive citizens. Five pillars were identified for getting there: family issues, education, economic opportunities, identity and belonging, and reconnections.
The After-School Game Changer picks up on the research done together with the Poverty and Inequality Institute and with OpenUp, and it was found that in the Western Cape education was a key determinant of multi-dimensional poverty. It accounts for just about half of the Poverty Index for young people. Upon further research it was found that young people trust teachers and parents before they trust the Government and friends. They use local newspapers as a trusted source of information. Learners felt that schools were as safe or safer than their communities. There were higher levels of hope in rural areas and African communities than in Coloured communities. Communicating information plays a very important role in how people make their decisions about what they do.
What We Know: Learners and ASP
Ms Boulle said many students know whether an After-School Programme (ASP) exists at their school or not. In rural areas transport is a huge barrier. There is good traction in primary schools across the board. They struggle more in high schools as learners are more discerning. High school learners are more likely to participate in an After-School Programme if they feel it would add value to their lives and they can see the benefit of it. While most schools, 97% of schools in the surveys done, do offer after school programming, many of those are not consistent and regular.
Lack of economic access other key contributor to poverty
Ms Boulle noted that the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) found that 56% of graduates get their first job through a personal contact and socio-economic networks are among the most important things for entry into the job market. Participation in extra-mural activities builds personal relations and socio-economic networks. Top schools have extra-curricular activities as compulsory as part of their syllabus.
Ms Boulle said when the Western Cape Government (WCG) was looking into where to put its resources, After School was identified as a priority. It closes the opportunity gap between learners in under-resourced schools and learners in resourced schools. It builds passion and resilience because some learners attend schools on the motivation of other factors besides academics. It encourages learners to dream and instils hope in learners for a better life. It creates opportunities for learners to work in smaller groups, particularly where there are large numbers of learners in a class. It improves school retention and learner outcomes by instilling a desire in learners to come to school more often.
After School Game Changer: Theory of Change (TOC)
The Theory of Change behind the Programme is saying that if they can create an enabling environment by looking at things like safety, knowledge of the programme, school buy in, and if they can deliver a quality programme, and capacity, then learners will come regularly and consistently and it will have a positive outcome.
After School Game Changer targets
Ms Boulle said their target is to reach 112 000 learners, which is 20% of learners in no fee and low fee schools. They want those learners to come two days a week, every week of the year which is about 70% of their available time. They want learners to have access to academic, sports and recreation, arts and culture, and life skills programmes because every learner is different. In order to get that 20%, they need 60% of learners participating in the programme because about one third of learners who participate in the programme do so regularly and consistently. In order to do that in the 1047 no and low fee schools, that is schools whose fees are less than R 100 per month, they need to get all those schools to offer this programme. They have a transversal mandate to look across all departments in order to make the programme work.
Who provides After School Programmes
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) offers the Mass participation, Opportunity and access, Development and Growth (MOD) programme that works in 181 schools of the 1047 they need to reach. Neighbourhood school works in 7 seven clusters. The year-beyond programme works in 23 schools. The grade 4 programme is being implemented in 16 schools and the maths eLearning programme in 27 schools.
The Department of Education offers Peer Education which is funded through a National conditional grant. There are also independent programmes driven by schools themselves.
In the Department of Social Development (DSD) there is something called Partial After Care, that is in terms of the Children’s Act, mainly in rural areas and farming communities where children are living in extreme poverty, the government provides a subsidy of R8 a day to keep children safe after school. The DSD also has Youth Cafés which focuses on engaging young people.
They also have partnerships with local government, at the moment the City of Cape Town is the only active partnership. There is the Atlantis Cluster and the GUNYA cluster where the City is mobilising its sports and Recreational hubs and its libraries to offer After School programmes.
Mapping the After-School Sector: Educollaborate Portal
There is also a host of NGOs that offer programmes. Well over 300 or 400 NGOs are working in the space and about 200 of those have been mapped as to what they have been doing and where they have been doing it. Some NGOs are being funded by the DSD and the DCAS. However, most NGOs are funded by private donors.
Creating an Enabling Environment
Ms Boulle said that after mapping the activities of NGOs and monitoring the work across areas the task is to ensure every learner has access to quality After School Programmes. The first task is to create an enabling environment. They host NGO Community of Practice where any NGOs who are registered on Educollaborate site get notices once a quarter to attend a learning event where they can learn from other NGOs and sometimes from government as to who is doing what and what the challenges are. They have communication materials that are available to schools. They have various awards available for actors who contribute to after school programmes. There are also principal forums which bring together principals to share experience and motivations for teachers.
They also have a range of partnerships. The year beyond programme is an academic support programme that targets foundation phase, grades 1 to 4, and entry level in high schools, grades 8 to 10. This is aimed at determining if supporting learners during these transitional phases will ensure better results for learners. The grade 4 programme attempts to determine if it is too late to make the investment in grade 4. The maths eLearning Programme tries to establish proving learners with more regular practice can increase their results from 50% to 80% or even 90%. The Neighbourhood Schools Programme offers sports and arts and cultural activities for primary and high schools in 181 schools and seven clusters. The Nyanga Junction partnership with Amandla Edufootball clusters NGOs together. There is also the City of Cape Town Clusters and the Partial After Care. The WCED has funding from the Jobs Fund to place a lot of young people in schools and a third of those people are placed in activities related to After School Programmes.
The entity is also very focused on building capacity. The most exciting thing that they are doing is the NQF level 6 extended educational practitioners training programme, which is a partnership with Stellenbosch University. What really is exciting about this is that it is professionally recognising people who are not teachers and are working in the education space and saying that this is a legitimate career option. The middle management training is to ensure that they can manage practitioners on the ground effectively. There has been a focus on building capacity in art programmes. They are looking at a tertiary level qualification in the extended education space. The innovation fund with Community Chest provides small grants for people working in the sectors to find new and interesting things to do which they otherwise would not be able to get funding to do.
Data to Improve quality and Impact
In terms of quality programming they collect attendance data. They can track individual learners and see if participation in extra-curricular activities impacts on their academics. They can also see if participation in more than one programme has a greater effect than participation in one activity only. There have been a number of school surveys and assessments done.
Input by the WCED
Mr Redewan Larney said the key area of focus is that the After School Programme gets institutionalised within the school environment. He stressed the need to ensure that school management and teachers are on board with the Programme. They also need to ensure that they track learners, and to make sure that learners are retained within the system, to encourage the learners within the classroom to make themselves available. School structures are also very important to the programme. They need to look into how they can make extra-curricular activities part of the performance of teachers. There is also a need to focus on the transportation of learners in rural areas to after school programmes. There is a need to mobilise parents to encourage learners to participate in the programme. He pointed out the need to focus on admin support for no fee and low fee schools.
The Chairperson expressed his admiration for the work done by the Department and thanked the Delegates.
Ms L Botha (ANC) asked if the programmes are compulsory, and how they get the teachers to commit if the programme is not compulsory.
Ms Boulle said the programme is not compulsory. They cannot determine what every teacher does at every school.
Ms Botha asked if it is perhaps used as a detention tool in some schools if learners do not want to participate.
Ms Boulle said if it is used as a detention tool it would not count as an After-School activity it would count as a detention class. There are some remedial programmes that learners are forced to go through if they are struggling in class.
Ms Botha wanted to know about the interdepartmental challenges.
She also asked about the year-beyond programme and the rural areas.
Ms Boulle replied that the year-beyond programme is only in urban areas. However, the grade 4 programme has a very big footprint in the Cape Winelands and the eLearning programme has quite a big footprint in the West Coast and the Cape Winelands, and a smaller footprint in the Overberg area.
Ms Botha asked for clarification on the NQF qualification for practitioners that was spoken about, and about the registration body.
Ms Boulle replied that they will get a qualification from Stellenbosch University.
Ms Botha asked how they benchmarked this programme against other programmes in the province if there are any.
Ms Boulle said in terms of the benchmarking question they are leading the way. They have been speaking to other provinces and there has been a lot of interest in what they are doing
Mr T Olivier (ANC) asked for clarity on the transport barrier issue in rural areas.
He also asked how the programme deals with a lack of willingness from high school learners.
Ms Boulle said it is a challenge to get high school learners involved. However, they are trying a lot of different things, for example this year they built two skateboard parks in schools in Atlantis. They are working with other organisations to see what would be attractive for high school students. So perhaps if learners do not want to do sport they can do coding through coding clubs. She thought it is really about taking the time to consult with learners to find out what they are interested in and responding to their needs rather than assuming what they want. This year they are running focusing groups at various schools to find out what their needs are.
Mr Olivier said he would like a list, of the NGOs involved in future.
He also asked what the cost per learner entails and for clarity on the drop from 2014 to 2017.
Mr Larney said the two types of transport are transport managed at provincial level, the learner transport scheme, and transport schemes which are managed by school governing bodies. In both cases it is about recognising that the After-School Programme has to become part of the school programme. It is about working with school governing bodies to look beyond the period when school starts to when school ends.
Ms Boulle said the two biggest drivers in cost reduction are partnerships and the ratio of coaches to practitioners has been pushed up.
Mr Olivier referred to the 538 recorded sites and asked how they could reach the 1500 schools.
Ms Boulle responded that it is through building a movement and convincing everyone that the programme is important through partnerships. Of the 1500 schools about a 1000 have got programmes and it is the other 500 schools that have to get to through partnerships.
Mr L Max (DA) asked if poor and rural school learners have internet access for the grade 4 Maths eLearning programme.
Ms Boulle said in terms of internet connectivity they only offer such programmes at school which have already been connected through the Broadband connection. So, while they might not have internet access at home they will have internet access at school.
Mr Christians (ACDP) said he previously asked about getting teachers involved in the programme and was told that there were issues with the Union. He asked if these issues have been addressed.
Mr Larney said the issue around teacher commitment and the Unions is a challenge. Many times, they have to deal with teachers who have to sit with overcrowded classes and a fully loaded CAPS curriculum. Part of their strategy is to provide teachers with additional admin support at no fee and low fee schools. Another strategy is to consult with school management on the structures they can implement to assist them.
Mr B Kivedo (DA) asked what amount has been allocated for this programme for the 2018/2019 financial year.
Ms Boulle said the budget is split into many different parts. There is a MOD school budget, a neighbourhood school budget, a year-beyond budget, an After-School Game Changer budget, a DSD budget, a DOCS budget for some of the safety interventions, and a WCED budget. Some of these budgets are earmarked and some are not. If we put everything into the pot the amount is about R215 million but that would include building halls and equipment which are, strictly speaking, not for the After-School Programme but it is an investment and they benefit from it. If you remove those things which benefit the in-school day the budget sits at about R160 million due to fiscal constraints.
Mr Kivedo asked what measures are being used to mobilise parents into supporting the After-School Programmes.
Mr Larney said that they are working on mobilising parents, teachers and school management to make After School Programmes compulsory.
Mr Kivedo thanked the delegation for the work they are doing.
The meeting was Adjourned.
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