In South Africa today, the education statistics are a clear call to action:
- Only half of each Grade 1 cohort will eventually complete twelve years of primary and secondary school.
- Girls from South Africa’s marginalised communities have a 4% chance of getting into university, and only a fraction (7.7%) of youth will ever graduate with a tertiary qualification.
- An alarmingly high proportion of Grade 6 learners have not mastered the most basic reading and numeracy skills.
- Coupled with this, school leaders are under-supported, overwhelmed, and often paralysed in a seemingly intractable situation.
- In-service educators, who are at the heart of education provision, are often demotivated, uninspired, and under-valued.
- Maths and Science results, in particular, are often ranked near the bottom of the world in various international surveys.
- An estimated 80% of schools - about 20,000 schools nationally - are under-performing.
(Sources include: National Planning Commission, National Development Plan, 2011)
It is for these reasons that Uplands Outreach was established in 1994, with the objective of partnering with schools serving previously disadvantaged communities, to raise achievement levels. We are passionate about working collaboratively and respectfully with our partner schools to raise the achievement levels of learners in rural Mpumalanga. We do this by utilising the expertise, skills, facilities and culture of excellence of Uplands Preparatory School and Uplands College. Our vision statement, “Raising Achievement for All,” encapsulates both the Prep and College’s individual aspirations as top-performing independent schools of excellence, along with their ardent wish (through Outreach) to share the above-mentioned skills, facilities and resources of Uplands to develop and uplift partner schools.
Education remains one of the most promising ways for children to attain a fuller, more productive life. While many developing countries such as South Africa have improved access to education, the quality of education has remained low, and many children drop out. Many children finish school having learned few real skills. If universal education is to be attained in the truer sense of enabling these children, their families, and their communities to realise the promise of education, developing countries must improve the quality of the education they offer. (Source: povertyactionlab.org).
Despite the troubling statistics concerning education in South Africa, Uplands Outreach (with immeasurable support of our donors and stakeholders) works dedicatedly for the betterment of our province and country at large.
As an essential part of our long-term strategy, Uplands Outreach continues measuring the impact of our ‘systemic alignment’ programmes in the Insikazi School Circuit in Mpumalanga. We work at four levels in education: at circuit level, school leader level, educator level, and with learners. This impact measurement is made possible through our collaborative, non-threatening, evidenced-based work with the Circuit Manager and his school leaders, educators and learners.