Education is a passport out of poverty. It’s the gateway to dreams of a better life for anyone who wields its power. In the bigger picture, education fosters more professionals, entrepreneurs and thinkers who can ultimately make an active contribution to growing the economy. And South Africa’s ailing education system is a key reason why South Africa’s economy is in trouble.
South Africa has one of the most inefficient education systems in the world. This may sound like an insulting statement but sadly, the statistics don’t lie. The World Economic Forum recently ranked South Africa’s primary education 116th out of 137 countries globally. And out of 76 countries surveyed, South Africa was ranked 75th for quality in maths and science education.
In an ever-growing population, this perpetuates a downward spiral that is reaching critical mass. If our young people aren’t armed with education – particularly in key areas like maths and science – in the immediate future, the country’s economic outlook simply has no chance of improving.
The reality is, we are closer than you might think to become a country without enough doctors, engineers and other key professionals that drive our social and economic wellbeing.
Our one fighting chance
So, how can we give South African children a real fighting chance? Studies conducted by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman have provided conclusive evidence that the highest return on investment in education is gained from birth to early school years. If children are educated by well-trained, competent and sensitive teachers at this age, their capacity for learning and healthy development will keep growing exponentially.
Effective, creative and innovative Teacher training is the fundamental secret weapon that will unravel South Africa’s education crisis from the inside-out. And Thuto Trust is part of the resistance that aims to cause a positive nationwide chain-reaction in education.
Providing the freedom to learn
The importance of teaching children in their home languages during their first four years at school – or Early Child Development (ECD)/foundation level – is often overlooked, even though children are much more likely to absorb and understand complex ideas (particularly maths and science) if they are presented in their home languages.
Thuto Trust is a registered Public Benefit Organisation that provides bursaries to young people who are committed to becoming innovative teachers, but don’t have the financial means necessary for tertiary education. We believe that education should be accessible at every level, and to anyone who has the desire to learn. This is a fundamental gap in our education system, which we at Thuto Trust aim to bridge.
Following a rigorous recruitment process, Thuto Trust provides Teacher Development bursary packages that are geared towards forming a new generation of educators who are able to teach children maths and science in children’s home languages. Our bursaries also cover the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Maths or Science and the Bachelor of Education Degree.
Full-time Internships at partner schools are provided concurrently with academic courses, in both the private and public sectors, so that the teachers learn to work comfortably in both environments.
Help nurture more teachers who speak the right language
Thuto Trust’s Teacher Development Programme is already making an impact. So far, eight of our students have graduated, and are encouraging young students with their enthusiastic approach and teaching abilities. Three of our postgraduate students who completed the two-year PGCE Teacher Development Programme have already secured permanent teaching employment. Lives are significantly changing for the better.
Your contributions will not only be helping one or two individuals. The young educators you are part of sending out into the South African system will be instrumental in shaping thousands of young minds at their most formative stage.
Thuto-trained teachers will also be inspiring future educators to carry the torch and will leave a legacy that will live on in a revived country that has ample doctors, scientists and leaders who make a valuable contribution to a flourishing economy.
In the words of author and entrepreneur, Curtis Tyrone Jones, “Keep planting new seeds until your mind becomes the earth that gives birth to new worlds”.
Together, we can open the gateway to dreams for the youth of South Africa.