Great things happen when learners are taken seriously

01 Aug 2016

South Africa?s greatest education challenge lies in improving the situation in schools serving communities where poverty is the norm, many adults are unemployed and crime is rife.In 2012, I became interested in a school that was increasingly successful despite operating in a badly disadvantaged community. It is a high school in a poor, peri-urban community that serves black learners. It borders the rural community of Klapmuts and the urbanised area of Kraaifontein, which is about 40km away from Cape Town?s central business district.The area was an informal settlement until 1998 when the government started building houses as part of the Reconstruction and Development Programme. The school?s results have consistently improved since 2010. A school that serves the same community and is less than a kilometre away is not achieving the same success.I wanted to know how, against the backdrop of a public education system that is fraught with problems, the school ? which I will not name to protect learners' privacy ? has improved its results so much.