JumpStart: Improving learning for children in South Africa

“It is so stressful, even at home I don’t get time to rest because I’m thinking about these learners that I’m leaving behind when I’m in my class because of lack of resources,” said Funeka Phakade, a teacher at Ukhanyiso Primary School in the Gauteng province in South Africa.

Funeka is one of many teachers in South Africa who struggle daily with providing the tools, technology and time necessary to properly instruct their students. In some classes, the student to teacher ratio is 60:1. This often results in children being unable to master the basics in the earlier stages of their education, and then aren’t able to catch up in later grades. Maths is a particular area of concern, with six of 10 grade five learners in South Africa unable to do basic maths.

Providing resources for teachers like Funeka is a key part of our work to support classrooms around the world. As a part of the funding provided by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, JumpStart  has implemented trained interns to provide support for teachers and students in classrooms across South Africa. These interns assist in maths instruction, acting as a vital bridge between teachers deploying new mathematics curricula and these young learners who are challenged to improve their numeracy skills. These tech-savvy, highly energetic, interns come directly from the communities they serve. These shared experiences help students feel more at ease and support teachers in more effectively implementing new educational approaches. The result is the ability to touch each learner in the class – providing the opportunity for them to not only receive quality maths instruction, but also build a strong foundation in numeracy they will utilize throughout their education.

The intern presence in the classroom has had a strong impact in Funeka’s class – not only do the interns and teachers see the students growing and improving themselves, but the school is now no longer known as underperforming.

Meet Funeka’s students and hear how the JumpStart interns are helping the children succeed.