Prior to the opening of the Bulungula College in 2019, as a result of not having a high school in our area, 95% of learners from our community dropped out before grade 12. As part of the founding vision of the Bulungula College, we wanted to ensure that every child from our area received quality education and support for a productive career, regardless of their academic ability. In 2020, we launched our Job Skills Entrepreneurship Programme (JSEP) to offer accredited vocational courses to learners who had failed or dropped out of school.
For our 2021-2022 JSEP term, we expanded the Programme to include the exciting opportunity of internships. In addition to classroom sessions, each learner was placed in an internship of their choice, and spent 4 days per week gaining meaningful work experience. Each internship placement was within one of the BI’s projects and was overseen by a BI Programme Manager. The placements included Early Childhood Development teaching, agriculture, iiTT Mathsbuddy online learning, Community Health Work, and office administration.
Lusanda Mali, BI iiTablet Tshomiz (iiTT) Programme Manager, believes that beyond the professional development of the interns, having extra support has been very beneficial for iiTT, and has allowed for the learners to have more focused attention. “They have made a difference”, she says. “If we need to hire a facilitator in the future, we will always look to the interns first”. She reiterates that having qualified interns who have practical experience in the iiTT classroom will be a huge advantage for the future of the project— which utilises young and energetic youth facilitators to run the sessions.
As the JSEP term has now come to a close, it is bittersweet seeing off our learners. However, we are confident that they are ready to enter into the work market with the skills and experience necessary to thrive. Watch their end of the year reflections here.
As we continue to develop the JSEP to fit the needs of our community, for the next JSEP term, we opened and prioritised admission to our 2021 Matriculants.
In 2021, the Bulungula College graduated its first ever high school class. Not only was this the first class to graduate from the Bulungula College, but many learners were the first in their families to ever graduate from high school. Only one learner of the graduating class had a parent who ever graduated from high school, and the vast majority of parents never completed primary school. The focus for our learners this past year was to have them pass, and as a result, many learners did not have plans after finishing school.
We hope that this ‘gap year’ will support and equip Matriculants to feel ready to enter the workplace, or to continue on with their studies. At the moment, we have 13 learners enrolled, 7 BC matriculants and 6 matriculants from other schools. In addition to the 2021-2022 JSEP courses, we will be offering artisanal courses this year, teaching valuable skills in welding, basic maintenance, plumbing, carpentry, and electricity (including solar installation).
At the Bulungula College, we pride ourselves as a centre of excellence that goes the extra mile to ensure our young people have the support they need to live a productive life, not just certificates.