We are committed to going the extra mile with our learners to ensure they can finish high school. Prior to the opening of the Bulungula College (BC) in 2019, there was no option for secondary school in our area, and no functional transport to other schools. The only option for learners was to attend a school out of our community, where they were required to rent accommodation and stay far from their families. This option posed many challenges and was unfeasible for most. As a result, since 2005 an average of only six people from our community graduate from high school each year.
Last year at the Bulungula College we graduated our first class. 28 learners passed (64% pass rate), setting the record for the most learners to ever graduate in a single year from our community. While this was a massive achievement given our context, 16 learners did not walk away with a Matric certificate.
In South Africa, our Department of Basic Education offers learners who did not pass their Matric exam, or who want to improve their scores, the option to rewrite through the Second Chance Matric Programme. Typically, learners are left to their own devices and responsible for their exam preparations. For our learners who did not pass their exams but qualified to rewrite (failed no more than 3 subjects), we registered on their behalf, and set up our very own “Second Chance” programme at the Bulungula College.
Since March, we have offered five-hour, daily classes facilitated and overseen by Sinazo Ntambekwana, Bulungula College Academic Support Coordinator. The learners come each day to school and are given textbooks, study material, access to the Bulungula Tech Centre, 1-1 study support, and school meals. In May, leading up to writing exams, we extended our Second Chance hours with evening classes from 6-9 pm. Lastly, we provide transport for our learners to write their exams in Elliotdale, a 4-hour roundtrip drive. And we have offered all of these services free of charge.
Our learners have been busy rewriting their exams throughout the month, and will finish on June 23rd (woohoo!). We are proud of the self-discipline our learners have shown in preparing to rewrite their exams and will continue to support them as best we can until they achieve their goal to attain a Matric certificate.