Meeting educational communities in South Africa

  • 05.03.2020 - 08:30
  • South Africa

During the YDML First project mobility in Cape Town, participants were looking forward with a great excitement to the planned school visits. We were particularly curious to meet teachers and students from Stellenbosch High School and to discuss about the digital literacy and young people’s choice of school and career.

The visit to the school was thrilling. Everything felt familiar and exotic at the same time for us Europeans.

The Stellenbosch High School was founded in 1978 as a business-oriented technical school, which was opened to students from all races in 1992 (after the end of the apartheid). In the first decade of the new millennium the school was named one of the best schools in South African Republic. The school currently enrols about 620 students and has a teaching staff of 35 teachers. The old and the new harmoniously co-exist in the school building where the process of providing each room with a computer and projector is still underway, but the symbol of the nowadays’ global health menace – the corona virus cell – by a strange coincidence dominates on the wall of one of the renovated and fully equipped science labs.

The teenage students are modest, but confident and communicate freely. They told us how (and why) they chose to study in Stellenbosch High School, showed us their virtual Google classrooms*, shared their dreams and ambitions for the future.

The true discovery of the day however brought our visit to the Klapmuts Primary School. It is based in an extremely poor area just about 40 km outside Cape Town. All students at Klapmuts Primary receive food at the school, and for some of them it is their only meal of the day. Almost 83% of the students at the school come from families which receive social grants. The 43 teachers who currently work at the school educate about 1540 students. Just 10 years ago the school classrooms were in asbestos barracks. The current new 2-story building has spacious classrooms, library and media center, and provides safe space for local children to learn and play.

This school has a sensitivity for the greater needs in the community, and a commitment to serve and improve this community. The vision of the school is “To break the cycle of poverty by giving learners the tools to compete at a Global level” and teachers are committed to make it true. During our discussions teachers openly shared that pretty often they have to deal with emotional traumas of their students and their school day frequently starts with consolation rather than straight forwardly with teaching and learning.

Nevertheless, this does not prevent young students at Klapmuts Primary School from mastering 21st century skills, flying drones and winning competitions, and does not diminish school staff’s confidence that maybe the next Nelson Mandela is studying in their school at this very moment.

The visit took place days before the pandemic lock out, so the teaching and learning practices supported through technologies demonstrated by Stellenbosch High School students were part of their regular learning routine.



  • Start Date:05.03.2020
  • Start Time:08:30
  • End Date:05.03.2020
  • End Time:17:00
  • Location:South Africa
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