In 2018, New Nation School achieved a 91.3% pass rate. Thus far, about 7 matric students (12.5%) were successfully enrolled in higher learning institutions. While we have a long way to go, our goal is to achieve a 100% transition rate of our students into further learning opportunities.
Whilst we’ve only worked closely with New Nation School for one year, there are already so many lessons learned about systemic barriers to accessing higher education that we did not anticipate. For example, one of the issues that we battled with was the lack of documentation and challenges of statelessness amongst the students. As many of our students are orphaned, the death of one or both parents often results in the child having no identity document because they have no birth certificate or proof of registration of birth. Without an identity document that grants them the privileges of a South African, a student will struggle to register for matric exams, cannot apply for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), and will ultimately be locked out of the formal job market. As a result, with assistance from the Lawyers for Human Rights who manages the Statelessness Project on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), we are trying to address issues of statelessness before our students reach Grade 12. Unblocking this systemic barrier is one stepping stone to a more successful transition rate, along with sound academic marks of course!
Another issue we faced was more psychological than practical. We have discovered that there is a stigma amongst learners attached to attending non-traditional higher learning institutions that offer skills-based programmes. We hope to work together to change the culture and this way of thinking in the coming years. Pilot year was insightful for us and we will carry the lessons we have learnt with us into the future.
New Nation’s Top Performing Student Attends the University of Johannesburg
Meet Thato, the top performing student at New Nation School since Grade 1. Thanks to her continued academic excellence through Grade 12, Thato was successfully accepted for a Bachelor of Science at the University of Johannesburg. Fortunately, she was fully funded by NSFAS and received an additional housing bursary from the Envisionit Bursary Foundation.
According to UNESCO women are still underrepresented in STEM-related careers. Only 3% of female students are enrolled in ICT, 5% in natural science, mathematics and statistics, and 8% in engineering, manufacturing and construction. Kudos to this young lady for challenging the status quo! We wish her all the best. Go Thato!
Listen to Thato’s inspirational speech at our launch event in April 2018: