XL Education is part of a group that began its journey in 2010 as XL@Science – a specialist tuition service. XL@Science was later joined by Brain Mates and then together bought Sum-It-Maths to become XL Maths & Science – now with 3 branches in Johannesburg, Rustenburg & Cape Town.
Last year, we were privileged to run the Learner Development Camps sponsored by Anglo American Platinum in the North-West and Limpopo provinces. This consisted of week- long camps altogether serving over 1,200 Grade 12 pupils during the Winter and Spring Camps, focussing on preparation for their exams – especially their Maths and Science.
Overall, we saw an average increase of approximately 10% across all subjects in the pupils’ marks in each week, ±20% overall for those attending both camps. We also have had very positive feedback from the pupils, teachers and the Department of Education.
Over and above the focus on the academic program, we were thrilled to add inspirational enrichment into the program with input on careers and tertiary studies, revision techniques, personal financial management, insight into culture and the arts, and motivational talks.
As XL Education, we are passionate about contributing wherever we can to assist with raising up generations of South Africans with an increasing quality of education, greater depths of knowledge and a broader set of skills. All of this hand-in-hand with a better understanding of the world, themselves and where they each can play their part – helping to open opportunities for them to engage with our society and economy in a meaningful and positive way.
- Facing the Challenges
Before considering solutions, it is helpful to look the challenges square in the eye. Further research and engagement with each school & community in question, along with clear communications with the Department of Education and other key stakeholders will certainly be helpful to fully understand each situation. However, for the sake of some context, here are some of the key points and concerns with secondary education generally:
- Low pass rates, esp Maths & Science
- Inadequate resources – lack of books,
- facilities, computers, lab equipment etc.
- Lack of motivation of staff and pupils
- Difficult home situations
These are not new facts, but they help to clarify and contextualize the challenge, and so shape the potential solutions.
- Overcoming the Challenges
In principle, the solution is simple – but it is not easy. To look at it from a Physics perspective – Newton’s First Law states, in layman’s terms, that “something will keep doing what it’s doing, unless you push it”. In other words – without intervention, we can expect nothing to change.
However, Newton’s Second Law (Fnet = ma) says basically that “if you push something, it’s going to speed up, or change its motion”. This helps us to see that if you want something to change what it is doing… you have to give it a push! The bigger the situation, the more you have to push. And the harder and longer you push, the more change you are able to bring about.
Against the odds, we truly believe that this situation can be turned around for the better. However, this is no small task and will require sustained effort, by many, in the right direction, for a long period of time. Hence a tenacious, creative, strategic, collaborative and multi-faceted approach reaching across the age spectrum, and touching all contributing factors in a child’s development, is essential.
- Multi-Faceted Approach
In order to have a lasting impact on Education, one has to address as many of the factors involved as possible. In summary, we believe these are some of the key factors that lead to a successful school learning environment and experience leading pupils to excel (the 6 E’s):
- Effective Leadership and Management of Schools
- Engagement of the Community in the education process
- Enthusiastic, Caring & Knowledgeable Teachers
- Excellent Resources for Schools
- Inspiring and Ergonomic Facilities
- Accessible, Well-Structured Written Resources
- Computer & Laboratory Equipment
- Extra Support for Pupils (internal and external)
- Early Start – from as young as possible, and building throughout! (ECD to FET)
- On The Ground
In our experience we have learned that one can never underestimate the phenomenal value of face-to-face contact and the personal touch. In this regard, we have an increasingly broad offering of hands-on solutions orientated around the secondary school learner. Through these initiatives and opportunities, we aim to assist with outstanding instruction, materials and the following on-the-ground support:
- Teacher Support o Training
- Learner Support
- Personal Tuition
- Revision Workshops
- Saturday Classes
- Intervention Camps
- Career Guidance
Additionally, this year with our own funds and our XL Team, we have launched an exciting bursary program – the #EducationMustRise (#EMR) Bursary Scheme – offering financial support and mentorship to over 10 students from the Grade 12 group we reached last year.
In this increasingly digital age, we recognise the power of online learning. It has immense potential to transform the accessibility to outstanding instruction and resources throughout the country. In light of this, we have built the site that you are reading on now – a simple, prototype platform, currently with a basic offering of content and functionality for Grade 11 & 12: xleducation.co.za.
However, this is a major focus-area for us this year, and we are already in development of a full site. Our goal is provide a feature-rich, highly-engaging, integrated and interactive online learning environment – accessible on computer, tablet and mobile devices; geared to offer support and real-time information at multiple levels – for learners, teachers, parents, support teams and any key stakeholders (e.g The Department of Education and Sponsors).
- Additional Life Enrichment
In addition to the academic learning platform, we aim to include an ever-increasing offering on our online platform to assist young people with necessary understanding, skills and connections to ready themselves for positive, productive work. These will include soft-skills development (e.g. communication, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving etc.); leadership skills; language support & development (for English and ultimately all 11 official languages); loads of motivation and inspiration; extra life skills (e.g. personal finance management); additional extra-curricular learning opportunities (e.g. musical instrument tuition); environmental awareness and action; health and wellness education; entrepreneurial development and incubation etc etc.
We will also be pouring resources into developing an interactive and integrated careers guidance program.
As always, all of the above being undergirded by our “online / on-the-ground” philosophy – in the long run establishing centres throughout the country to bring the hands on support closer to the learners and teachers that need it most.
To find out how you can get involved, click here to get in touch with us.