“It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education. Those who do not believe this have small imaginations.” – Nelson Mandela
The team behind The Answer Series (TAS) certainly share this aspiration, which led to the establishment of a CSI initiative called Project JIKA in 2010. Jika means change or a turn-around for the good in Zulu. To date, TAS has donated over 10 000 of their study guides to nine under-performing high schools in South Africa.
With giving back at the forefront of the agenda around Mandela Day on 18 July, TAS Director Dave Eadie calls on corporate South Africa to support this scalable model and put their CSI budgets towards education:
“The JIKA project maximises chances of success for learners, which has a lasting impact on schools, communities and our country. It has the potential to render thousands more South Africans employable and eligible for tertiary education annually. In a country where there are approximately 600 000 Grade 10 and 11 dropouts and a further 180 000 matric failures each year, this has never been more important.” For every book donated, TAS will donate one book.
A donor can adopt a school or they can make a donation and pair up with other donors. With good controls in place, the retention of the study guides can be managed so that subsequent years would only require top-ups, costing a fraction of the launch fee. Top-up cost usually ranges between 10% and 20% per year.
TAS also encourages each school to make a contribution to show their commitment to the project, and have seen phenomenal improvements with this buy in. A simple way to measure the success of JIKA projects is to track the matric pass rate.
An incredible example is Reuben Ntuli in the Eastern Cape, where the pass rate increased from 19% to 84% in just two years! Mr Sgodi, Principal of the school comments, “The Answer Series has made a great contribution to our school. Our teachers and learners have benefited a lot from using the study guides. Our school is the real evidence of the effectiveness of The Answer Series. Their generosity is greatly appreciated.”
To ensure a JIKA project’s success, interviews and investigations are conducted before finalising the selected school to set up agreements and reporting structures. TAS also remain in contact with the school and monitor the performance throughout the project. “We ensure the complete buy-in and engagement rights from the Provincial Education Department, the school’s Governing Body and the Headmaster/ Headmistress before commencing,” explains Eadie.
A case study to demonstrate this is Teach2Fish an arm of Just Do It, which is a group of young philanthropic professionals. They approached TAS with R42 500 to invest in education in the quintile 1 – 3 bracket. Kulani Senior Secondary in Langa was nominated and agreed to contribute R15 000. Teach2Fish’s investment catalysed an additional R68 000 contribution from a benevolent Trust Fund which TAS sourced. The total combined investment was then matched by The Answer Series to enable each learner to be covered. 2724 books were delivered to 727 learners. The average number of books per learner is higher in the grade 10 to 12 cohort.
Your support of this project would enable TAS to expand its coverage, reach more learners in these uncertain times and contribute to its primary goal: to improve the level of education in South Africa and open doors where they might otherwise have remained closed.