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Despite National Problems, Innovative Approaches to Education Provide Poor Children a Chance in South Africa

Ubuntu Education Fund supports vulnerable children through an integrated community-based approach that includes education.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Robin Dixon says that the educational system in South Africa has improved little for the nation’s poor black students in the 18 years since the end of apartheid.  Recently, a national assessment of 7 million students showed that ninth-graders received an average mark of 13 percent for math.  Last year, the World Economic Forum ranked South Africa 132 among 144 countries in primary school education and 143 in math and science.

During apartheid, blacks in townships and rural areas were denied education. Today, although the educational system has been expanded, it has fallen short of needs. A number of Aid for Africa members are working to improved education for the poor in South Africa.  Poor education results have a number of causes, including not enough teachers. Teach With Africa works to reverse the shortage of teachers and teaching resources in under-served areas of the country through an innovative exchange program that sends U.S. educators to underserved schools in South Africa to teach and learn. They also partner high-performing schools with schools in underserved townships in order to expand resources and results in poor areas.

Ubuntu Education Fund, based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, takes an integrated approach.They combine educational achievement with free medical services and household assistance like free meals so that orphaned and vulnerable children in disadvantaged townships can succeed.  Ubuntu provides educational support through after-school programs that build math and literacy skills and that prepare students for higher education and employment.  

Teach With Africa and Ubuntu Education Fund are delivering hope to thousands of South African students who wish to have a meaningful role in the country’s future. Learn more about Aid for Africa members working in South Africa.