Two young women will become the first in their families to study at a university, thanks to the efforts of a university researcher and a retired school principal.
Catherine Joubert from Wellington was one of countless people caught in a job destroying her soul.
When her Grade 1 school teacher passed her while she was working in road construction, waving her flag as she regulated the traffic, Ms Joubert would drop her gaze, ashamed. But that all changed after she took up a challenge to volunteer at a homework centre in her hometown.
This year, Ms Joubert and her childhood friend, Tayala Afrika, will become the first in their families to enrol at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s Wellington campus, with the hope of eventually becoming teachers.
It started out with a teacher wellbeing project in Wellington that was helping teachers cope with various challenges.
Dr Karen Collett, a UWC researcher in the education faculty, was the project facilitator, working alongside retired Groenberg Primary School principal, Gloria Samson.
The project participants came up with the idea of using a homework and study club as a way to improve pupils’ academic results and build a stronger relationship among pupils, teachers and parents.
“Groenberg Primary School was one of the four schools we worked with but because of Ms Samson’s passion and love for teaching, they started a homework club at the school catering for all the children in the area,” said Dr Collett.
“The homework club focused on supporting the learners, as their parents are often unable to assist them with their homework tasks.”
Ms Afrika was volunteering at that after-school homework centre and later Ms Joubert joined her.
“Ms Joubert said she had always felt passionate about teaching, because education had opened a lot of doors for her childhood friends.
“I want to thank Ms Samson for believing in me since day one. After I completed my Grade 12, I went to work as a municipal worker and she saw me on the road while driving by and called me.
“She asked if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – and when I said no, she asked me to volunteer at the homework club, which is where I gained more experience in teaching and how to work with children.”
Fees, textbooks, accommodation and a R1 000 monthly stipend are included in the opportunity.
Dr Collett is researching the value of homework clubs in supporting pupil achievement and retention in schools.