‘Exclusive Inclusion’ is a study on how non-formal education contributes to quality education for all in the broader Stellenbosch area of South Africa. ‘Exclusive Inclusion’ is the title of Loes Bijleveld’s Master Thesis, which is her concluding piece of work for a Master Degree in International Development Studies in Amsterdam. Loes collected her data from the Vision AfriKa students and other South African organisations. Her presence and recommendations were very much appreciated by staff and youth. Read below about her experience, findings and recommendations!
Within the first few days, I was already positively surprised by the work of Vision AfriKa. I arrived as a critical foreigner, straight from the academic world, and I didn’t know what to expect. The warm personalities of the staff and their commitment to the children they serve was my first of many positive experiences.
Vision AfriKa improves the daily lives of youngsters. Partly due to the close bond they have with staff members, students are able to discuss topics of a personal nature. The life skills programme is a true asset to the students, as it provides useful information as well as enabling the students to develop friendships and support each other.
In my opinion, the biggest achievement of Vision AfriKa is the personal attention students receive from staff members. In a more practical way, Vision AfriKa also offers the students quiet places to study and computers to work on. These resources make studying more comfortable, and allow students to become familiar with technologies that will be useful in their future careers.
Based on my research, I made some recommendations to improve the programme. Due to the important role played by staff, I suggested that Vision AfriKa invest in teacher training as much as possible. A second recommendation I made was to keep track of ex-participants to see what they have found useful and what difficulties they are still facing. A last recommendation was to take time at the end of each year to reflect upon and improve the programme.
After three months of in depth research, I can only conclude on a positive note. Vision AfriKa is an organisation that connects to the lives of students in disadvantaged areas. The project recognizes and sometimes shares the challenges students face in their communities. I believe in the power of Vision AfriKa to make a significant contribution to the lives of disadvantaged students and make them self-confident and ambitious young adults.
Anyone interested in reading Loes’ final report should contact Vision AfriKa for a copy.