Free State learner defies the odds through KST interventions to study Astrophysics

The pressure of moving on to the next phase of young adulthood often leads to anxiety and stress for most learners. This ultimately affects their social cohesion and more importantly, their academic performance. One such learner whose social circumstance were almost a setback is 19-year old Emmanuel Mofammere who recently passed Grade 12 at Lenyora la Thuto Comprehensive School with stellar marks. This made him eligible for a bursary from the Free State Department of Education to further his studies at the University of Cape Town in Astrophysics. While growing up he attended different astronomy competitions and astronomical quizzes, which sparked his interest in the field. However, life has not been easy for Mofammere like many other learners from rural areas who face many socio- economic challenges, he was raised by his foster mother who played a supportive role during he’s schooling years.

Education is the one tool that empowers children with the knowledge and skills necessary to advance themselves and their communities economically. One may easily neglect to consider the effects socio economic factors have on early childhood development, right through to teenage years. These factors include but are not limited to poverty, race and gender, access to quality health care, family income level, parents’ level of education – all these have an impact on the quality and availability of education within our communities at large causing inequality within schooling systems. Being raised in such conditions that set one up for failure, Mofammere, through KST’s District Whole Schools Development Programme being implemented at Lenyora la Thuto Comprehensive School, has successfully rewritten his future. Mofammere initiated an after-school camping programme where learners could stay after school to form study groups and peer to peer tutoring groups among the Grade 12 learners leading up to the National Senior Certificate examinations.  He is now an inspiration to his peers and is one bright young mind to look out for.

 “It wasn’t an easy journey,” says Mofammere. “Our parents, educators and the principal played an important part in ensuring that we were all fed and safe while studying at our school’s premises.”

The reality is that not every young person can be as fortunate as Mofammere or other learners affected by socioeconomic conditions. Through perseverance and dedication, the learners and educators embraced various interventions brought to his school by KST. These include support in Mathematics from Grade 8 – 12, Physical Sciences and Accounting in Grade 10 – 12

Mofammere was also part of the KST Longitudinal Study, which is a study that tracks 20 learners from 10 schools. The study tracks the impact of the KST programme and how it leads to improvements in learners’ lives. Parents are also included in the study to check whether KST, through their children, made an impact on them and their homes. The same learners are tracked throughout their school careers.

Communities are in need of valuable partnerships in schools and KST encourages private entities to also lend a helping hand to government institutions for the benefit of learners affected by socio economic conditions that may take years to uproot.