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Vodacom Foundation

Vodacom volunteers stimulate huge improvement in matric pass rate

Friday, 14 January 2011

It was an intensely proud moment for the ZB Kunene Secondary School in Kanyamazane, Mpumalanga, when the school's 2010 matric pass rate registered a huge improvement from 19% to 64%. Equally proud were members of Vodacom's Yebo Heroes team who gave up every Saturday during last year to tutor the Grade 12 scholars at the school.

The school's achievement was recognised by the Department of Education at a special ceremony today that was also attended by their delighted Vodacom tutors.

The project began in January 2010 when the staff members of Vodacom's Mpumalanga region met for a strategic planning session, and decided to launch a tutoring project, since they regarded education as an important focus area for the province.

Planning involved looking for a suitable school with which to engage but, even more importantly, ensuring that the Yebo Heroes, Vodacom's registered volunteer staff members, were ready to make the commitment to give up every Saturday morning to tutor Grade 12 scholars for the next twelve months.

With the help of the Department of Education, ZB Kunene Secondary School, historically one of the province's worst performing schools, was selected, meetings were facilitated, the curriculum was finalised, tutoring schedules were drawn up, and text books were organised. A "teach-the-teacher" workshop was also organised prior to the start of the tutoring sessions to ensure that the tutors formed meaningful relationships with the teachers and had a clear understanding of the needs of the scholars.

Finally, twelve Vodacom employees were ready to present lessons in maths, physical science, English, economics and business studies with the objective of making a tangible difference in the lives of the Grade 12 scholars of ZB Kunene.

Speaking in September, shortly before the start of matric exams, headmaster Derick Soko had deep appreciation for the efforts of the volunteers, believing that the ongoing lessons had had an immediate impact and were set to deliver real change.

"It is doing wonders. The week before last, the tutorials continued until late in the afternoon, but there they were. The Yebo Heroes are really dedicated to make a difference," he said.

Soko added that he had noticed a real change in attitude from his learners, and said that a spark had been ignited.

"Vodacom has created stimulation and a newfound interest in subjects. The experience is very encouraging and results are looking promising."

His words were to prove prophetic when his Grade 12 learners turned in an outstanding performance in the 2010 exams, registering a more than 300% improvement in their pass rate from 19% to 64%.

The learners were also appreciative of the volunteers' efforts, with one learner saying: "Vodacom Saturday classes have played a big role in my studies... I have got improvement and I wish they will come the following year for other learners and do more of what they have done. Vodacom, you made a good job!"

Vodacom's Managing Executive for the Mpumalanga Region, Christoph Labuschagne, said: "As a region, we believe that human development and empowerment are integral to sustainability. Vodacom's CSI projects provide the platform for staff members to become involved in giving back to the communities that we do business in, creating a sense of relevance and purpose."

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