The Guard

The Truth On Board


By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – instilling and nurturing a love for learning science, maths and technology among young people is no easy task.

In a global technologically advancing world, a country’s socio-economic progress is directly linked to its science and technology capacity. In past years South Africa’s basic education has been largely characterised by poor learning outcomes. The Covid-19 lockdown regulations have done littlle more than to exacerbate the issue.

When times are hard community leaders heed the call of duty and serve their community to the best of their ability. One such person is Lekgabe Dihlabi (35), founder of Kgabsy Science Communication Network in Phuthaditjaba, QwaQwa in the Free State.

Affectionately known to her community as Kgabsy, this dynamic young woman noticed that children in her community did not have the same access to science resources like their counterparts in the city. Her tutoring business was established to pool together resources so that the children in her community would not be left behind.

Kgabsy has an infectious passion for teaching kids’ science and maths subjects. With Covid-19 lockdown regulations in place, she came up with innovative ways to keep her learners inspired and motivated to keep doing their school work.

“I live in a community of marginalised children; you cannot expect them to do online learning. The issue of the accessibility to resources is very close to my heart because most of the children I work with do not have computers or smart phones with the capacity to download many of the apps needed to study online.”

One of her protégés, Nthabiseng Mafanyulle a 17-year old matric learner, had this to say: “Covid-19 killed my motivation and passion for learning and doing my school work.”

Nthabiseng Mafanyulle, a learner from Edu-College who benefits from the center.

In 2020, Nthabiseng was a grade 11 learner who did most of doing the bulk of her school work done online via Whatsapp.  Her immediate task now, if she is to pass matric, is to understand all the work that was not clearly explained by her teachers in the usual class setting.

“Coming to Kgabsy’s learning centre has rekindled my motivation and inspiration to study because Kgabsy’s personality is very bubbly and she makes learning fun,” she said.

Jabulile Hlongwane (24) is Kgabsy’s business partner and tutor at the learning centre. She says they do more than just teach kids about science, or maths and English.

“What’s very special about our learning centre is that we pay close attention to each learner. This tends to reveal that learners don’t necessarily perform poorly because of not knowing or understanding the work. Using English as the medium of instruction can in fact be a barrier, along with the anxiety that comes with writing tests.

“Our goal is to make science and maths easily understandable to kids. We need to be able to explain physics to a grade one learner…without saying ‘No they don’t have to know physics right now’.”