Study group helps children to excel

High school pupils tutor primary school pupils.

Mitchell’s Plain pupils and tutors are putting their heads together to help improve academic results and the chance of being accepted at tertiary institutions.

AK Snapshots Study Group hosted a holiday programme for pupils at Searidge Park Primary school, in Tafelsig, between noon and 2pm, where they could ask specific questions and complete digital programmes to help them excel at school.

Andrew Koopman, founder and co-ordinator of the 14-year-old study group, said they have 365 pupils registered but only half of them attend regular week-day programmes at the Tafelsig school, and the rest post questions on a WhatsApp group chat.

“Pupils must come to us with specific questions, then we can help them and assist with pupils who want to either improve their marks or are failing at school,” he said.

Mr Koopman said the free study group takes on any pupil who wants help. Parents must accompany their child on registration.

“We want to give our children something different, we don’t just cater for pupils who fail but also those who want to do better,” he said.

He said tuition at school was either tailored for pupils who do not know their work and those who want to excel.

“There are big gaps between the two and we allow pupils to improve steadily and we work with them,” he said.

“Some of our best pupils do not have both parents, don’t have a stable income or their home environments are not conducive for studying,” he said.

The study group hosts daily tuition classes where pupils can also revise work on tablets with audio-visual lessons loaded on them, career information sessions, work shadow opportunities and advise pupils on various tertiary institution study and funding programmes.

“We also take our children out to a restaurant, where they can learn how to read a menu and socialise,” he said.

“Our children really need guidance and skills to want to do better,” said Mr Koopman.

The study group encourages Grade 11 pupils and matriculants to apply to at least three different tertiary institutions.

Cleona Diedericks, 17, a Grade 12 pupil at Cedar High School in Rocklands, has three provisional acceptance letters from the universities of Cape Town, the Western Cape and Stellenbosch. Cleona, who has been with the study group since Grade 7, also has a bursary offer, to consider.

She would like to travel the world and wants to study to become a chartered accountant.

“It is so frustrating when you don’t understand and no one can help you. Here I have peers, people who can help and we exchange information,” she said.

Cleona said she was an average pupil when she started attending the study group in 2013, and her results improved almost immediately. “I also like the motivation, the incentives and the competition among us, we want to do better,” she said.

In Grades 9 and 11 she obtained 99% for mathematics.

“I know there is something to work towards, to set goals and work towards it,” she said.

She has also completed National Benchmark Tests (NBTs), for admission to university.

Robin Williams, 17, a Grade 12 pupil at Glendale High School, also in Rocklands. said when he started attending the study group in Grade 4, he received a pair of tickets to attend the DStv Mitchell’s Plain Festival at the end of the year, for doing well at Cascade Primary School.

His said he enjoyed helping other pupils and that they could help him. “By explaining things I can also know whether I understand my work. It is a win-win situation,” he said.

Robin has been provisionally accepted at Stellenbosch University to complete a four-year Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree.

Joshua Simons, 12, a Grade 6 pupil at Searidge Park Primary School in Tafelsig, wants to be a pilot. “I attend the study group because I want to pass and I want to get diplomas,” he said.

Joshua has been with the study group since 2014, when he scored between 1 and 4 for subjects. Now it ranges between 3 and 7.

Zoe Minnaaar, 11, also at Searidge Park Primary School, wants to be a lawyer so that she can own her own car and house. “I want to up my marks,” she said.

Jayson George, a fourth-year UCT law student from Tafelsig, who is a former member of the study group, received two awards earlier this year – the Blumberg Prize given to a student who has worked hard both academically and in service of the student community, and the Dean’s Award in recognition of student service to the wider community. He matriculated in 2014 with eight distinctions from Glendale High School.

The study group starts their new tuition term at Searidge Park Primary School in Tafelsig on Saturday July 21, starting at 8.30am with registration.

Pupils and parents are encouraged to attend. New pupils must be accompanied by parents or guardians and take a copy of their latest academic results.

New tutors will be introduced and plans for the rest of the year will be revealed.

For more information, email Andrew Koopman at snapshots.ak@gmail.com