Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Home Education COVID- 19 is no match for continued Matric Maths Success in Diepsloot

COVID- 19 is no match for continued Matric Maths Success in Diepsloot

It is with great pride that OLICO announces – for the 4th consecutive year – OLICO Diepsloot matrics achieved a 100% pass-rate for pure mathematics with three-quarters of OLICO’s matrics scoring in the Top 20% of maths performers nationally.

OLICO is a non-profit organisation providing after-school maths support to township-school youth from impoverished communities. Learners join OLICO in Grade 7 or 8 and receive supplementary maths support throughout their High School careers. OLICO’s purpose-built support includes a blend of skilled tutors and purpose-built technology tools that are freely available for anyone to use.

OLICO’s 2020 cohort is our 4th matric cohort from the Diepsloot community and one that faced even more challenges than usual due to the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the bulk of OLICO’s support shifted to online WhatsApp lessons as supporters of OLICO donated data and devices to keep learners learning. The Class of 2020 dedicated huge amounts of their time, over many years, to improving their maths competencies.

OLICO’s Maths Coordinator, Dr Lynn Bowie adds, “The results of the OLICO matriculants reinforces the importance of ensuring there is a good solid foundation in mathematics in the initial years of High School. If learners are to have any chance of success in matric maths they need to get on top of their foundational skills and fundamentals in Grade 7, 8 and 9. Despite the massive disruption of a global pandemic, OLICO learners managed to achieve incredible results because of these foundations and the ongoing support of their teachers and OLICO tutors. We’re especially pleased to have been able to supplement the work of the school teachers with the provision of skilled tutors and a tailored use of purpose-built technology.”

Ultimately, 82% of OLICO’s Diepsloot matric learners passed pure mathematics compared to only 19% of their Diepsloot peers. Further to this, two-thirds of OLICO’s learners scored above 50% in pure mathematics which puts them into the top 20% of maths achievers across South Africa. In Diepsloot, only 6% of learners who wrote matric reached this level of achievement in mathematics.

The Class of 2020 is part of a larger group of nearly 1100 learners between Grades 7-12 who receive extra maths support on OLICO’s High Schools program in Gauteng and Western Cape. Learners attend after-school 2-3 times a week and their improvements in maths are the result of intensive work on developing foundational skills and key conceptual understanding. OLICO’s freely available online maths tool is also used by a growing number of NGO and school partners. (see: https://learn.olico.org).

OLICO learner, Rendani Singo believes OLICO made a huge difference to her maths results, “I joined OLICO 6 years ago and OLICO has been like a second home to me. Studying during lockdown was hard and challenging because it was something no one else has ever been through before. This year, I so excited to pursue my dream career in Information Sciences.”

Her classmate Respond Mabeba agrees, “Studying during lockdown has been so difficult but OLICO provided data so that we could do some online studying with them and it made the studying during lockdown very simple for us.” In response to the question what does OLICO mean to him, he smiles and says “OLICO means passing my maths and always improving and knowing how to solve mathematical equations when they come.”

Phakama Xabanisa believes OLICO helped her unlock her potential and achieve her goals, “Studying during lockdown was so difficult because we were used to getting support from tutors in the same room as us now we had to study over WhatsApp. OLICO means so much to be because I plan to study Civil Engineering and ever since I joined OLICO my maths has improved to the point where this is possible.”

Says Qhamani Sobisho, “OLICO is like my maths tutor at home…I used to hate maths but I love it now”

Thapelo Motshegare wants to be an aeronautical engineer, “Being at home during lockdown was challenging because often I had to take care of my little brother and have difficulties with data or network signal but teachers and tutors were trying their best and helping us a lot. From the first time I attended OLICO, I’ve seen an improvement in maths but more than that, OLICO is like a home and like family to me.


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