On 08 July 2016 the Technical Support Unit of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), distributed Mind the Gap study guides to juvenile offenders at the Department of Correctional Services’ Baviaanspoort Correctional Centre in Roodeplaat, Pretoria. The offenders are able to attend school while they are serving out their sentences for a range of criminal offenses. Classes at the Emthonjeni School facility begin at 08:30 in the morning and end at 12:00 to allow the students to also be part of other skills training programmes and activities such as woodwork and welding.
Addressing the group, the Area Commissioner, Mr Jerry Somaru, expressed his gratitude for the delivery of the Mind the Gap study guides and added that “education is liberation” when highlighting the importance of the “second chance learners” completing their schooling.
There are twenty three titles in the Mind the Gap series. These include Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematical Literacy, Economics, Geography, Life Sciences and Accounting; there are also nine titles for English First Additional Language (FAL) to support Paper 1: Language in Context and Paper 3: Writing; and seven study guides to support the Literature examination. Mind the Gap helps Grade 12 learners obtain good marks in their final year of schooling, which is a watershed achievement for all learners eager to establish their lives out of school.
Ms Mapula Mashilo, a Grade 12 English First Additional Language teacher, thanked Government for this innovative intervention. Ms Mashilo agreed that the Mind the Gap study guides make learning so much easier. “The Literature study guide helps the inmates to improve their vocabulary and grammar,” she said.
During an interactive session with various government officials, one of the learners said that the study guide will play a significant role in his studies, particularly in the gateway subjects such as Physical Science and Mathematics. “The Mind the Gap study guides will assist us in our English class, because it has always been difficult for us to understand some of the short stories we are taught,” added the learner.
Dr Patricia Watson, the Director of the Technical Support Unit of the DBE, commended the teaching staff at the Emthonjeni School facility for the important work they do, she also motivated the learners to study hard and give their very best in everything they do. Dr Watson mentioned that the Technical Support Unit is in the process of developing nine Open Source Life Orientation textbooks for Grades 4 to 12. The DBE will continue to work closely with the Department of Correctional Services to ensure that they have access to all of our learning materials.