DESPITE teacher shortages, overcrowded classrooms and missing textbooks, all is not lost in the Eastern Cape education system.
Thanks to The Herald and General Motors South Africa, the Matric Survival Kit supplement is ensuring that 5000 pupils across the Eastern Cape are receiving educational guidelines to help them along in their final school year.
Since its launch in January 2011, the number of schools receiving the survival kit has quadrupled with 85 schools now having the chance to access grassroots matric material.
The supplement, which appears every Tuesday in The Herald, has assisted St Thomas Senior Secondary School in Gelvandale since its inception, according to the school principal Tommy Faltein.
"Obviously it is not the only factor but it is definitely one of the contributing ones when it comes to assisting children with interpreting and understanding the matric syllabus," Faltein said.
Matric pupil Daniel Davids, 17, agreed.
"I work through the papers mainly on weekends. A lot of the time they also deal with work which we have not covered yet. So by the time we get to that work in class I already have a general understanding of it because the background is already there," Davids said. "At times it is hard to work alone but the more you work at it, the easier it becomes. The kit is something I recommend for all matrics."
The supplement, which runs throughout the 35-week schooling year, has assisted not only pupils, but their teachers too.
"I found that the survival kit worked brilliantly for me and my students which is why I decided to keep each and every one throughout the year. The supplement is a great way of creating a resource file to fall back on," Woolhope Senior Secondary School teacher Kim Arndt said. "I think it is also very applicable, especially in rural schools were textbooks are not always readily available. It adds a lot of extra value to the curriculum."
Woolhope matriculant Thegan Jantjies, 17, who uses the kit regularly, said she regretted not having used the supplement in Grade 11.
Jantjies advised all Grade 11 students to get a head start by working through the supplement as it had helped her and her peers immensely in their preparations for the year ahead.