As part of its corporate social investment (CSI) strategy, a sponsorship by contact centre solutions provider, Ocular Technologies, allowed the entire 2011 Grade 12 class of Alexandra-based Realogile Secondary School to take part in an initiative that assists students in learning practical study methods. As a result, the school’s 2010 pass rate of 34,3 percent increased to 65,4 percent in 2011.
“The sponsorship was undertaken by Ocular as a step to help improve the current high failure rate within local schools and tertiary institutes. We are thus immensely proud of the learners and their results,” says Pommie Lutchman, CEO at Ocular Technologies.
“It is a very sad fact that approximately 65 percent of learners writing matric in South Africa every year will fail. The 136 Grade 12 learners who made up the Realogile class of 2011 thus faced a huge challenge to exceed expectations for the end-of-year pass rate.”
Lutchman believes that the Ukufunda Study Methods approach of “whole brain training” brought a ray of hope to these scholars, by equipping them with study methods that provided them with the necessary skills to succeed.
“Ukufunda aims to increase students’ self efficacy, reinforcing the belief that they are capable of performing in a certain manner in order to achieve set goals. It not only allows them to develop improved thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills, read with speed and understanding and reduce study time, this method also provides an indefinite retention of information and, ultimately, improved grades and a better way of life.
“One of the key elements to this studying process is the realisation of potential,” he adds.
Ocular sponsored Realogile Grade 12 learners to complete the first three modules of the Ukufunda course, in order to provide the best traction in terms of enhancing learners’ abilities to deal with the Grade 12 final examinations.
Module One covers studying and retaining information, addressing memory control, mnemonic systems, techniques to familiarise unknown information and data and the modification of old information in order to learn new information. Module Two looks at practical methods for learning, such as improving textbook skills, extracting the relevant facts from information, using brain triggers or key words and effective summarising. Module Three helps to improve reading skills by building up vocabulary, showing learners how to speed read and scan, and increasing comprehension.
During 2011, the Realogile matriculants were split into four classes of an average of 34 students, and learners’ results were tracked over the course of the year until the final-year exams.
“Ocular is more than just a benefactor to the students at Realogile,” states Lutchman. “Our intention is to establish a working relationship with this school over the next two to three years so that we may track the progress and efficacy of the course itself, and be instrumental in changing these students’ lives over the long term.”
“Ocular Technologies has made a breakthrough in investing in the long term future of the Grade 12 learners at Realogile Secondary School,” says James Jooste, division manager at Ukufunda Study Methods. “This company believes in true empowerment of the youth of our country by equipping them with the relevant skills to succeed in their final exams and life as responsible adults. The investment that Ocular is making has reaped real rewards. Nothando Training, a UK accredited whole brain learning training company, tracked the learners’ progress. For learners, a percentage increase in grades could mean the difference between passing and failing, a standard pass or matric exemption either outcome would be life changing.”
Lutchman stresses that Ocular is committed to the initiative and believes that an 80 percent increase is achievable in the future.