By Alice Markham – Most of the students at De La Salle Holy Cross College High School in Johannesburg are well on their way home by the early evening, but students of the Victory Park Adult Education Centre hosted on the campus are only just arriving — many after a long day of work.
Every weekday, from 18:00 to 20:00 and on Saturdays from 9:00 16:00, the 170 students of the centre come to the school to further their education in otherwise empty classrooms.
Victory Park Adult Education Centre is a satellite school of the City Deep Public Learning Centre and has been facilitated by De La Salle Holy Cross College since 1985.
Classes are available for those who had challenges completing their schooling, all the way from Grade 1 through to completing the Matric National Senior Certificate, with many of the centre’s students going on to further studies.
The centre also offers classes that help learners gain practical skills, including sewing, ancillary health care, SMME business management and early childhood development, among others.
The school is staffed by a team of ten teachers who put in time far above the two hours a night and are dedicated to creating a supportive and effective learning environment for the learners, giving the centre a tangible sense of community.
“Everyone’s success and failure is celebrated as a group or as classmates being there for one another, through laughter and sorrow,” said Ms Sambo, one of the students.
Education is free from Grades 1 to 11, and Grade 12 learners pay a minimal base fee of R100 for registration with an additional R100 per subject. This low price ensures that the school can provide the opportunity of a second chance at education to those who may not have been able to afford it otherwise.
However, keeping the education centre affordable also means that it lacks many of the basic resources that are needed to facilitate learning. The centre is in need of a computer, photocopier and printer to capture test data, give students access to past papers, and for preparing and printing test papers.
Many learners are in need of basic stationery such as exercise books, pens, pencils and calculators as well as textbooks. The centre also needs sewing machines for the Saturday classes.
“Our aim is to empower, motivate and enable students to prosper in their chosen careers and, in turn, contribute effectively and efficiently in the economy,” said Francis Mabunda, the centre’s principal.
The Victory Park Adult Education Centre also inspires the community of De La Salle Holy Cross College High School.
“ The centre is doing exemplary work to help those who have been given fewer opportunities to advance themselves and is expecting another year of excellent results, said principal Debbie Harris.
“We are so inspired by these hard-working students, and our contribution and support reflects our school motto: ‘Be first that you may be of Service’.”
Alice Markram is a Grade 11 pupil at De La Salle Holy Cross College.