SOLE Institute is a non-profit organisation whose foundation was driven by South Africa’s growing inequality in access to good education. This issue is the root cause of other social issues, namely increased school dropout rates, teenage pregnancies, growing crime rates, poverty, and unemployment. SOLE Institute believes that if every child is offered a quality education, along with other necessary support, they will begin to enjoy learning and stand a greater chance of defying the odds. We (SOLE Institute) also believe in alternative teaching and learning methods, which employ new technologies, as the best way to provide education to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Scholarships to Mitra Academy
Many children fall through the cracks of the South African local schooling system. Many of the schools are under-resourced with high teacher to student ratios that leave both teachers and students frustrated. To unburden the system, many organisations offer students who would otherwise not afford it, an opportunity to enrol in a private school with better resources thus giving them a better chance to succeed academically.
SOLE Institute has awarded 10 children from Alexandra Township scholarships to study at Mitra Academy which is a tech-based school. These bursaries are awarded based on financial need. The children are currently in grades 4, 5 and 6.
Providing Students with Access to Internet
Access to internet has now become an essential resource in education. In South Africa over 90% of children do not have internet access at home. South Africa’s data prices are amongst the highest on the continent and this serves to increase the inequality gap. To reduce this gap and afford disadvantaged children a better opportunity to succeed academically, SOLE Institute has launched a project that provides them with 19 hours of uncapped internet access daily. To achieve this, donations are received in the form of monthly subscriptions from ordinary citizens who have opted to sign up.
Providing Students with Access to Books
Reading should not be accessible only to the privileged few but to every child. The Book Drive project aims to promote the culture of reading amongst children from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa. This is another way through which education can be made enjoyable and accessible. This way we increase the chances of a better life and opportunities for children who would otherwise have limited options. Through the project, books are collected and loaned to children to read and enjoy and in the process, they develop language and communication skills along with all other benefits that come with being an avid reader.
SOLE Institute wishes to partner with some of South Africa’s top universities to promote research in education but more specifically, alternative methods of education. We believe that the methods employed to educate the current generation cannot be the same as those used to educate older generations. The world of work is constantly changing and so the skills needed to keep up and thrive are also evolving. In addition, teacher training can no longer be the same, it must be adapted to meet the needs of our current society. SOLE thus also plans to partner with universities to help promote relevant teacher training to have a supply of good quality educators. To achieve this, a separate bursary fund for university students who wish to do research in this field will be established.