• Wits to offer free online courses for Africans

    Students from Africa and the rest of the world will now be able to access Wits University's expertise in a range of fields from economics to the palaeosciences through the South African institution's partnership with edX, a non-profit initiative founded by MIT and Harvard.

  • How to stop violence against women and children

    Do you think you are being abused? Do you suspect a friend or child you know is being abused? Are you an abuser? With the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children under way in South Africa, we present a fact sheet with advice on how to spot abuse, and ways to stop it.

  • Automotive plant in the Coega IDZ

    Scheme aims to boost investment in SA vehicle production

    The Vehicles-Automotive Investment Scheme has been extended to include the makers of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in a move aimed at growing and developing the sector in South Africa.

  • The African middle class is expanding rapidly on the back of strong economic growth

    Africa is becoming increasingly attractive to retailers

    Tapping into Africa's fast growing consumer market, African-focused trading firm CFAO Group has signed up five French retail brands that will open shops in its malls across the continent.

  • Awards honour four young SA creatives

    The Arts and Culture Trust Awards, now in their 20th year, recognise young South African artists with promising futures. This year's winners, announced on Wednesday, are Jade Bowers for theatre, Thabo Makhethe-Kwinana for design, Bevan de Wet for visual art, and Nomfundo Xaluva for music.

  • Competitiveness on the agenda in Ghana

    Ghanaian and South African officials, business people, civil society representatives and students have been meeting in Accra this week to explore and share ways to build competitive African nation brands and promoting active citizenship as a key ingredient for democracy, development and economic growth.

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Township school leads to academic success


A township school operating from mobile classrooms on a rented piece of land is administering one of the world¿s most prestigious and rigorous academic qualifications ¿ the Cambridge International Examinations curriculum.

Costing them just R200 a month, the African School of Excellence (ASE) in Tsakane, on Johannesburg¿s East Rand, offers township pupils A Levels qualifications that will enable them to get into prestigious universities around the world.

Although the school¿s fees are R200 a month, it costs R8 000 a year to teach each pupil; the balance of the funds subsidised by corporate donors. The school will apply for government funding once its new premises are built.

The school is the brainchild of social entrepreneurs Nonhlanhla Masina, Jay Kloppenberg and Melusi Radebe. Masina and Radebe are former schoolmates from Tsakane who attended the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) together. They conceived the idea after they matriculated in 2006 and went to Wits.

Masina told City Press: ¿When I arrived at Wits, I realised that I was hopelessly unprepared for the demands of academic life. Academically, I was weak and unprepared. And it suddenly dawned on me that this was what most people with a similar background [as me] had to go through.¿

The ASE model is all about taking the very best teachers, instilling students with confidence and a passion for learning, and then using technology to amplify that effect. The school was launched in January 2013 after running successful pilot programmes in Ghana and South Africa.

This followed classes run by Masina and Radebe during winter and summer school holidays. They realised that for the pupils were to walk into any university in the world and succeed, their efforts were woefully inadequate.

According to an internal study from October 2013, ASE found that its students had reached comparable levels in mathematics, reading, and writing to their British peers, despite beginning the year well below these levels. Kloppenberg and ASE believe that children should not be deprived of quality education because of their backgrounds.


ASE Tsakane currently enrols pupils in grades 7 and 8. It has four lead teachers, eight academic advisers, and three curriculum writers.

Kloppenberg told City Press: ¿What the kids don¿t have when they come to us is a lot of money and good foundational skills. What they do have is an incredible passion for learning. And we wanted to use the passion to give them an education as good as the very best schools in the country.

¿We want our scholars to be able to step into any university in the world and expect to succeed.¿

Last year, ASE put 87 Grade 7 pupils through a numeracy and literacy programme too intense for them as none of them could read above Grade 3 level. Kloppenberg said: ¿By the end of

Circus concert to tackle HIV stigma

zip-zap---thumbCape Town's Zip Zap Circus works with HIV-positive youth. A concert in conjunction with Médecins Sans Frontières and the Treatment Action Campaign on World Aids Day will promote putting condoms in schools, sticking to your treatment and overturning the stigma of the virus.

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