4. Goals and future projects

My personal goal: I aim to start Academic Centers in South Africa that support the learning done in schools and prepare young adults to be job-ready through basic skills training.

  • Firstly, it will be a 'place of safety' for students from all the possible negative influences that abound in unsupervised circumstances.
  • Secondly, it will be a place of Learning and Revision where academic work (homework and assignments) is supervised and assisted.
  • Thirdly, it will be a place of skill-building where students will access basic literacy development and computer literacy skills development
  • Additionally, it will be a source of community employment and involvement that will provide the community with sustainable support and encouragement.

What makes these centers different?

The centers will be a place for intercultural communication between international mentors (international students/experts/professionals) who have a vested interest in education and South African students enrolled at these educational centers.

International mentors submit short skill-building proposals to the center and, once approved, will arrange to implement the short skills building programs in the centers. Once these programs have been implemented physically, further programs, correspondence and communication between current center students and internationals will continue via technology, therefore incorporating the technology skills learned, forming a cross-cultural connection between South Africa and initially the United States, but eventually globally.

How does this benefit the students?

South African students will be exposed to intercultural communication, meet an international mentor in the field that they intend to pursue or skill they are learning, and get to implement their skills knowledge through future computer-based correspondence.

How does this benefit the international mentors?

International mentors will not only get the opportunity to develop, implement and monitor short, intensive, skill-building courses to South African students, but also be able to use this opportunity to visit and explore South Africa. International mentors will in addition become a source of information and interest to students, as well as a link for them to international affairs.

How are these centers sustainable?

Each international mentor who presents skills-based workshops will become a part of the center's virtual social network. Current and future students can access the site and communicate virtually with mentors they have actually met or might still meet in person. This network will assist students to not only access the relevant information they need, but also provide a link to future mentoring and expose the students to a larger network they would otherwise not have access to. Each center will also have access to each other and hopefully centers like these all across Africa will eventually link up virtually. Students who have graduated from the centers will in turn become mentors for current students which will also assist in job creation.

What else do the centers offer?

Each center will have a large study room with individual cubicles against the walls for quiet, individual study and large round tables for quiet study in groups or pairs. There will also be study rooms equipped with smart boards where group study can take place and will have one large table and several chairs.

Each center will have a computer room with working internet where students and the community may access the internet.

A membership fee and a membership card to the center allows every member access to the center and the courses on offer, as well as the communal study centers and computer rooms. This ensures that the community has a vested interest in the center and feels they belong and have access to it.

Every center will have a kitchen where skilled people from the community will be hired to cook lunches. These lunches will be available to the community at large at an affordable price and will be free for mentors. Members to the center will receive a small discount for cooked lunches. 

Student fees will be partly paid by the students and part funded. In this way a sense of ownership and responsibility is instilled in the student.

Each student will be assigned a mentor from a list of trained mentors who are previous students who have graduated from the center.  As part of a student’s mentorship contract the student will offer their services for 10 hours back to the center. Certificates will not be issued until the 10 hours of center service is fulfilled.