Empowering tomorrow’s leaders

Much fun was had on 25 November 2023 when Sol Plaatje University (SPU) hosted the Talent Pipeline Programme (TPP) Family Day in Postmasburg.

Grade 10 learners together with learners, their parents and guardians, school principals, maths and science educators, gathered with the TPP coordinating team to share more information about the TPP, the programme for the 2024 academic year for the learners and expectations from the learners’ support structure. The session also afforded parents and guardians an opportunity to understand what the programme is all about and how best to support the child during this programme and well into post matric education.

At the TPP Family Day families were officially welcomed by Helen English, Executive Mayor of the Tsantsabane Local Municipality. She encouraged learners to pursue their dreams and encouraged parents to continue to support their children throughout their education careers.

The flagship project, the TPP at Sol Plaatje University is a pre-university enrichment programme aimed at increasing the academic, social, and psychosocial preparation of learners to enter higher education. The top 10 performing learners in grades 10, 11 and 12 are identified from a broad range of under-resourced schools in the Northern Cape Province and are selected to be part of the programme. Ms Darleen Botha, Superintendent SED and ESD from Assmang who are the funders of the three-year programme, indicated their role as stakeholders in the programme: “We realised that investing in young people should start sooner than later, and this gives them an opportunity to establish what they want to become in the future and set attainable goals.” She further committed to extending the programme and giving opportunities to the local community.

SPU’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Andrew Crouch, shared the vision and goals of the Talent Pipeline Programme (TPP) with attendees. He provided an in-depth look at the TPP, highlighting the comprehensive experience learners gain through academic, sports, and recreational programs. Prof Crouch stressed the importance of family support in ensuring the success of this initiative for learners from the Northern Cape regions. He emphasized that the TPP goes beyond academic skill development to instill values like respect, cultural diversity, and unity. He also expressed gratitude to the funders for their steadfast support and commitment to the programme.

As part of TPP, learners are accommodated at the University during their school holidays (one week in March, two weeks in June and one week in September) and participate in a programme that focuses on a psychosocial, educational enrichment curriculum of deep immersion in 10 subject areas: Mathematics, Scientific Thinking, Science, Molecular Literacy, Computer Science, Language, Economics and Law, Diversity Studies and International Relations.

During the TPP Family Day, grade 10 learners from Blinkklip High School, Ratang Thuto High School and Postmasburg High School who commenced the programme earlier this year told participants about their experience and shared some of their challenges and strides made during their first year. The TPP Family Day created an atmosphere of inclusion of all stakeholders present and opened the lines of communication between the University, learners in the programme and their families.

SPU students who served as mentors for the grade 10 learners provided information to parents and learners about their role as mentors, that aims to ensure that learners have a holistic approach in the programme and the support they offer to the learners. An engagement followed with parents, learners, the University, and the funder on how better to improve the programme and ensure that learners succeed academically and are supported through safe social and recreational activities.

As part of the University’s commitment to community engagement, SPU strives to create an inclusive environment with learners and parents in ensuring learners from the Northern Cape and across the country have opportunities that will elevate them and their communities at large.

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