In a nutshell
The After School Game Changer is an after-school programme and one of the Western Cape Government’s seven game changer projects. The programme is based on the premise “that regular and consistent participation of learners in after school programmes will improve learner outcomes, reduce school dropout rates and reduce risk taking behaviour’’.
What we do
Many young people in the Western Cape leave school each day and enter unsafe, violent neighbourhoods and homes, where they often lack adult supervision. Consequently, they are at high risk of engaging in destructive and anti-social behaviour, such as abusing alcohol and drugs, engaging in sexual risk-taking behaviour and becoming involved in gangs. Involvement in these activities threatens their futures and, more often than not, leaves them trapped in a cycle of poverty.
In response, the Western Cape Government initiated the After School Game Changer (AS GC) programme. This After School Programme (ASP) is for children from no/low fee schools. The programme aims to provide positive, quality after-school activities and an alternative after-school environment to children living in violent and socio-economically deprived communities in the Western Cape.
After School Game Changer Goal
The measure of success, or Key Performance Indicator, is that at least 20% of no-fee and low-fee learners in the Province - 112 000 learners - regularly and consistently attend quality after school programmes at least twice a week.
• Improved attitude towards learning
• Improved school outcomes
• Improved school retention
• Improved matric results
• Reduction in risk taking behaviour
To achieve the programme goal, the Western Cape Government’s AS GC focuses on three key levers of change:
• Lever 1: To create an enabling environment for ASPs
This includes ensuring there is good leadership, information on the available offerings, safe and secure spaces for ASPs, IT access and access to food.
• Lever 2: To ensure learners in ASPs access quality programming
This includes ensuring learners have access to a choice of sport and recreation, arts and culture, life skills and academic support programmes (four pillars). In addition, these programmes must actively engage learners and build learners skills and mastery.
• Lever 3: To expand the ASP through collaboration and partnerships
This focuses on developing mechanisms for harnessing the collective resources of all spheres of government, donors and civil society to expand quality programmes in the Western Cape. Currently, the focus is on developing different collaborative mechanisms at five sites in the province.
How we do it
The AS GC has an inter-departmental and intersectoral approach. The programme is a collaborative effort between the City of Cape Town and five of the Western Cape Government Departments. These departments are the a) Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports (DCAS), b) Department of Community Safety (DOCS), c) Department of the Premier (DotP), d) Department of Social Development, and e) Western Cape Education Department. The AS GC project office is located in the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports. The AS GC works with the City of Cape Town to provide ASPs at recreational hubs and libraries. This work is currently focused on Atlantis and Gunya. The AS GC is hoping to extend this partnership to other municipal areas and NGOs. The AS GC works closely with civil society and in particular NGOs offering ASPs. This work is coordinated via The Learning Trust and Community Chest, both established donors with existing NGO networks, as stakeholders. Programme partners are involved in the following interventions:
The Mass participation; Opportunity and access; Development and growth (MOD) programme is managed by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sports. It provides an opportunity for children from underprivileged communities to engage in sports, arts, cultural and healthy recreational activities after school in a positive, supervised and safe environment. It operates from around 2pm-6pm at MOD Centres which are usually situated at schools in disadvantaged communities. The programme was initiated in 2010, and there are now 181 MOD Centres providing after school activities to over 40 000 learners.
The WCED’s ePortal provides online educational resources for educators, caregivers, learners, school management and school governing bodies (SGBs). Its primary aim is to assist learners to better their educational outcomes.
The YearBeyond Programme is an initiative of the Western Cape Government in partnership with non-governmental entities including Action Volunteers Africa, IkamvaYouth, Shine, Edunova, and the Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert Leadership Institute at Stellenbosch University. The programme has a volunteer development and a learner development component. It involves peer educators (volunteers aged 18-25) tutoring primary and high school learners at after school facilities, and is managed together with the MOD programme. Programme objectives for learners include: to assist struggling students with their school work and to improve their overall academic performance; and to reduce the number of learners dropping out of school. The benefits of the programme for peer educators include: volunteer experience; participation in three courses which culminate in receiving a leadership qualification from the Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert Institute; participation in the ‘’Innovation Challenge’’ – an employment readiness skills training initiative; and engagement in self-development activities.
After School Programmes run by NGOs and local authorities
Other ASPs are run by NGOs, CBOs, and local municipal authorities in partnership with the Western Cape Government.
After School Partial Care
In keeping with their mandate under the Children’s Act, the Department of Social Development funds numerous NGOs in the province to manage after school programmes at partial care facilities.
What we have achieved
The AS GC has a strong monitoring and evaluation focus, in order to ensure that programme efficacy and impact is maximized.
- The development of a code of conduct;
- Establishing of a community of practice which meets once a quarter and is managed by The Learning Trust;
- The establishment of the Excellence Awards, which are leadership awards for principals;
- The establishment of the NGO award and Sports coach award;
- The creation of an interactive map under Edu-collaborate mapping;
- The development of all ASPs;
- The creation of an auditing tool; and
- Conducting practitioner capacity building and training programmes, including an accredited course.
What we have learned
A significant challenge for the AS GC programme is ensuring the safety of the after-school spaces and ensuring the safety of learners, programme leaders and educators when leaving after the programme. An independent audit of MOD and Partial After Care sites found that between a quarter and one third of the sites experienced some violence impacting on learners’ sense of safety and participation in such programmes. These same audits found that about half of the school safety plans included some plan for after school hours and about a quarter had trained after school staff and volunteers in the plans. These audits suggest there is no comprehensive approach for ensuring the safety of learners, educators and programme staff at after-school facilities.
The AS GC has piloted a number of interventions to address these safety challenges, including:
• Overtime for School Resource Officers (SROs) who provide safety support to after-school programmes at ten of the SRO intervention schools.
• Use of Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs) - As part of the NHW pilot intervention at Dr Nelson Mandela High, two NHW members were on duty during Saturday and holiday classes. Additional NHW agreements have been concluded at five other sites/clusters.
• Extension of school safety marshals to include coverage of after school programmes at three schools
While there are pros and cons to each of these interventions, the real challenge is provision of support to all 300 after school programmes in a cost-effective manner.