At The African School for Excellence in Tsakane, South Africa, the administration believes that each child thinks perfectly; that successful people are made, not born; that learning is social and emotional; that teachers are researchers of learning, not dispensers of knowledge; and that learning is best when it happens through discovery.
These core values are already enough to make any parent want to send their child to this institution of learning, but the ASE is much more than just a school: It’s also on the vanguard of redesigning how we view education, one opportunity at a time.
UPROXX sent Britt Ellis to learn more about the school and understand why ASE is more necessary now than ever. And the answers are staggering.
“About 20 percent of the government’s budget in South Africa is focused on education, it’s a priority” says Autumn Williams, executive director of the ASE Foundation. “But the reality is that it doesn’t mean equality or opportunity.” While most black South Africans attend these government schools, and despite the government’s budget, these students are not getting the education they need and deserve. That’s evidenced in literacy and mathematics scores, which put these students “far below the averages you see in other African countries that have the same economic statuses.” Tsakane, one of the poorest regions in South Africa was, before ASE, no different.
This disparity, explains Nonhlanhla Masina, co-founder of ASE, has everything to do with the dark history of resource distribution in the country. Due to this, even the quality of teaching in the schools is incredibly divided, with the black majority bearing the brunt of the inequality. And ASE wants to change that, not just in South Africa but any place on earth where children are denied quality learning experiences due to economic constraints.