Teacher to the rescue

2016-03-17 06:00
Senzo Kedama, Julian Finye, teacher, Alakhe Vunana, Mandilakhe Mxoli and Aviwe Mayaphi at the rented space in the RDP house in Site C, Khayelitsha, on Monday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

Senzo Kedama, Julian Finye, teacher, Alakhe Vunana, Mandilakhe Mxoli and Aviwe Mayaphi at the rented space in the RDP house in Site C, Khayelitsha, on Monday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Former school-teacher Julian Finye knows the daily challenges faced by teachers and pupils alike first hand; that our education system does not impart the requisite skills and knowledge in the young minds; that even in their secondary level of schooling, they leave the system barely able to read and write well.

Finye,56, a veteran when it comes to matters of pedagogy, having taught mathematics in various schools in Gugulethu and Langa, has started a project called Silver Moon; afternoon classes that help children in Khayelitsha and Philippi with the subject.

“I was concerned after I realised that all the children were struggling with reading and math. I then developed the idea of starting the centre, doing one on one sessions with the learners which helps them and also helps their teachers, because I get to know exactly where is they struggle. Teachers are overloaded with work at school and they do not have time to do one on one sessions with individual learners.” .

She started Silver Moon Learning Centre about three years ago as a result, and the project has since received nothing but praise from the parents of the learners.

Finye was a teacher at Sonwabo Primary School in Gugulethu and also taught at Zimasa Public Primary School in Langa.

She has also worked as an administrator at the City of Cape Town until 2012.

Finye said she was bothered to see her children struggling with reading and that they could not do simple calculations for math.

She then invited other children from her street in Philippi, to see if they were also struggling with their studies.

They also write tests and she communicates with the teachers of the learners to ensure that learners do not get confused by the duality of being taught the same subject by two different teachers.

Her ‘classes’ accommodates learners between Grades 1 to 7. The classes start at 3pm until 6pm. Finye conducts classes in Khayelitsha on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. She is in Philippi on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

She conducts her classes in a small rented space in an RDP house on Maphongwana Street, in Site C Khayelitsha and also at the Browns Farm Library, in Philippi.

She pays a R400 a month lease on the RDP house and she depends mostly on a voluntary contribution from parents.

The contribution from parents also goes to stationery.

“I wish to get a bigger space, because the space here cannot accommodate the number of learners that come here. We really appeal to anyone who can help us, because the contribution from parents cannot match the demand for operation of the centre.

The project has become so popular that some learners arrive on its doorstep from as far as Mfuleni, Kuils River, Kuyasa and Harare.

She said most of these learners struggle with transport, especially in winter.

“I am doing this out of love, because I can see that it is helping the learners at the end of the day,” she added.

Finye has also roped in her son, Nelson, a grade 10 learner, to help the grade 7 learners with mathematics. 

She is also concerned that teachers give learners homework and tell them to ask their parents to help them, when they know that some parents are illiterate and even those who can read, are not well-versed with the curriculum.

Ntombifikile Kedama, a parent whose child attends Vuselela Primary School in Site C, praised Finye for her work.

“At first I doubted the classes, but I soon realised that she was doing a great job in helping our children. I really undermined her, but she proved me wrong. I noticed a dramatical change in my child after she started attending the classes. I am very happy. I want her to continue coming here, because I see the good results that my child is getting at school,” Kedama said.

Aviwe Mayaphi, 13, a Grade 6 leaner from Nolungile Primary School, also spoke fondly of the classes.

“I started coming here last year. I learn a lot of things from her, that is why I keep coming back here. She also helps me with homework,” Mayaphi said.

Finye asked parents not to wait until towards the end of the year to send their children to the centres, because that turns-out to cause panic to the learners

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