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Mathematics and English made easy!

By Mzukona Mantshontsho

Learning Alive was established in Orlando West, Soweto in 2012 in response to a need for quality yet affordable education for previously marginalised learners.

Over 300 schools in South Africa are dropping mathematics as a subject choice for learners, according to the Solidarity-affiliated Union for Afrikaans Mathematics Teachers (VAW), as learners opt for easier versions of the subject, such as mathematics literacy.

Spoke with Education Practitioner Reuben Xaba from Learning Alive about how the programme started and how it is doing.

The number of high school students electing to take subjects which are vital to the economy such as accounting, mathematics and physical sciences is on a steady decline.

The number of students taking mathematics declined from 263,903 in 2015, to 222,034 in 2019 (a decline of 16%) – with just 121,179 of those students passing the subject.

Reuben had the following to say; “Learning Alive has positioned itself as leaders in supplementary education, because we believe that it is during those times on Saturday mornings and after school that learners truly focus their energies on learning and improving their grades, instead of wasting their time on counter-productive activities”.

“Furthermore, one of the core missions of Learning Alive is to equip learners with critical thinking skills so that they can not only navigate through challenges that they face in their academic career but also through challenges that they may face in life”.

We asked Reuben when Learning Alive was introduced to Cosmo City and how has the reception been with parents and learners?

“The programme in Cosmo City started because we found that Cosmo City like Learning Alive is a City that is coming into itself and we identified the need of the learners to do better in Mathematics and English so that they could successfully pursue higher level education. The programme in Soweto was received so well that we are opening other branches”.

We asked Reuben why the specific focus on Mathematics and English. “Mathematics and English are core subject areas as they help determine the future learning of our learners, and these are subjects that our learners find most challenging, according to our investigations. These subjects have a lot of content that requires critical thinking skills that we like to cultivate in our learners”.

We asked Reuben what Learning Alive can promise to our parents and learners.  “Through our innovative curriculum which is line with the CAPS curriculum, our learners gain critical thinking skills, self-development as well as an improved grade average. Our teachers are all qualified teachers and go through a rigorous interview process, which includes a demonstration lesson, to ensure the best of the best for your child”.

University degrees in the sciences and engineering typically don’t count mathematics literacy when looking at mathematics passes for entry requirements, and a number of scholarships and bursaries on offer in this field also specifically exclude mathematics literacy.

“The Learning Alive formula is working and we are looking forward to opening more centres around Gauteng, and eventually South Africa, to bring quality education to previously marginalised communities at an affordable rate,” he concluded.



Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity. Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them. Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS. Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.

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