Description: The Go for Gold Programme was started in April 1999 as a section 21 company (Reg No: 2002/031311/08) to help disadvantaged learners improve Science and Mathematics and help them to enter the construction and engineering sectors. The lack of Grade 12 learners (particularly from disadvantaged communities) passing higher grade Maths and Science has been a major problem in the Western Cape. The project serves 23 schools in Bonteheuval, Crossroads, Gugulethu, Heideveld, Mannenburg, Phillipi and Mitchell's Plain. Students are chosen on the basis of displaying academic merit, high levels of motivation and the desire to enter the construction industry. The project was a partnership between the Western Cape Education Department (WCED), Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA), the Amy Biehl Foundation and Neil Muller Construction (NMC). These four partners all provided funds on different conditions. The Go for Gold Programme not only involves the tutoring of disadvantaged students but also provides them with practical training, financial support for tertiary studies, and job opportunities
Innovation: The combination of the services provided for the young, disadvantaged learners chosen is a very worthwhile exercise, which will benefit all concerned. The learners are also taught life skills in their tuition and this provides them with the confidence to pass their exams and pursue their interests.
Effectiveness: The programme is in the process of tutoring a group of 62 learners. Seventy-seven have been tutored to date and only two have failed their final exams. Since 2002, there has been a 100% pass rate. Of the 77 that are tutored at school level only four have not continued with some sort of further education. Of these 73 students, 32 have studied for three or more years to gain various qualifications in construction, building, and carpentry courses.
Poverty Impact: The opportunities given to these young adults provide them with a number of important tools to achieve success in their lives and improve their quality of life. The tutoring has provided them with the necessary skills to pass Maths and Science. The Life Skills tutoring has given them the confidence to use their academic success to further their education at a tertiary level and then get jobs.
Sustainability: This project will be sustainable if it continues to achieve good results and can hang on to its teaching staff. If the project is to develop and expand, it will need further sources of funding.
Replication: The basic principles of this project are very innovative. If other public-private partnerships can be formed in other sectors of education and/or in the private sector then many more disadvantaged students will be able to receive higher education and get good jobs.