Enabling achievers

The Achieve programme is reaching out to students who would have either dropped out of education or had nothing to show for it after eleven years of schooling

The Prince’s Trust International Achieve Programme was first introduced in seven state secondary schools/centres in scholastic year 2015-2016, and rolled in all secondary schools in 2016-2017. The programme is primarily targeted at students following the Core Curriculum Programme (CCP).

An evaluation was carried out in 2017 with the purpose of mapping out the experiences and views of students, educators, parents/guardians, Directorate Officials and a Head of school where the programme was launched.

The results of three questionnaire surveys show that more than 8 in 10 of the 151 student respondents reported that they are happy and content following the Achieve programme. In addition, more than 9 in 10 of the 76 parents/guardians who participated in the survey indicated that their son/daughter had settled down nicely in the Achieve programme and, with the exception of a few, all parents/guardians felt that since embarking on the programme their son/daughter is doing either well or very well at school. Moreover, almost 8 in 10 of the 64 participating educators are of the opinion that most XL students were now generally benefitting much more than ever before from their scholastic experience. Asked about the suitability of the Achieve programme, more than 9 in 10 educators felt that is indeed either suitable or very suitable for these students.          

On the basis of these and other salient findings one may safely conclude that the Achieve programme is generally well received by students, parents/guardians and educators. The Achieve experience is proving to be a positive one to most students, not least because what they are doing in the programme has tangible relevance to their future aspirations. Also, it would appear that for the first time these students are being given the opportunity to experience immediate gratification for their efforts in their studies; of obtaining certification of sorts on completion of a credit/option. This has resulted in improved motivation and increased engagement in their education.  The choice of topics covered in the programme; the emphasis on hands-on activities; and the individual attention and support that students receive are among the factors that are contributing much to the success of the programme - these are rendering the programme a positive, worthwhile, experience to most students. There is convergence between students and educators on several aspects of the programme of studies and its implementation, including the importance of the emphasis placed on life skills, and the need to increase the number of Achieve lessons. Apart from the latter, there are other issues which warrant addressing, including class size (student - teacher ratio) and the lack of time available for educators to meet with colleagues to discuss the programme of studies.

This evaluation shows in no uncertain terms that the  Achieve programme  is serving an important role within the educational system by reaching out to those students who otherwise would have either dropped out of education altogether or had nothing to show for it after eleven years of formal schooling. The good work that was already being carried out in some schools found in the Achieve programme a much needed system of accreditation and structure which were previously lacking. It would appear that there is now a need to take the programme to the next level, not least by ensuring that what is covered in the programme has some currency if students want to pursue their training or if they wish to enter the world of work.

The educational system has for the most part proved quite inconsequential and irrelevant to these students. The Achieve programme is proving to be one very valid way of addressing this deficit; of opening up opportunities for these students to successfully continue on their educational journey with a purpose.

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