On Friday the 15th of July, Cornerstone Institute hosted a meeting with our Community Merit Partners (CMPs), and for them, staff and faculty to attend Katherine Morse’s presentation on The (in)-accessibility of Higher Education to High School learners from previously-disadvantaged communities.
Katherine Morse has done lots of fieldwork in High Schools in Cape Town, and is at present finishing her Masters through dissertation at UCT, exploring the gap between higher education aspirations and reality among adolescents. She presented some of her findings.
Approximately 25 people attended.
Katherine explained that adolescents that score fairly low on their subjects in high school inflate their marks with quite a high percentage when asked to recall from memory. This leaves them with an unrealistic view on how they are doing at school. The lower the marks, the less realistic their plans and expectations are regarding their future possibilities for further studies.
UCT seems to be the dream of many high school learners, while, due to limited spaces and strict requirements for admission, it is not that easy to get into. What happens then to those dreams?
As children of the new South Africa,learners are often told that they can become anything they want to be, but this is of course an unrealistic view. Not all can or should become doctors or lawyers. Katherine pointed out that there is very little offered to pupils to dream about the more regular jobs, like plumbing, building, teaching or radiology, for example.
The question we were left with was how we could fix this line of unrealistic expectations in children and teenagers.
The reaction from our participants was positive and the feedback rich.
I felt it was a very powerful session and gave food for thought for further dialogue.
Sytske P, self-funded CI associate.