Evaluation of a franchised supplementary programme in English as a second language in South Africa : A case study
Fernandes-Martins, Maria Manuela
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In South Africa, schooling and literacy in an African home language, in public primary schools, is initially provided to learners in the first three years but as from the fourth year often change to English (and in some instances, Afrikaans) as the language of learning as well as the medium of instruction. Within a multilingual and multicultural context, parents perceive English to be of greater value for their children to learn and although not all families can afford it, some households will invest their financial resources in after-school extra-curricular activities such as private supplementary tutoring. The private tutoring sector is meant to complement the public schooling system and is often referred to as shadow education. One of the few language programmes registered as a franchise for teaching and learning English as a second language, Active English, is offered to learners in communities across South Africa. In South Africa, there is a paucity of research and studies on marketed private tutoring opportunities. There is also a perennial need for language education programmes to be evaluated and improved in order to illustrate best practice. This study focuses on the method concept to language teaching and evaluates the interrelated components of a programme at the level of design and approach within an established framework that may be used to evaluate other franchised language programmes. Every component of the programme that was evaluated received an overall rating statement that captures the essence of the findings. Qualitative research, in the form of an ethnographic study (that of a case study) was conducted at an owner-operated centre in the Vaal Triangle area (Gauteng Province) of the Active English franchise, in order to collect data and information from Grade 3 and Grade 4 learners enrolled in the language programme, their parents, and from the franchisor. For this, classroom observations (including a classroom environment survey) were conducted along with interviews with the respective grade groups and the franchisor. Documents establishing the programme for potential franchisees were analysed and interpreted and the responses from a questionnaire distributed to parents are reported on as frequencies. Although the programme holds the potential to be effective in other language contexts, the outcome of the evaluation of the programme is that it is a supplementary tutoring service working effectively but primarily, for bilingual Afrikaans-English speakers at this moment in time. This study contributes with findings and data in the broader body of knowledge of shadow education in South Africa. This study also attempts to address the fact that franchised supplementary programmes potentially foster inequalities in an already unequal society, uplift and supplement the perceived inadequate education in public schools in South Africa, and indicate to policy-makers that they need to play a role in observing, monitoring, and possibly, regulating this form of shadow education in South Africa.
- Humanities