8 March 2022 gold-youth Partners with Reflective Learning on exciting Numeracy innovation

Reflective Learning is an organization that provides a personalized catch-up course to bridge students’ gaps in understanding mathematical concepts. Filling this gap benefits young people far beyond their school mathematics classes, as studies show that numeracy shapes the ability of young people to flourish.

An expert in mathematics education, Aysun Umay, says that mathematics education allows us to survive in our complex life by allowing us to link between events, reason, make predictions and problem-solve in daily life. Additionally, Jain and Rogers, in ‘Adults Learning Mathematics’, explain that university departments increasingly require students to have a foundational understanding of numeracy because data representation, analysis and interpretation are considered essential skills for study in any discipline, as well as in life-long learning.

After receiving recognition through the Global EdTech Startup Awards in 2020, where Reflective Learning was named best in South Africa and the fourth best in the world, founders Eugene Pelteret and Keelan Whiting have been keen to understand how the tool can be used in different contexts, shifting their modalities of implementation. After conducting trials in many different South African contexts, engaging learners at home during the pandemic, in top-end schools and in rural communities, they feel that they are now ready to apply their rich learnings to the rest of Africa, and have opted to move forward with gold-youth.

Established in 2004, gold Youth Development Agency (gold-youth) has been consumed by a dream of an Africa where young leaders from across the continent know the gold that is inside of them and live this out with purpose, changing the system of youth education and upbringing – enabling all young people to grow up in their communities to be healthy, spiritually alive adults who contribute towards social and economic flourishing.

The organization has also won its fair share of recognition in the educational space, most notably in 2019 receiving the African Union Innovating Education in Africa Innovator’s Award and being selected by the HundrED 2020 Global Collectionas one of the world’s leading education innovators. Through the gold Youth Peer Education Model, gold-youth is embedding peer leaders and their mentors into schools and communities, developing young people from being passive recipients of negative norms to proactive agents of positive change, who are empowering themselves and their peers to become the ethical and economically independent leaders of tomorrow.

During 2022, gold-youth and Reflective Learning are collaborating in embedding the Reflective Learning solution into the gold Model in five African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda. In serving these vastly different communities, gold-youth anticipates testing and building a case for scalability to the rest of Africa. gold-youth has set an audacious mid-term goal to develop 10 million young African leaders by 2032, measuring long-term impact, based on outcomes that demonstrate social behaviour change and reduced risky behaviour, improved education and increased employability supported by scalable youth job creation strategies. The organization understands that numeracy is a key factor for participation in the economy and in broader society.

As Zaheera Soomar, Head of Education for Socio-development and Partnerships at Anglo American says, ‘without numeracy, people are generally excluded from the very activities which would allow them to forge a meaningful future’. Added to this, Andreas Schleicher, the Director for Education and Skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says that good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.

Reflective Learning has seen that there are three critical minimum requirements for successful implementation: buy-in from the community, reliable tech infrastructure, and time. gold-youth’s proven, long-standing focus on sustainable community impact and deep stakeholder engagement offers a healthy space for buy-in and shows the organization’s commitment to investing the time needed to affect change in young people. However, gold-youth knows that reliable tech infrastructure, especially in the densely populated township or more sparse rural areas where their Test and Reference sites are located, will need to be an area of focus during implementation.

It is with great excitement that gold-youth embraces the challenges as well as the innovation opportunities that lie ahead, looking forward to sharing learnings and exchanging data with Reflective Learning as this pilot is rolled out. It is clear that the partnership offers an excellent synergy of goals.

Written by: Renette Pickering – gold-youth Research and Development Manager

Below: Peer Education activities at a High School in Zimbabwe.

Below: Facilitator Intern guiding Peer Educators through group discussion at camp in Zambia