Locating an asset-based approach as a catalyst for resilience in resource-constrained schools: narratives from secondary schools in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
Date: 27 March 2023, 18.00-19.00: Public guest lecture
Room: R.212 (Stadscampus, Rodestraat)
This public lecture is positioned within the contested space of how children learn. During the lecture, Prof (Dr) Mpofu will advance the notion that effective learning is a result of an asset-based approach (also known as a strengths-based approach) mindset. This approach views students’ uniqueness in terms of culture, language, ability, socioeconomic status, gender identity, immigration status and others as valuable assets for the learning community. As a result of these differences, students in most sub-Saharan African countries continue to face major challenges in maintaining quality secondary education for a number of political, economic, historical and cultural reasons. For most of the youths, secondary education is the last formal schooling opportunity they have before becoming part of the unemployed statistics or the workforce. It is critical therefore that secondary school education prepares the youths with the skills they need to enter the job market or seize entrepreneurship opportunities. Most secondary schools lack the resources and skills to be able to transform the curriculum to address the needs of the knowledge-based economy in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Notwithstanding these challenges, there are narratives of resilience drawn from the community’s cultural and linguistic assets that resource-constrained schools use to achieve excellent academic results. In this public lecture, prof. Mpofu will highlight the types of secondary school in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and detail the challenges that they continue to face. Drawing from the concepts of an asset-based approach, I provide details on the creative ways in which resource-constrained secondary schools have continued to prepare the youths creatively for higher education and for the job market. Specifically, I will highlight the community and academic support strategies that communities use to affirm the youth's voice and resilience for academic success.