What makes SAILI different from traditional scholarship schemes?
SAILI uses scholarship to improve access to quality schooling for economically disadvantaged families. We guide talented students into effective schools with strong Maths and Science performance. We identify schools that are geographically accessible and socially similar to the students, maximising family and wider community support.
Many high-profile scholarship schemes remove students from their community and family either by geographical relocation or by attempting to integrate the students into a school that is socially very different. These students need high levels of psychosocial support to continue to thrive and achieve in what they experience as a stressful situation.
By contrast, SAILI students stay connected to peers who are socially and culturally similar, giving them a strength of identity from which to maximise their academic potential.
Why this approach?
SAILI has over 15 years’ experience in the education sector and experience has taught us the most effective way to help talented learners reach their full potential.
In the past, we have engaged in a variety of interventions such as:
- additional tuition, including Saturday morning schools;
- educational camps for students;
- teacher training (high school and primary);
- whole school development (leadership, performance, facilities, etc.);
- language support for learners; and
- tertiary study support.
Evaluation of these various interventions showed that our best and most cost-effective impact was to provide targeted scholarship. Simply put: investing directly in motivated and capable students who are placed in effective schools has the best outcomes for promoting Science and Maths education in secondary schools.
An additional benefit is that students are placed in schools that are socioeconomically familiar, and so they don’t need help adjusting and do not drop out as a result of psychosocial stress. Connections with family and community remain strong, which has been shown to link with ongoing educational success.
Equally important is the ongoing positive spin-off for and changes within SAILI’s partner schools. Placing significant numbers of talented learners into these high schools improves their matric results and consequently their reputation, which helps them attract better teachers all round as well as more good students, and the cycle of improvement continues. Success breeds success, and the broader school community gains.