The World’s Most Innovative Schools: Bugrado Edutrade
by Alec Patton
This South African programme is probably better described as an ‘innovative after-school programme’ than an ‘innovative school’, but I still think it warrants a mention here, because it’s fascinating and inspiring (my two basic criteria for this list):
Founded by Ashoka Fellow Flick Asvat, a former refugee, the Bugrado Edutrade process begins with a volunteer team consisting primarily of unemployed graduates and tertiary-education students, who identify young people with leadership potential and trains them as mentors.
The mentors then identify a particular ability that they possess – whether in dancing, mathematics, football, singing, drawing, or anything else – and find young people who want to learn from them, creating their own “after-school programmes”. The organising principle is the skill they are teaching, but the mentors also play a pastoral role for their “buddies”. The “buddies” go on to become mentors themselves, creating their own groups and thus scaling up the Bugrado concept.
After Bugrado’s first year, children as young as five years old were teaching younger children. Children were also developing their own programs, promoting themselves to the community and doing their own fundraising. Frankly, this weirds me out at the same time as it seems cool, because mentoring seems like possibly not the best use of a five-year-olds time. I guess one needs to examine it in context of what else local five year olds are doing (and I’m afraid I don’t know what they’re doing, so my expertise has run out for this week).
Entry filed under: Education & Children's Services.