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Programme overview
The Rural Education Access Programme (REAP) assists young people from low income households in marginalised rural communities in South Africa to access and succeed in post-school education and training (PSET) opportunities. Matriculants from these communities have often been excluded from these opportunities due to poverty, poor education, lack of information, distance from...   READ MORE
Programme overview

The Rural Education Access Programme (REAP) assists young people from low income households in marginalised rural communities in South Africa to access and succeed in post-school education and training (PSET) opportunities. Matriculants from these communities have often been excluded from these opportunities due to poverty, poor education, lack of information, distance from urban centres or educational hubs, and historical apartheid discrimination.

REAP meets this essential need in South Africa by preparing senior learners at rural school and guiding them into appropriate courses and state funding mechanisms. Once the student is enrolled in a PSET course and in receipt of NSFAS funding, REAP offers a 'wrap around' support package, which includes individualised mentoring, life skills training and preparation for the workplace as well as a modest stipend and a laptop computer. Without this support many of these learners would be unable to fulfil their potential, succeed in their studies, find employment and make a contribution to the development of South Africa . Young adults are given new hope, not only to escape poverty themselves, but also to uplift their families and become active and ethical citizens.
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REAP calls on state mechanisms to assist students. The success of the programme can be ascribed to the holistic support that is offered. Students are assisted through:

REAP has an equitable and efficient online recruitment & selection process which assesses family income, rurality, academic performance and course motivation. Shortlisted applicants are interviewed face to face.

Our developmental approach teaches and encourages students to eventually come to a place of independence where they can face challenges and solve problems on their own. REAP also regularly undertakes research and advocates remedies for inequities that impact our students.

In 2021, REAP is supporting 374 students from rural areas across South Africa, of whom 290 are enrolled at Public Universities and Universities of Technology in 7 different provinces and 84 are enrolled at TVET Colleges. Our students are studying a broad range of disciplines at under-graduate level. All REAP students come from families earning less than ZAR122,000 per year before deductions (gross). We currently have 104 first years on the programme.

ZAR24 000 supports a tertiary student on the programme for one year. If you wish to support a student, contact reception@reap.org.za. If you are a South African Citizen, REAP will send you a tax certificate. You will be acknowledged as a supporter of the Programme on REAP's website and in REAP publications (unless you wish otherwise) and you will receive reports about your student(s)' progress twice a year.

Results

End of 2020 Results
In 2020, REAP supported 521 post-school students at universities, universities of technology and Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) colleges. One hundred and sixty three students were first years.
Seventy two students (17% of the total cohort) graduated of whom 56% were female and 44% male. Of the remaining University and University of Technology students, 80% progressed to the next level (ie they passed or proceeded). One percent was completing In-Service Training, a further 1% left the REAP Programme to take up bursaries with other funders, often linked to their particular discipline and with potential employment opportunities. Eighteen percent failed or were excluded by REAP.

Of the 91 TVET students who started in February 2020, 25% passed all their subjects and 19% proceeded even if they are carrying one subject. Unfortunately 41% failed and a further 15% were excluded from the programme, mostly due to poor academic performance. At face value these may appear to be somewhat disappointing results, but 2020 was an exceptionally difficult year for well documented Covid-19-related reasons, and the TVET results must also be judged in comparison to national benchmarks.

Impact

A series of tracking studies indicate clearly that REAP has had a major impact on the lives of our former students. By giving them an opportunity to further their studies and follow a promising career path, REAP has helped change the social and economic status of many. It seems to be a common trend for graduates to become deeply engaged in helping their extended families, both financially and in other ways, such as acting as role models and symbols of hope to the people around them.

A large percentage of former REAP students have also actively sought to plow back into their communities. It seems the support and encouragement provided by REAP stirs a growing ambition to succeed and a desire to contribute to society.