High school learners from across SA sign up for free ‘extra classes’ from UP’s JuniorTukkie Online

Posted on May 20, 2024

High school learners from across SA sign up for free ‘extra classes’ from UP’s JuniorTukkie Online

Almost 18 000 South African high school learners from across the country – and increasingly also their teachers – are making use of the 85GB of free study and subject support provided on the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) JuniorTukkie Online platform.

Since 2021, 17 690 learners have registered on the platform, approximately 11 500 of whom actively use its contents. Gauteng learners (68%) have so far benefitted the most, followed by scholars from KwaZulu-Natal (12%) and the Western Cape (10%).

JuniorTukkie has been the flagship project of UP’s Department of Enrolment and Student Administration (DESA) since its launch in 2012. JuniorTukkie Online – launched in 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced learners to learn at home for months – is proving to be a most valuable online source of extra classes and study material that learners can access at any time to boost their grades. The project also reinforces UP’s commitment to promoting digital leadership.

“It is free, and Grade 8 to 12 learners do not have to be a prospective UP student to access this e-learning platform,” says Rirhandzu Golele, Manager: Undergraduate Recruitment and JuniorTukkie. “It provides opportunities with significant benefits in terms of learning resources to help learners better understand their subject material and prepare for tests and exams.”

More than two dozen experienced teachers have created extra resources in the form of videos, tests, PDFs and PowerPoint presentations to help Grade 10 to 12 learners with Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Science, Accounting and English, and Grade 8 and 9 learners with Mathematics, Natural Sciences and English. All material is in line with the curriculums of the Independent Examination Board (IEB) and the National Senior Certificate (NSC), and are quality checked before being uploaded. 

Extra support

The bulk of resources – in total 130 chapters worth of subject matter – are tailored towards Grade 10 to 12 learners, with the Grade 12 content alone covering 45 chapters, 500 videos and 200 PDFs. A dedicated Exam Preparation Centre for Grade 11 and 12 learners helps them further prepare for their final matriculation exams in these subjects.

The project is an extension of JuniorTukkie’s regular Summer and Winter Week programmes, which bring learners onto a UP campus for subject-related study help. During such in-person events, Grade 11 or 12 learners are provided with training in study methods and tips on time management and the importance of exercise and good nutrition. They are also guided to make wise study and career choices.

When COVID-19 restrictions made in-person meetings impossible in 2020 and 2021, JuniorTukkie staff provided learners with much-needed virtual resources by hosting online Winter and Summer Schools. The creation of new subject-related content was funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). All sessions recorded at the time have since been available as an extension of the JT Online platform. 

“While the aim is to help Grade 11 and 12 learners achieve the necessary grades required to secure entry to their preferred study programmes, it also furnishes them with the necessary study tips and life skills needed to cope with the high demands that university studies will set,” says Assistant Publications Coordinator Martie Kilian.

“Having a clear direction concerning future career goals and choosing the right subjects ensures that UP applicants comply with the requirements of their chosen degree programme. Choosing the right degree programme ensures that a student doesn’t spend an extra year or two at university,” she adds.

Supporting teachers

“The available content continually evolves, as does the ways in which it can be used,” says Colin Bennett, Platform Development Director for JuniorTukkie Online. “A Teachers’ Resource Library was launched in March 2024 and contains a fully indexed library of all student learning material available. It allows teachers to register and download resources that they can use in their own classrooms. It contains the same 85GB of content as is available to learners, but runs off a separate cloud database so as not to impact the performance of the student classrooms.”

Additional resources are being produced to further complement the new Teacher Resource Library.

Because of the reality of poor internet access in some areas, the JT Online team has been providing some schools with memory sticks containing 85GB worth of resources.

One principal from a secondary school in Alberton said the following about the benefits of using the resources: “Integration of technology into my classroom became much easier. Revision has become easier and more enjoyable to both the teacher and the learners because the video is just played on the smartboard, then facilitated in the classroom. I can accommodate different learning styles within one session.”

  • Grade 8 to 12 learners who want to access the online material can do so by registering on juniortukkie.online, and by choosing specific subject “classrooms”.

For more information about JuniorTukkie events, please email  [email protected].

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