The poor performance of South Africa’s public schooling system is well documented.  Perhaps the most startling one-line take-out from a study that captures the essence of the problem is this:  78% of South African Grade 4 children can’t read for meaning in any language (PIRLS Literacy study 2016).  The impact on the future of every child, and on South Africa’s prospects more broadly are clear. South African companies contribute collectively about R10bn per year towards basic education in the hope of changing this picture (government’s basic education budget is about R262 billion). Bringing about systemic change to improve the performance of the whole system is what many in government, academia, foundations and funders have been working towards since 1994 – some independently and some collectively.

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We work with CSI funders who have millions – rather than billions – to spend; but who are committed to achieving impact in the education system.

Investments in after school centres

Schools are under pressure to deliver the curriculum, and many education districts discourage schools from taking part in donor-funded programmes that distract from or add to their work.  Investing in after-school programmes supplements – but doesn’t interfere with – the school day.  It ticks many boxes.



Centres are operated independently but work with the school for the benefit of the learners of the school. This independence also allows for creative thinking. While our programmes supplement curricula, we are not bound by their constraints.  Our curricula and approach are creative, fun and impactful.


Teachers, schools, caterers and academic partners are contracted in and learners are formally registered with parents agreeing to terms and conditions of attendance. All parties are held to account for the delivery of the programme, and reporting dashboards help us track where intervention, support or acknowledgement is required.


Independence and accountability allows us to develop our own culture in after school centres. Teachers and teams are treated with dignity and respect and are mentored to encourage personal and professional growth. By design, learners are the beneficiaries of this, and our after school centres are kind and engaging spaces. We encourage every child’s voice to be heard.


Many CSI funders debate the pros and cons of breadth (reaching many learners with a light touch) versus depth of investment.  After school centres offer a deep investment in a contained group of learners who benefit substantially at a time of academic transition.  The funder can track this group over time and can report specifically on impact.


Learners in our after school programmes improve their academic performance.  More importantly they develop confidence, independence and a positive attitude to learning – traits that remain with them during their education journey.

Brand building

Each after school centre is branded in the name of the CSI funder; building the presence of the funder in the community and offering a sense of ownership and pride amongst employees who are invited to visit and support the centres in various ways.

Investments in research to inform the broader education system

Investing in research that informs and inspires a better education system is one of the ways that a CSI funder with a modest budget can impact systemwide. We influence funding and policy decisions by framing the most appropriate questions; commissioning research that digs deep and wide to find the answers; and informing and influencing funders and programme managers across the education sector.

See our latest literature review that informs funders and programme managers working towards improving intermediate phase maths across the sector.