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Education without Borders (EwB) provides educational opportunities in South Africa (and Canada) for disadvantaged and at-risk children. These include after school tutorial sessions in mathematics, science, English, school leadership, and youth mentorship. In South Africa, EwB also offers Home language enrichment programs (isiXhosa, Afrikaans and English) in the early years (foundation phase).


In South Africa, EwB is currently operating at three primary schools including Mseki Primary in Gugulethu, Nyameko Primary in Mfuleni, and Bellville South Primary schools.

A portion of EwB revenue is allocated to local Indigenous youth projects in British Columbia (BC), Canada, such as the Indigenous Storybooks Canada Project and the Seabird Island Band Outdoor Education Program.  Since 2022, EwB supports podcasts on 100.7 The Raven broadcasting Indigenous Elder memories with contemporary discussion.


Click here to learn how EwB's hybrid education is helping 'Close the Gap'


as these areas are the most populated and face the biggest challenges.


to help tutors learn from experienced teachers.


with a learner-to-tutor ratio that maximizes learning.


with the in-school curriculum and existing educational objectives and policies.


to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs.


including tablet-based learning alongside small group tutorials.

Skills Mastery Methodology (SMM) at EwB

At every Grade level, the mathematics curriculum has five core content domains: a) Numbers, Operations, and Relationships; b) Patterns; c) Space and Shape; d) Measurement and e) Data Handling. These content domains are made up of topics with a set of skills: place-value; operations; patterning; solving equations etc. Each topic requires a set # of skills to be mastered before the topic is fully understood e.g. to add 9 + 4 one needs to master the operation of addition through a variety of question prompts, that includes visual, symbol and worded. All these question items are denoted as skills. At each Grade level, once skills and its related question items are documented, the year is divided into Skill Mastery cycles. 

Each cycle includes a pre-assessment, remediation process and a post-assessment. Each cycle is approximately 6 weeks. There are two remediation sessions in mathematics per week. Each remediation session begins with 10 minutes covering 5 assessments (called Formative assessments or SMA) of skills previously covered. This assists remediation planning by the tutors. By the end of the year, due to time constraints, the EwB after-school program will only have mastered a portion of the total # of skills needed. This emphasizes the need to replicate this SM methodology in school hours with teachers where more skills can be covered.


Education without Borders uses School in a Box (SIB) technology as part of its after-school program. School in a Box is a closed internet system covering the appropriate South Africa curriculum subjects including English and mathematics. Each learner can work at their own pace. Learners connect to each box via the enclosed tablets and are excited by the technology which enhances attendance. Each box contains 15 tablets.

With generous donations from the ESET South Africa in Cape Town and from Australian donors in 2021, EwB now has 10 School in a Box systems covering all sites.

“Closing The Gap” – first steps with SIB and small group tutorials

One of the most common questions has  been “how do we measure the impact of our program on  learners?” The acquisition of the School in a Box tablet system is providing a tool to measure the progress of learners both individually and as a group.

In 2022, the EwB team confirmed that township learners, on average, were lagging at least three grades behind in mathematics. This was in line with research findings across South Africa.

The “Closing The Gap” strategy instructs tutors to begin remediation with each group of learners at levels below their current school class level. An initial quiz on SIB (at the chosen level) provides a baseline for each learner and the group as a whole. SIB also enables the “gaps” to be identified (i.e.concepts/skills not yet mastered).

Once the gaps have been identified and remediated though small  group tutorials, the quiz is repeated, and, if learners are now indicating real progress, the tutors move the learner(s) to the next  level. We have begun this process at all our sites and will continue in 2023.

Case Study from Bellville South Primary

  • Four Grade 6 learners (working on Grade 4 material) increased their scores from 40-55% to 98-100%

  • Two other Grade 6 learners progressed  from 30% to over 70%

School in a Box
Skills Mastery Methodology
Mathematics Program

EwB tutor-directed, after-school learning is provided in Mathematics for grades 4 to 7 learners.


EwB tutor-directed, after-school learning is provided in English for grades 4 to 7 learners.

Language Enrichment Program

A literacy program in home languages (IsiXhosa) focused on reading, writing and comprehension is provided for grades 1 to 3 learners.

The program is delivered in the classroom, half an hour per week, during school hours.


EwB tutor-directed science program in the form of science workshops for Grade 6 and 7 learners.


Students from Fezeka Senior Secondary participate in the award-winning Fezeka School Choir under the leadership of Choir Master Monde Mdingi, whose salary is funded by EwB.  The choir is a considerable source of pride for the individuals involved, as well as the school and community.


During school holidays, grades 4 to 7 EwB learners participate in holiday programs to learn Maths, English and Science by playing games, participating in sports, writing and performing plays and going on excursions. 

On Saturdays, we provide Life Skills in addition to Math and English classes.


Every month around 20 students from the Cape Town region participate in a surfing workshop aimed at engaging, empowering and uplifting disadvantaged and at-risk children.

This has been made possible through an ongoing collaboration between EwB, Surf without Borders and the 9Miles Project that launched in 2020.


Launched in 2021, EwB offers a mentoring program for students currently enrolled in EwB’s after-school program – connecting adult mentors in North America with mentees in South Africa. Mentors and mentees meet virtually weekly, bi-weekly or monthly depending on the needs of the mentees. Topics cover a wide range of areas such as school, careers, family issues, as well as how to improve communication skills.


A portion of EwB revenue is allocated to local Indigenous school projects in British Columbia, Canada.

The Indigenous Storybooks Canada 

In 2018, EwB began to provide support for collaboration with Indigenous Storybooks - a Canadian website for children, families, community members and educators.


The Indigenous Storybooks project aims to make the text, images, and audio of open access stories available in Indigenous languages, English, French, and Spanish.  These translated stories currently come from the Little Cree Books project in Alberta, Canada – a groundbreaking digital initiative promoting literacy in the Cree language.    


The site also has a resource section that includes reviewed and vetted storytelling resources to support educators to bring traditional Indigenous stories into their classrooms.

Seabird Island Project

The Seabird Summer Outdoor Education Program provides youth the small group and social distancing opportunity to have fun and engage in land-based outdoor education in their own beautiful community. 

The EwB grant helps pay for staff and equipment costs such as the purchase of canoes, kayaks, and lifejackets. This enables the Seabird Island community to have sustainable outdoor education programs for youth from the early years to young adulthood - contributes to a love of the outdoors and holistic health. As a result of engaging in youth program outdoor education, Seabird Island Youth has reported having better grades, increased pro-social behaviour, better mental health and reduced risk taking behaviour. These impacts support the youth to have success. 

The goal of the Seabird Island Band youth program is to empower the youth to become active community members and to one day become youth program staff. Outdoor education provides the nurturing, exploratory environments where the youth thrive and develop leadership skills.

Remember Podcast: Recordings of Elders Explored

Launched on Canada's National Truth and Reconciliation day in 2022, Education without Borders is partnering with 100.7 The Raven to produce an Indigenous-led podcast exploring memories of First Nations elders.

Episodes are available here, and cover themes such as hunting and food, traditional burial grounds, growing up on the reserve, and more.

Funding for this podcast is provided by EwB, with a donation from Hammerco Lawyers LLP in memory of Mel Beaton, to contribute to a legacy of reconciliation and cultural education for the benefit of Canadian society.

Graphic Narrative Project

Archival recordings of Elders featured in the “Remember” podcasts are being translated into three short comics. Each collection of clips explores life in the Bute Inlet in decades past, and the “Remember” Comics Project uses comic art to visually re-present selections of the podcast’s recordings to produce graphic materials that engage with the podcast's themes. This project is a collaboration between EwB, the UBC Comics Studies Cluster, and the Homalco First Nation.

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