Rationale and Purpose

South African learners face numerous challenges, and therefore have many and diverse support needs. This community has unpacked the term ‘learner support’ and reached the conclusion that there are different levels and types of support required.  Some examples are after-school care, academic enhancement, parental training, HIV and Aids information and support, the development of self-esteem, school-to-university bridging, and extra-curricular activities. This Community of Practice is an attempt to tackle some of the challenges in a systematic manner.

PIC - Western Cape CoP Learner Support

Key Activities

This community meets once a quarter under the leadership of Ms Ferial Parker from the University of Cape Town’s Schools Development Unit. Because of the broad nature of this work, learner support has been classified in three ways:

  • Psychosocial;
  • Academic; and
  • Extra-curricular.

Members of this community therefore seek to engage potential partners for collaboration and shared learning in these areas.

A key product from this community is the mapping of support organisations working in Western Cape Schools, available online as the EduCollaborate database.

Link to the BRIDGE Knowledge Hub for the work products from this community.


The Western Cape Learner Support community of Practice began its work in 2009. It includes stakeholders who provide after-hours programmes, post-school, scholarship and bursary opportunities for learners.

In 2011, this group began working with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) on an ambitious project to map and document support organisations working in Western Cape Schools. This repository is now available online and known as the EduCollaborate database. The portal hosts information about not-for-profit work done in support of schools in the Western Cape province. The data on it supports collaboration and co-ordination. It helps to reduce duplication, it supports the sharing of resources and allows all organisations to work together and with greater knowledge about the many innovations of the NPO sector in the Western Cape.

If you are interested in joining this Community of Practice and collaborating with people involved in learner support, contact info@bridge.org.za for more information.


The information received and exchanged by attending BRIDGE meetings is invaluable.

Ferial Parker , School Development Unit at the University of Cape Town