Offering bright students a brighter future

Bright Student Learning Centre has an elementary school phase for Grade 2 to 5.

A private non-profit school in Wynberg offers a small slice of home to refugee children who find themselves strangers in a strange land.

Bright Student Learning Centre has 200 children who are mostly foreign nationals and refugees coming from more than five countries.

The school was opened in 2016 and has about 15 teachers. It offers the CAPS, Zimsec and Cambridge curricula and is divided into early-childhood-development, elementary, middle and high-school phases.

The school has two other branches in Masiphumelele and Bellville, catering to the needs of more than 700 children.

Founder and managing director Perky Umera says she is proud to see a school in Cape Town that is so diverse and open to so many African nationalities.

Ms Umera said it was very important to her that refugee children knew their mother tongue and were taught in it.

“A lot of the children are here temporarily, looking for greener pastures. They come here hoping that their countries will be okay one day, so it’s important that they know their culture and their language when they go back. They have the right to know.”

The school teaches in Swahili and Shona along with English, helping to address language difficulties that children who have just moved to South Africa often face.

Ms Umera is Zimbabwean. She moved to South Africa in 2012, seeking better job opportunities.

The 29-year-old said she started the school with only two pupils in 2012.

“Children are my biggest passion, especially foreigners,” she said.

The school has pupils from Nigeria, DRC, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

It survives off school fees and has no donors.

Ms Umera hopes to introduce e-learning and computer-skills training at the school. But with limited resources, teachers often have to demonstrate how to work computers by using pictures of computer monitors.

The school has managed to find a computer trainer, who has six laptops and offers pupils, from as early as preschool, basic computer-skills for R100 a lesson. However, it is appealing to the public for donations of computers and school furniture.