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This project proceeds from the assumption that secondary education and holistic youth development has the potential to play a central role in improving youth well-being and contributing to social development in South Africa. From this perspective, secondary education should have a particular focus: it should support the holistic and humanistic development of all learners, nurture the individual potential of each and every learner, and relate education and knowledge to the priorities, experiences, and positive values in the community.

The Secondary Education and Holistic Youth Development (SEYD) programme has three goals:

  • Support holistic youth development through collaborative design, implementation, and evaluation of HYD activities in two secondary schools in the 2015 and 2016 school years,
  • Develop a conceptual framework for holistic youth development and a set of tools which can be drawn on to support HYD programming in other secondary schools in South Africa, and
  • Provide, document and reflect on an programme designed to facilitate grassroots social change is secondary education

This research will draw on constructivist, capabilities and participatory methodological perspectives and approaches. The HYD programme will take place at one academic and one technical secondary school located in a poor and working class community. Activities will be developed, overseen and implemented though a school-based HYD committee and based on the committee’s ‘agenda for action.’ As a starting point, the SEYD programme draws on youth transitions and youth assets research, which identify ‘transitions to adulthood’ for which youth must be prepared, highlights the importance of exposing youth to new knowledge and experiences, and prioritises developing youths’ self-knowledge, agency, critical thinking, and value-oriented thinking. The two diagrams below identify youth transitions and youth assets around which will inform initial development of school-based HYD agendas for action.

Lead researcher: David Balwanz

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