Low learner performance is one of the greatest challenges that confront South Africans in this post-apartheid era. Despite valiant efforts on the government’s part to improve the education system every year, successful learners are not coming through the ranks in sufficient numbers.
In the case of Atteridgeville, an old township near the Pretoria Central Business District, the phenomenon of low learner performance is reflected in the quality of schoolyards and the behavior of learners. Schoolyards are degraded, learners lack confidence, they are not enthusiastic about their schools, they do not interact with the communities around their schools, and they do not venture into the physical landscape outside their schools.
The question arises whether the landscape outside the classroom is not, in fact, contributing to the problem. If this is so then a way must be found to manipulate the landscape so that obstacles to learner performance are removed and learning is facilitated.
This thesis explores the notion that the outdoor landscape in Atteridgeville can play a role in helping learners reach their potential. Therefore Atteridgeville will be the departure point for the investigation. The investigation will result in a project location which will be further investigated to identify its inherent opportunities and constraints. The design response to these opportunities and constraints, coupled with both theoretical and conceptual backing, will inform the project at master plan and detail design level.
Methods must be found to unlock the didactic and experiential potential of the schoolyard and surrounding landscape in a township where open green spaces are under threat and physical and social obstacles to learner performance exist.
Dissertation ML(Prof)--University of Pretoria, 2014