The purpose of this study was to investigate and understand ways in which the family, school, and community environments contribute to the academic resilience of township youth raised by their grandparents. The study further aimed to identify and understand the support structures that facilitate academic achievement from the participant’s perspectives. A Constructivism, qualitative case study design was utilised and the study was underpinned by a theoretical framework that integrated concepts of the ecological systems theory of human development to examine the interactive relationship between the participants and their social environment.
The findings from this study revealed that protective factors across different contexts of the participants’ lives contributed to their academic success despite adversity. The support of grandparents of the participants was perceived to have had the greatest impact on their academic success. Other protective factors revealed were peer influences and peer support as participants relied on each other in areas that required their safety, including relationships with school teachers and individual strengths. The risk factors that were identified were family conflicts, lack of a quiet place to study in the home environment. Lack of additional academic support, corporal punishment and sexual harassment were identified as risks factors within the school environment. From the community environment, neighbourhood disorganisation and crime emerged as risk factors.
Based on the findings of the study, I can therefore conclude that the educational resilience of township youth raised by grandparents depends on the availability of protective factors in their environment, individual strengths and their ability to identify and use resources that could assist them to overcome the adversities they experience.