One School at a Time | Project English


Project English is a radio campaign that Joe Public ran last year to demonstrate how regular, additional English tutoring was able to improve learners’ performance at school.


Since it is impossible to fully cater for each of South Africa’s 11 official languages, English is used to teach subjects like maths and science in 80% of our country’s schools. Considering the fact that many of our learners are only taught English on a second language level, however, this has proved to be a real issue.


To this end Joe Public embarked on a radio experiment to test whether one week of extra first language English classes could make a difference. One Grade 8 learner, Lesego, was enrolled in extra classes with a tutor and each morning a recording of her reading a radio script was aired on SAFM. Over the course of the week, the improvements in her ability to speak the English language were audible.


Hereafter Joe Public set out with the goal of raising enough money to employ a full-time first language English teacher for one class at their incubation school, Forte High in Soweto. The agency is currently monitoring the progress of the students at Forte High to assess the effect of English tutoring on their final matric pass rate. If this is found to be a positive one, the project will be implemented in more schools.


Project English is an iniative of One School at a Time – a registered non-profit organisation that was established by Joe Public in 2008. Recently the project was awarded two Gold Pencils (one for public service and another for radio) at this year’s One Show Awards. Joe Public CCO, Pepe Marais, remarks: “Along with raising funds to hire a full-time English tutor at Forte High School, this is a testament to creativity making a difference. One School at a Time speaks to our ultimate goal as an agency – the growth of our country.”




Agency: Joe Public, Johannesburg

Client: One School at a Time

Title: Project English

Writers: Jeanine Vermaak, Freda Raubenheimer

Creative directors: Xolisa Dyeshana, Pepe Marais

Sound designer: Ananda Swanepoel


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