Our Purpose

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another. – NELSON MANDELA

It is generally accepted that quality education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Our purpose at the AEC is to release true potential through offering opportunities for quality education. We seek to provide excellent educational and psychosocial support for school children from disadvantaged backgrounds in and around Alexandra Township through the awarding of secondary school bursaries to well-resourced schools. By focusing our efforts on the children and youth of “Alex”, we are confident that the next generation will be more empowered to create and embrace the lasting positive changes that this city, province and country need. A prosperous Alexandra would set in motion a golden thread of economic possibility in Johannesburg, “the City of Gold”.

With the unemployment numbers for 16-25 year-olds being a horrifying 3.5 million, the AEC wants to play its part in breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and forging more economic dignity for the youth of Alexandra.

High School Bursars
Year Number
2022 249
2023 242
2024 235

International Validation Certification



Bursary Programme


- Tshepiso -
Top matric 2023 with 7 A's

The AEC’s primary focus is, accordingly, to sponsor indigent but academically promising high school children from the township of Alexandra at quality partner schools.

The more funding we receive, clearly the more children we can support. The AEC is a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) (930-000-698) and Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) (025-968); as such no Government grant is given to support our work, and we are fully reliant on sponsorships and donations to sustain our efforts. We meet Broad-Based-Black Economic Empowerment criteria, and offer Section 18A tax certificates.

The AEC pays for the bursars’ school fees, transport, school uniforms, text books, stationery and the necessary IT devices, such as laptops and tablets. Essentially, the bursary allows the child to focus on his or her studies and achieve excellent results. We are proud to say that our bursars have achieved close to a 100% pass rate since 1996, as well as a very high university pass rate.

The AEC, therefore, seeks to directly impact the lives of young people in Alexandra so that they are able to benefit from tertiary and professional opportunities denied to most of their parents and family members.


- Philani -
Top student in the 2022 St John's Academy, was awarded a 6th Form scholarship for 2023

History of Alexandra


- Wandile -
Proud moment for Wandile as Head Boy of Highlands North Boys' High School

Alexandra is the oldest township in Johannesburg, having started as a small enclave in 1912 serving the farms and mines, eventually developing into one of the most vibrant communities in South Africa. It has been described by Nelson Mandela as “exhilarating and precarious”.

“Alex” has, sadly, however, become a largely poor and overcrowded square mile existing in stark juxtaposition to the richest square mile of Africa, Sandton, which lies within walking distance. The area has seen a high unemployment rate. The unemployment rate in the township also deepens the existing socio-economic inequalities which are all too evident. There are too many hungry households, with many living on social grants without the means to provide for their most basic needs.

For many arrivals, Alexandra is viewed as a place of transience, with the hope, often fruitless, that better opportunities will open up elsewhere. “Alex” is ill-equipped to manage the constant arrival of increasingly more desperate and indigent victims of the widespread hardships affecting the country. Estimates as to the number of people in “Alex” range from 750 000 to one million. The 5 high schools have to cope with school numbers never intended for the size of the premises; the class sizes are often 3 or more times that of their suburban counterparts. Primary school classrooms can have 80 children in them. Teaching a class of so many children is obviously very challenging and individual attention is seriously compromised.


- Fhatuwani -
Head Boy of St David's Marist 2024

Against this background, children who attend schools in “Alex” have significant factors comprising their education:

Capable Maths teachers are in short supply generally in the country but specifically in the poorer areas
Also Learners are severely compromised on the language front:


- Mahlako -
President of student body at Sacred Heart College 2023

they are taught in their mother tongue until grade 4; regrettably 4 years of primary school English does not equip them for high school where typically, in the Johannesburg area, English is not only the language of instruction but also a compulsory “first language” in many schools when it would seldom be the first language spoken at home; and

they are obliged to take a second language (FAL: First Additional Language). The primary schools in “Alex” for, presumably, historical reasons typically have Afrikaans as the second language offered, also a language not often spoken at home.

The home environment would not normally be conducive to studying with there likely being:

• no quiet space in which to learn or read owing to small, overcrowded rooms;
• little in the way of role-modelling of good work practices or reading habits owing to little family tradition of mainstream learning;
• an expectation that children do all the chores;
• limited nutritious food; and
• no Wi-Fi or IT devices other than an old phone with a cracked screen (with data a luxury).

To exacerbate an already awful situation, the devastating effects of Covid and the related lockdowns have resulted, to a very large extent, in two lost years of schooling for the majority of South African children, increasing the socio-economic divide between those attending quality schools and those attending poorly-resourced schools.


- Lungile -
Lungile at Sacred Heart receives a blue blazer for being top student in her grade

Our Story


- Graduation -
Benefactor celebrates graduation

The Alexandra Education Committee (AEC), was founded in 1996 by Deane Yates. It reached its milestone of 25 years in operation in 2021. It is a proven and well-managed school bursary scheme, where promising learners from Alexandra, Johannesburg, are provided with quality secondary school education. In addition to being put through high school, learners are given extensive support through our Saturday and holiday programmes, counselling and mentorship, as well as extra lessons in subjects they find challenging. The AEC also runs Maths and English development workshops for primary school teachers in Alexandra.

Vision: The AEC contributes to the economic and social development of Alexandra and the wider community through enabling high potential individuals from severely disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their potential through obtaining excellent education.

Mission: The AEC achieves its vision through: identifying high potential learners; granting bursaries to these individuals for the full five years of high school education at quality schools; and providing necessary support to ensure the sustainable success of bursars.

Strategic Objective: The AEC seeks to increase its impact significantly by offering more bursaries as sponsorship funding permits.

The AEC enjoys active support from the principals of Alexandra primary schools; the “committee” of the NGO’s name refers to the collaborative nature of the organisation involving the participation of the principals, one of whom represents this stakeholder group on the Council.


- Mavis -
Mavis holding trophy for Top Achiever at the AEC prize-giving ceremony in 2023

Selection Process


- Top Achievers 2023 -
Top matric achievers celebrating with staff

Potential bursary candidates in grades 6 and 7, recommended by their primary schools and successful in their entrance tests, attend our junior Saturday School. Top grade 7 performers are then offered bursaries for their entire high school careers.

Saturday School and Holiday School

Saturday School is a vibrant aspect of life at the AEC. Some 400 children attend every week from grade 5 to matric. We are like a school within schools.

Provision of Saturday School lessons is offered to nearly 180 grade 5, 6 and 7 pupils in English, Mathematics and coding. Meanwhile, all AEC high school bursars, from Grade 8 to Matric, attend extra lessons each Saturday in the gateway subjects: English, Maths, and Physical Science. Recently we have added computer coding to the programme.

Holiday schools are tailored to the needs of our bursars. The grades 7, 8 and 9s focus on Maths and English. For the grade 10, 11 and 12s, lessons are offered in Maths, English and a number of the elective subjects.


- Saturday School -
Saturday school in action

Our Purpose

Alexandra Education Committee

Enriching Lives Through Education




We are delighted to share the following 2022 matric results.

We pride ourselves in regularly attaining a 100% matric pass rate, as well as a high university entrance endorsement.

Pass Rate Results for IEB and NSC Matric Exams
Bachelor Diploma University Entrance


We are delighted to share the following 2023 matric results.

We pride ourselves in regularly attaining a 100% matric pass rate, as well as a high university entrance endorsement.

Pass Rate Results for IEB and NSC Matric Exams
Bachelor Diploma University Entrance




My name is Tshireletso, born and raised in Alexandra township. Like many South Africans, I am from a financially challenged family. How am I able to survive with a family of sixteen in a one room? One might wonder! I don’t see my challenges as accidents waiting to happen but as an adventure waiting to be explored. That is the main reason why. The predicaments I am facing are the main reason why I am here at Waverley High School and also here as an AEC beneficiary. They are the main reasons why I want to develop my adversities for the better. They are also the reason why I am enthusiastic, goal driven, focussed, diligent, optimistic and always strive for the best. “It takes a village to raise a child” and the AEC organisation is part of that village that played an important role un raising me. I am grateful for the opportunities they gave me. And these opportunities include: sponsor, mentor, computer skills, getting a privilege to attend book fairs, Saturday schooling and assisting with groceries, the rest of the list remains. Life was never meant to be easy because easy ways are not so fascinating. With all that said, I would like to send my gratitude to all those who improved my life for the better.

- Tshireletso -

Zama Moyo matriculated from Highlands North Boys’ High School in 2009. He obtained a BA at Wits in Psychology, Media Studies, International Relations and English. In 2016 he wrote: “As for me, I am doing well. I write this from England where I am completing my Masters in Ideology and Discourse Analysis (a branch of political theory) at the University of Essex. My dissertation focusses on some of the projected reforms in the National Development Plan and I hope to make a contribution in the policymaking space in South Africa – that is the dream.” In 2013 he was selected out of 200 initial submissions around the world as a finalist in the World Human Rights Cities Forum hosted in Gwangju, South Korea, and he finished second in the Essay Competition. He states that he will always be grateful to the “AEC family as a whole, particularly Mrs Rossouw and Mr Simmonds for the role they have played in his continued development.” Zama received a Master’s degree, Ideology and Discourse Analysis, from the University of Essex. He then worked for the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg. Zama is the Founder and Managing Director of Onyx Intelligence which provides compliance research to individuals and corporate entities looking to go into new areas of business. Zama is a published writer whose first feature-length article was published in the current affairs magazine ‘The Thinker’ at the end of 2017. He is actively involved in Feenix, a crowdfunding organisation for tertiary studies, powered by Standard Bank.

- Zama Moyo -

Graduated in medicine in 2022.

- Nhlanhla -

Graduated in medicine in 2022.

- Seropane -

Dr Seropane Ramaila celebrates graduation at Wits Universtiy with another alumnus, Pitsi.

- Seropane -

Dr Seropane Ramaila Graduation.

- Seropane -


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Contact Details

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  • Physical

    1 Knox Street, Waverley, Johannesburg, 2090


    PO Box 1938, Highlands North, 2037

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    Tel: +27 11 887 4182

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