CEI SA: Catalysing Innovation in Education

 

The headlines about the South African education system often tell of challenges and poor performance, however, South Africa is home to some of the most innovative and creative education solutions. There is a way to address the needs of the system if disparate players can come together and work effectively. This is the vision behind the Center for Education Innovations (CEI).

 

Access to quality education for all is a global imperative, however, providing this is fraught with complexity, especially in low-income countries. While a handful of innovations capture global attention, there is little information on the scale, scope and impact of the numerous organisations and social enterprises that make up the non-state sector in education. To meet this need, Results for Development Institute (R4D) launched CEI comprising global hubs with a focus on developing countries, namely India, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

 

These hubs aim to identify innovations in their own and neighbouring countries, and produce analysis of trends, policy and successful programme implementation. The CEI South Africa hub is hosted by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business. The Bertha Centre was established in 2011 in partnership with the Bertha Foundation as the first centre of excellence in social innovation in Africa.

 

The centre links robust research and academia with practical interventions. “We need to be prepared to step outside of our comfort zones, do things differently, collaborate more and take risks if we want to find a way out of our education crisis,” said Dr François Bonnici, founding director of the Bertha Centre.

 

Sharing best practice and facilitating collaboration is central to the work of CEI through the creation of a virtuous cycle in which innovative programme managers provide comprehensive, up-to-date information on their activities; monitoring and evaluation strategies as well as results to be accessed by funders and other potential partners to facilitate collaboration.

 

More than 100 South African initiatives are currently profiled on the CEI website. CEI also serves as an up-to-date, comprehensive resource for researchers and policymakers. It aims to enrich the debate on what works and what does not work in education through systematically identifying, analysing and connecting the full spectrum of education innovations, including programmes and policies implemented by non-governmental organisations, private non-profit and for-profit entities, government or in partnership with government.

 

Molly Blank, a documentary filmmaker and author, recently working with Jonathan Jansen, vice chancellor of the University of the Free State, to create a short-film series and book, How to Fix South Africa’s Schools, says about CEI:  “There is an incredible amount of innovation and activity in education and CEI is tracking and harnessing innovation to improve education across the board. Their work on building collaboration across institutions is one crucial element in improving schools and it is something that the principals that I met are already trying to do.”

 

Joy Olivier of Ikamva Youth, an initiative hugely successful in improving matric pass rates in low-income communities, echoed this belief in the importance of CEI’s work: “It is like internet dating for education organisations. I am hoping to find partners around the world through CEI to help us scale our model locally. Collaboration brings real learning and this can be frustrating and uncomfortable but that is where innovation happens.”

 

As CEI enters its second year, the South African hub will continue to identify projects to profile on the web platform as well as hosting a series of events for NGOs, funders, government and academics to connect as we recognise the importance of celebrating the success stories, extracting the lessons and facilitating partnerships. These events will also explore research presented by leaders in the education space like Nic Spaull and Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab for Africa (J-PAL).  The coming months will see the development of the analysis aspect of the hub’s work with a country brief and in-house research products.

 

IMAGE caption: Siyakwazi in Kwa-Zulu Natal Louise Albertyn Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

 

 

Article issued by Center for Education Innovations (CEI).

 

 

Enhancing reading through technology

 

Being part of the twenty first century and the technology it offers deems an uncertain and sometimes scary future, but not necessarily for our youth as they are an integral part of the way technology is shaping our future. Children nowadays are digital natives and for them the future isn’t moving at a fast enough pace. Technology is part of their everyday lives and many of them are adept at Internet research, cell phone browsing, social sharing, navigating through interactive books and multi media production.  Thus this dooming technology, as we sometimes perceive it, is providing valuable support in attaining reading and writing skills.

 

In literacy, instruction technology has both traditional and authentic uses, the traditional instruction implies skills reinforcement; for example, students who need additional practice in reading might work individually on computers that are equipped with reading-comprehension software.  Whereas the authentic instruction will be using technology to achieve a complex task; for example students who need to write an essay will need the internet for research and word processing tools to write and format text.

 

Considering assistive technology is no longer a subject to linger about, but one that is vital to help those that struggle with reading related issues such as; reading fluency, comprehension and decoding. Assistive technology that assist with reading fall into several categories:

 

Audio books

The recording and presentation of text, referred to as audio books or books on tape, promotes students interest in reading as well as better their comprehension of text and some studies have shown this technology to have been used successfully by students who are visually impaired.
 
 
Paper based computer pen
This technology records and links audio to what a person writes using a pen and special paper. It basically assists the person to record audio whilst taking notes. The user will then be able to later listen to the recording when going through his/her notes.  This technology may be beneficial to those that struggle with reading in recognizing words as well as those that suffer from memory loss.
 
Screen readers or electronic text
Screen reading technology is programmed to read the text as presented on the screen of your computer. This digitized reading offers assistance in the pronunciation of words and supports as well as coaches the student as they are reading text. This helps in the decoding of text as well as promotes reading fluency.
 
Tape recordings
Tape recorders allow a student to listen to pre-recorded text or to capture spoken information.  The student can then later listen to the track in an environment that he/she feels safe to study in. This has proven to be valuable to students who struggle with attention deficits and reading.
 
Whether this technology is used to improve the skills of those you teach, the primary goal or objective should be to utilize digital natives to use their technology to address their own needs.  Although much is still in the grey as to the promise these technologies offer, and researchers still warrant a cautious approach, the reality is that this technology is available and should at some point be used to benefit the educational approach.
 
Article by Eduloan
 

Basic Education prioritises teachers' needs

 

Pretoria – Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, says her department will prioritise the working conditions of teachers, including their professional development.

 

Presenting the department’s budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, the minister said her department, together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, was working to strengthen this very important area of work.  She said the department would also focus on the conditions of employment, recruitment, deployment and utilisation.

 

“In partnership with Vodacom, we have equipped and connected 40 teacher centres across the nine provinces,” Minister Motshekga said.

 

A total of 31 of these teacher centres were equipped and connected in the last financial year and Vodacom will further equip and connect 20 new teacher centres in this financial year. This means that a total of 60 teacher centres will be fully digitised by the end of this financial year. The Vodacom Mobile Education Programme is a nationwide teacher development initiative to improve the quality of instruction in all subjects at every level, with particular emphasis on Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy and Physical Science in Grades 10 to 12.

 

The teacher professional development training focuses on ICT Literacy, as well as the effective use and integration of digital content in the classroom. – SAnews.gov.za

Access the original article by clicking on this link: http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/basic-education-prioritises-teachers-needs

And the 2014 Future Stars winner is

The finalists for the 2014 Future Stars Awards finalists have been announced and profiled on www.SAstudy.co.za since the middle of May 2014. These 2014 Future Stars Awards finalists inspire us to believe in the future of South Africa and we celebrate them during the month of June, as part of our Youth Day Celebrations.

 

The youth talk of hope, perseverance and hard work, even though life is hard for them. Divorce, death of family and not having the financial resources to study are facts of life. So is going to bed hungry. Yet, they dream of achieving, so that they can succeed to look after their mothers, make a difference in their communities and be role models for others. They don’t let circumstances hold them back –they’ve figured out how to fund their studies and how to use technology to get their friends to vote for them. They are the Future Stars – they inspire us to believe in the future of South Africa. They are not the “entitled” youth, we so often accuse them of being – they are hard working, hopeful, and willing to make our future better.

 

The judging event of the 2014 Future Stars Awards took place on 11th of June 2014, campaign sponsors as well as guest judges  were assigned to score these top 10 finalists based on specific campaign criteria.

 

The 2014 Future Stars winner, Kabelo Mohlatlole (18), from Polokwane believes his key to success is to turn threats into opportunities and to keep a hopeful and victorious outlook on life. He is still currently at school and dreams of becoming a journalist after he has completed Matric this year. He is currently living his dream by writing articles for a local mine magazine on issues happening in his community as well as motivational poetry for learners.  He is currently a member of the Youth Leaders organisation at his school and helps other learners to make informed decisions on their career paths.

 

Coming in close second, is Keaton Harris (19), from Cape Town, who places value in hard work, determination, strong family bonds and an enduring faith in his God. He believes that his positive attitude results from never taking his “eyes off the prize”, which is helping him focus on his goals rather than his obstacles. He dreams of becoming a cardio-thoracic surgeon by studying medicine at Wits.

 

Don Maisels (18), the third runner up is also from Cape Town and believes perseverance, empathy and respect are keywords to live by. He is dreaming of becoming a doctor and is living it by being involved in community service projects for disabled individuals.

 

Ishmael Ramushu (21),  from Polokwane who maintains a strong belief in himself and believes in mustering the courage and leaving no stone unturned in working towards one’s dream. “One must never give up or compromise one’s values”.

 

Tholinhlanhla Thwala (21), in 5th place from Ingwavuma is also community focused and dreams of becoming a CEO for an HIV/AIDS organisation and is studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences, while working towards promoting campus health.

 

Click to view the rest of the Top 10 finalists.

 

The Future Stars Awards is an initiative that is focused on inspiring leadership and confidence in the future.  This innovative campaign was created to inspire our future stars – and others to realise that our youth are phenomenal.  Simply by sharing their dreams online on www.SAstudy.co.za  – and then getting their friends and other youth to vote for them, they are sharing their inspiring stories and motivating others to dream of a better future, by focusing on the power of education to change their circumstances.

 

Argo, the multimedia publisher behind the Future Stars Awards, believes in inspiring impact in South Africa– and engages with committed brand leaders TSB Sugar, Mindset TV, Metro FM, Eduloan and NYDA to build confidence in our future as well as the youth that will create the future. Priizes were sponsored by Eduloan, Van Schaik Bookstore, Massmart and Argo.

Follow Future Stars Awards on Twitter: @FutureStarsSA

 

 

And the 2014 Future Stars winner is

Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate Progress

ED.ORG.ZA replaces www.teacher.org.za as your online connection to education action leaders in order to inspire belief in the power of education. This is one place where corporate companies, government, NGO’s, and educators can work together towards a quality education for all South Africa’s children, by offering:

• Information on best practice and latest news;
• Involvement through comments and feedback; and
• Inspiration from success stories of the top 100 education projects in South Africa.

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