Public Schools no longer have to operate in the Stone Age

 

 Intel South Africa and its partners bring exciting new education tools to students at Bergvliet Primary.

 Intel South Africa and its partners complete first Android tablet deployment at Bergvliet Primary in Children’s Way, Cape Town.

Children’s Way- Cape Town, August 26 – Thanks to the assistance and support of its partners that include Vox Telecom, Computers 4 Kids, SmartLabs, Bhelela Communications, and Pearson Education, Intel South Africa has completed its very first Android tablet deployment at Bergvliet Primary in Children’s Way, Cape Town.

This deployment is part of Intel’s continued strategy to work with local government, schools and partners to successfully transform the local education system by using technology as an enabler amongst as many students as possible. “Intel believes that by providing access to technological tools and solutions, teachers and learners can best prepare themselves for the 21st century working environment in which technological literacy will be as important as the ability to read and write,” explains Andre Christian, Education business development manager at Intel South Africa.

The deployment consisted of a total of 40 devices donated to the school by Intel in partnership with Kolok South Africa. The success of this deployment, however, consisted of more than just the devices, as valuable components and services were also donated to ensure that a holistic solution is in place. 

The holistic solution rolled out at Bergvliet Primary comprises of 40 classmate tablets with a C3 server and incorporates:

·         Ruggedized design for education and to meet students’ needs.

·         Computers 4 Kids manage the project on the ground by training teachers and providing e-Content to the school.

·         Front- and rear-facing cameras to bring scientific inquiry to life.

·         Snap-on magnification lens that supports inquiry-based learning with close-up views.

·         Bhelela Communications ensured that an offline content storage facility is in place.

·         Vox Telecoms set up a very robust Wi-Fi infrastructure.

·         SmartLabs provided a charging solution for the tablets.

·         Pearson Education donated eBooks and teacher support.

·         Plug-in thermal probe to expand upon the type of experimentation and exploration possible inside the classroom.

·         Included software suite to help keep students safe, help educators teach, and protect the investment in a 1:1 learning environment with eLearning tools.

·         An affordable mobile classroom model that utilises the tablets effectively and enables students to learn better and improve their test scores.

·         The enablement of teachers through the provision of extensive technology and content training.

 

Christian explains that all local schools, whether these are private or public, are currently moving towards a more mobile-focussed learning environment, with e-textbooks and tablets being the preferred device and resource of choice. However there are barriers which have to be overcome together, which are reliant on the strength of public and private partnerships; and these barriers include:

·         Schools that are making uninformed decisions with regards to the right devices for learning, leaving it in many cases to the parents to make the final decision.

·         Poor quality devices which deliver poor user experiences, and in many cases parents do not have the financial means to replace cracked screens for instance. This means that students will be using the devices with these cracked screens, which will impact negatively on the learning experience.

·         It is very difficult for a teacher to manage devices in an environment where the devices are not running the same classroom management software. When students select and bring their own devices, the classroom management software might not work on all of them, which leaves the teacher with little control over what the students are doing on these devices.

·         The cost of a proper Wi-Fi infrastructure is not taken into account, and in many cases the selected Wi-Fi doesn’t enable a good user experience due to low performance.

·         The cost of the device does not necessarily include the cost of content, which the school has to budget for as an additional cost.

An average tablet does not have enough internal storage space to accommodate high quality animated content, which implies the need for a central classroom server to host the content.

Article issued by Intel

 

Eduloan partners with PfP to further quality education for all children

Eduloan, South Africa’s leading education finance provider has, as part of its corporate social investment programme partnered with the Partners for Possibility (PfP) programme as a means of providing creative and innovative solutions to the national education. It is a co-action, co-learning partnership between School Principals and Business Leaders, enabling social cohesion through partnerships, and empowering Principals to become change leaders in their schools and communities.


The PfP programme was founded in 2010 by director Louise van Rhyn, recognised as South Africa’s first business leader to partner with principals of schools in an effort to improve school’s education outcomes. PfP is the flagship programme of Symphonia for South Africa (SSA), a national non-profit  and public benefit organisation, based in Bellville Cape Town with the bold vision to provide “quality education for all children in South Africa by 2022”.


“The programme exists for the sole purpose of supporting and equipping school principals of under-resourced schools for their roles through partnerships with government and corporates,” says Claudia Pather, Eduloan’s Senior Manager:  Customer services and strategy. The PfP programme strives to provide opportunities for active citizenship around schools to improve the quality of education of our country.


“Eduloan has already been playing a major role by providing study finance to prospective students and their parents, thus unlocking potential to those who do not qualify for loans from other financial institutions. An opportunity for playing a further role in South Africa’s education environment was recognised in joining PfP in its quest,” says Pather.


As a business leader, Eduloan wants to share its knowledge and experience of organisational change and management with our schools.


“Eduloan is passionate about education, leadership development andwants to contribute to playing its part as a South African company. Education is vital if we are going to secure a proud future for our children,” says Pather.


As a result Pather partnered with Mark Holland, principal of Kensington Primary School in Johannesburg through PfP. Pather and Holland have been working together since April this year to transfer corporate leadership skills to young adults in need of mentorship and guidance. Pather explains that a principal finds him or herself in a position to liaise with government, being the intermediary to drive certain results out of their school.


“The only way they can achieve this is if they know how to go about this, how to efficiently manage their funds, how to drive certain behaviours out of their staff. Pather visits Mr Holland twice a week as part of the skills transfer programme and they also have at least one telephonic interaction per week.”  Pather’s plan for 2014 is to assist Holland in setting up a decent target on his banking book, putting measures in place to monitor progress and guide him with key performance indicators for himself and his staff. Delighted Holland says that the corporate world is not as different from the world of school management as one might think.


“There are many similarities. It all speaks to leadership,” says Holland. “As teachers we were taught to teach, but learned very little about management.” Since Eduloan and Kensington Primary School embarked on their partnership, Holland has delegated some of his duties and is not taking all the responsibility for running the school.  With the delegation of some of the duties he has created a workforce that can better manage the school and the results are phenomenal.


“I now regularly meet with my school management team to see what new initiatives worked and which did not. We have a good look at where more effort is needed and how we will go about this. My whole outlook has changed. I have come to realise that I can learn a lot from the school’s teachers, and that I can do so by not only communicating with them, but by connecting with them. The challenge lies in getting teachers to buy into an idea or a vision. Once they do that, they start working towards specific goals,” says Holland.


A Community of Practice session is held every six weeks, where a group of principals and corporate leaders share experiences and best practice with each other. This encourages the transfer of skills between the participants. “The programme essentially revolves around two key issues: Effective school management whilst never losing sight of the real goal – to educate students.” 


As a registered credit service provider, Eduloan is fully committed to empowering Southern Africans through our product offering. Eduloan is a proud Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Level 2 contributors. For more information, call Eduloan’s Client Services Department on 0860-55-55-44 or visit www.eduloan.co.za. Follow us on Twitter/EduloanSA and Facebook/EduloanSA.

Kumba donates bags for bursary holders

 

Kumba Iron Ore, a business unit of Anglo American takes its role as social partner to all corners where it can. At Kolomela, an operation of Kumba based in the Northern Cape Province, the mine extended its arm to reach in its neighbouring provinces and rewarded 280 learners from schools in four provinces for their hard work by presenting them with school bags loaded with stationery kits. This is a result of fruitful discussions between the special projects office of the Department of Mineral Resources and Kolomela Mine. The presentation was done at a function where the Department of Mineral Resources rewarded top performing learners in grade 10, 11 and 12 from the Freestate, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo with study bursaries to continue their studies at university in the minerals and mining fields.

 

The awards ceremony formed part of the department’s 11th annual Learners Focus Week Career Guidance Programme in Ventersburg in the Freestate. The programme is part of a national project hosted in conjunction with the provincial education departments and mining companies. It is aimed at exposing high school learners from historically disadvantaged communities to career opportunities in the minerals and mining sector.

 

Supporting the learners in this way forms part of Kumba’s commitment to education and is a contribution to developing the skills of learners. These learners can ultimately join its workforce and add to the skills base in the country. Kumba has a history of involvement in education that includes early childhood development for children up to Grade R and primary, high school and tertiary education in communities around its operations. This included teacher and learner interventions and science laboratory buildings, mobile laboratories and technology kits.

 

“One of the four pillars of Kumba’s organisational strategy is to create and leave a positive legacy in the communities in which we operate; striving to become the partner of choice for the broadest range of stakeholders through our commitment to corporate social investment. One issue that is central to our development as an economy and as a nation is education. Through education destinies can be changed for the better, strong communities built, and a self-sustaining economy created. We acknowledge that the kind of education delivered during this phase impacts on an individual’s whole education journey. Our intervention therefore in this regard is aimed at ensuring that the basics are in place for the learners,” said Yvonne Mfolo, Public Affairs Manager of Kumba.

 

R8bn set aside for no fee schools

 

Pretoria – Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, has on Tuesday announced that R8 billion will be set aside for no fee schools in the country, saying this will ensure that no child is disadvantaged because of their economic situation.  Presenting her department’s budget vote in Parliament, Minister Motshekga said her department’s programme was guided by the National Development Plan (NDP) which states that education is a means to building an inclusive society and providing opportunities for South Africans to realise their full potential.

 

“We will continue to promote universal access to education by ensuring that all children between ages 7 and 15 are in school. We will increase the number of Grade 12 learners who can gain entrance to university, moving incrementally from 172 000 in 2013 to 250 000 in 2019, and work to improve the quality and quantity of passes,” the minister said.

 

With regard to inappropriate school structures, Minister Motshekga said her department will continue to work towards eradicating mud schools and other inappropriate structures particularly in the Eastern Cape, and to provide the necessary resources needed for proper schooling to take place.

 

“Our own internal assessments and international benchmarking assessments confirm that whilst progress has been made on access, equity, and redress, the emphasis in this administration will be on attaining quality efficiently,” she said.

 

Five-year plan

 

She said in the next five years her department will make more aggressive, radical changes and appropriate interventions to turn the education system around. “We have moved boldly, therefore, to reconfigure the Basic Education Department internally for an even better performance,” she said.

 

Minister Motshekga said her department will, in line with heightening accountability and enhancing service delivery, invoke Sections 3 and 8 of the National Education Policy Act of 1996 to hold those districts and provinces that are not performing to account.

 

“The time has come to place responsibility and accountability where it belongs. We will track learner performance more closely, in order to ensure that our interventions are working and that we are decreasing the drop-out rate and increasing retention levels in our schools,” she said.

 

The Council of Education Ministers held its first meeting a week ago where all provincial MECs agreed that the time for radical transformation has come. The meeting will be followed by an Education Lekgotla where provinces will align plans to improve quality and efficiency in the sector.

 

The meeting, according to Minister Motshekga, will be held in the first week of August.

 

School nutrition programme

 

Over nine million learners in more than 21 000 quintile 1 - 3 primary and secondary schools have benefitted from the school nutrition programme since June this year. The increase is attributed to the successful extension of the programme to public secondary schools. The conditional grant for the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) has been increased by R288.8 million in 2014/15 to R5.462 billion. According to Motshekga, the amount will reach R5.704 billion in 2015/16.

 

“Although the department has made strides to meet the basic right to nutrition to millions of learners in schools, it has become necessary to consider a national de-worming programme linked to the NSNP, to maximise the health and cognitive benefits of school meals,” she said.

 

Increased budget

 

Meanwhile, the overall budget for the department is R19 680 billion. This is an increase of R2 088 billion from last year’s R17 592 billion.  Minister Motshekga said the allocation confirmed government’s commitment to education. “The budget allocation to provincial education departments is R186 147 billion. It will exceed R200 billion in 2015/16,” Motshekga said.

 

Umalusi has been allocated R107. 4 million in 2014/15 and will reach R112.7 million in 2015/16 to cover its expanded mandate. The National Education Evaluation Development Unit continues to do important work for the department and that for 2014/15, it has been allocated R14.2 million, said the minister. Kha Ri Gude received R634.9 million and the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has been allocated R62.2 million.

 

“This mass literacy campaign has impacted the lives of millions of our people,” the minister said.

 

With regard to safety in schools, Minister Motshekga said her department will continue to enhance learner safety and well- being by fighting drugs and substance abuse as well as youth criminality in schools and in communities in general. – SAnews.gov.za

Click here to go to the original source: http://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/r8bn-set-aside-no-fee-schools

 

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

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