Countdown to the 2015 World Education Games has begun!
It’s the world’s largest education competition, an exciting free-to-enter online education event for schools and learners all over the world. Organised by 3P Learning, the award-winning, global leaders in digital curriculum resources and supported by UNICEF; the World Education Games is the expanded format of what was previously World Maths Day.
Now a three-day global competition, incorporating World Spelling and World Science Days, the biennial Games are returning from the 13-15 October 2015. Learners between the ages of 4-18 from over 200 countries will participate in an international celebration of learning.
“We are looking forward to the return of the highly anticipated World Education Games, which unite the world in learning. Our aim is to help schools make learning fun and engaging to improve educational outcomes and the Games allow us to reach the ultimate goal of getting children as excited about their education as they are about their sports,” explains Rob Masefield CEO for Africa.
“The games allow learners to test their spelling, maths and science skills and compete in live, real-time challenges against learners from all over the world using the online World Education Games website.”
Since World Maths Day was founded by 3P Learning in 2007, the popularity of the expanded competition has multiplied, with over five million school learner participating when it was last held in 2013; 50 000 of which came from South Africa.
Local learners and schools are now invited to register for free to participate in this year’s event as full registrations and warm ups for the Games are to start soon The World Education Games will test registered learners in a variety of live friendly 60-second online games set against the clock in spelling (World Literacy Day – 13 October), maths (World Maths Day – 14 October) and science (World Science Day – 15 October). There are five different levels to play and 20 games on each level.
Learners and schools taking part in the World Education Games will earn points for each correct answer given. A live digital Hall of Fame on the Games homepage will track the top scoring learners and schools from right across the world. Winning learners from each age group will be flown with one parent/guardian to the glittering World Education Games Award Ceremony which will be held in November 2015 at the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
“By participating in the World Education Games, learners will also be making a difference. For every correct answer they give during the competition period they will earn UNICEF (United Nations Childrens’ Education Fund) Points. At the end of the event these will be added up and turned into cash to purchase multiple UNICEF School-in-a-Box kits. These kits contain, ready-to-use basic learning resources and essentials designed for a teacher and up to 80 learners to help with their education,” explains Masefield. These remarkable kits can be used to supplement minimal resources at schools and are developed to be used anywhere regardless of language. “To date over 100,000 learners have been supported by the World Education Games and UNICEF School-in-a-Box program. In 2015, the World Education Games aims to be able to purchase over 400 of these kits. The more point’s learners generate, the more learners we can support and unite through learning,” Masefield concludes.
For more information on the World Education Games, to register and take part or the partnership with UNICEF learners, parents and teachers can visit: MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "www.3plearning.com" claiming to be www.worldeducationgames.com
Closing the gap: driving education home
In the last 20 years huge strides have been made to uplift and empower women. Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga said in her International Women’s Day speech earlier this year: “Indeed, South Africa has received international recognition for these efforts and is currently ranked 16th in the world by the Global Gender Gap Index – a framework used by the World Economic Forum to capture the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities among countries in the areas of economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.”
But this was not always the case. Historically, a large segment of South Africa’s female population was excluded from obtaining a quality education, and therefore denied the opportunity to meaningfully and equally contribute in the workplace. In modern times girls are included in the educational system but in many ways they are still subject to unacceptable levels of inequality.
Children live in a society where gender-based violence is widespread, where basic health services such as flushing toilets and running water might be lacking and resources are a constant struggle. This is especially true in instances where girls are in part, or wholly, responsible for taking care of households where parents work away from home – often caring for younger siblings. It becomes increasingly obvious that our children, and particularly girls, are still to a greater or lesser extent trapped in a hangover from bygone years.
Because it’s the case that a good-quality education unlocks entrance to tertiary institutions and career opportunities, it is one of the only ways to ensure that underprivileged girls in difficult circumstances can escape the cycle of poverty.
Educating for equality: the NDP and education
The National Development Plan (NDP) recognises that education is a core element in eliminating poverty and producing an equal society[i].
In accordance with the NDP’s vision, all South Africans (boys and girls) have the right to a quality education – where no one is excluded and those living in poverty or with disabilities are given special consideration. Recent statistics reveal that 39% of children in South Africa live only with their mothers, and in 2013 there were 96 000 child headed-households in the country – with Kwa-Zulu Natal having the highest number of the total group.
While the aim of the NDP is to educate all South Africans, girls are in a position to reap the largest benefit from a good quality education. Research evidence points to the fact that girls are increasingly benefitting from a solid education, with the amount of girls who have a matric growing by about 12% in recent years, versus a 3% increase for boys[ii].
According to UNESCO, educating girls will have a huge positive impact on society, which means that achieving the NDP’s objectives will ultimately help South Africa’s girls [iii]. How will achieving the NDP’s education objectives help South Africa’s girls? UNESCO lists the following among the factors that will be mitigated as a result of education:
- Educated women are less likely to die in childbirth;
- Education of girls can lead to fewer child deaths;
- Educating moms improves their children’s nutrition;
- Girls with higher levels of education are less likely to become pregnant under the age of 17;
- Education is the key to lower birth rates;
- Combatting child marriages: educated girls are less likely to marry at a young age;
- Education narrows the pay gaps between men and women;
- Educated girls are more likely to find work.
It is clear that in order to effect meaningful societal change that is characterised by gender equality, we have to educate our girls. Minister Motshekga further asserts that, “A key role in building women’s capacity is good-quality education that encourages independent, critical thought, fosters self-confidence, and provides young girls with a vision of their future.”
What is not immediately apparent is the extent to which education continues at home, beyond the classroom. Education at school is only half the battle won, without guidance at home girls are less likely to have the tools to persevere through life’s challenges.
While the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) works to deliver the NDP’s promises and transform education in schools, education at home remains one of its biggest challenges.
Beyond access to education
In today’s democratic South Africa, girls face bigger challenges than access to education: we need to ensure that girls are psychologically and socially nurtured. It is important that we create an enabling environment, where girls have the guidance they need to thrive. This is where parents, caregivers and communities have a vital role to play. Moreover a new generation of holistically well educated women will play an increasing part in reforming education going forward.
In a response these challenges, the NECT seeks to mobilise communities and parents to take a more active role in education. As the home front is largely populated by women (as primary caregivers) they have the greatest potential to contribute the most to a culture of active parenting and home education.
Charlene Deacon, JET Education Services Senior Manager says, “Women can broaden the way in which society understands education. Many parents have absconded from their role in the education of their kids and women (being the majority of teachers and caregivers) are in the best position to point this out and make the case that parenting does not rely on literacy.”
By being available to girls who need guidance, or even just helping with school work, they will create an environment where girls are better equipped to manage everyday challenges.
Mary Metcalfe, Managing Director of PILO observes, “Young people are struggling with new challenges which are often quite alien to the previous generations: they grapple with sexuality, petty criminality, drugs and alcohol abuse, the digital divide, and high levels of hopelessness brought forward by the prospect of youth unemployment and the cycle of poverty.”
If education takes root in home life from their parents or caregivers, girls will be better able to navigate these struggles.
As the majority of our student body and teaching force is female – women taking up the NECT’s call for active parenting and social mobilisation, will be in an excellent position to effect societal change beyond the classroom.
What remains is for women to realise their power to transform not only education, but society at large. When women step up in aid of other women, they will, as a consequence, uplift society.
The minister concluded, in her speech: “Let us grab opportunities and shine… We carry with us the burden of millions of other women out there who do not have the opportunities we have. Therefore, if you can rise, bring someone with you.”
[ii] STATS SA General Household Surveys, 2002-2011
SOUTH AFRICA YOUTH URGED TO MAKE MOST OF GOVT OPPORTUNITIES
The youth of Cala, in the Eastern Cape, have been encouraged to make the most of the opportunities created through government programmes to improve their lives.
Deputy Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Andries Nel, was at the Cala Community Work Programme (CWP) for the International Mandela Day celebration.
The Deputy Minister said the CWP was targeting youth and providing them with a brighter future.
“I am aware that over a third of the population from this area are below the age of 15 years. I am aware that the Eastern Cape Government is making available Adult Education classes and providing Early Childhood Development facilities. I urge you to make the most of these.
“I am also glad that we get to visit the Cala CWP Computer Centre that has been set up to assist the youth with applying for jobs and other training opportunities. Please make the most of these facilities. It is your gateway to a better life,” he said.
He said he was looking forward to visiting the Cala Community School, where the CWP participants were painting the classroom blocks and conducting repairs.
He also praised the Tsengiwie Community Garden which is run by CWP participants.
“I believe the fruits, or should I say vegetables, of your labour are helping the local clinic by providing them with a constant source of food for their patients. The Community Work Programme is Mandela Day in action, every day,” said Deputy Minister Nel.
18 July is International Mandela Day, a day of celebration that has been recognised by the United Nations (UN) and is observed in countries around the world. The UN has also called on people to devote at least 67 minutes of their time to make a difference in communities where they live and serve others.
“I am sure that uTata Madiba would be proud of the Community Works Programme. It is the community and government working together to create a better life for all. It is how We Move South Africa Forward,” he said.
He said government is committed to keeping the ideals of Madiba alive, and to eradicate poverty. He said COGTA’s CWP is aimed at uplifting the poorest in the community.
The Deputy Minister said across South Africa, the CWP has provided 202 634 work opportunities. In the Eastern Cape, the CWP is benefitting 38 000 participants at 37 sites across the province.
“Our government is uplifting this community of Cala. We are changing lives. We are keeping the spirit of Mandela alive. We are bringing hope to this community.”
Illegal initiation schools condemned
The Deputy Minister also took the opportunity to strongly condemn illegal initiation schools which have been making headlines, claiming lives of initiates across the country.
“Let us condemn this practice of taking children without their parents’ consent. We urge parents and the community to report this to the police should you witness any such activity.
“Our children cannot be taken away in the middle of the night to these illegal initiation schools. We are looking at changing the law to criminalise the running of illegal initiation schools,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said the Eastern Cape Department of Health has set up hospitals to assist initiates who need help. The hospitals consist of tents with essential equipment and stretchers to provide intravenous fluids, antibiotics and wound care.
“21 initiates have lost their lives in the Eastern Cape, two in Limpopo and one in Mpumalanga. Of the deaths in the Eastern Cape, I’m told that 13 occurred in the OR Tambo District, three in the Chris Hani District, two in Qumbu and one in Alfred Nzo, Joe Gqabi and Buffalo City.
“We are working with Deputy Minister Obed Bapela to reduce deaths, especially at illegal initiation schools. Today, Deputy Minister Bapela is visiting initiation schools in the OR Tambo district,” he said.
He said about 22 illegal schools have been closed down in Gauteng alone and 89 children have been rescued.
“Last week we closed down an illegal school in Soweto and rescued 22 children who had been kidnapped. Some had severe burn wounds and were taken to hospital. It is believed that a panga was used for circumcision.
“We must continue this legacy of Mandela in how we treat our children during the initiation period. We cannot afford to lose any more of our children. Let us report illegal initiation schools and those who forcibly kidnap these young boys,” said the Deputy Minister. - SAnews.gov.za
Chicory agreement to help create jobs in E Cape
Pretoria – An agreement between the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), the Eastern Cape Provincial Government and Nestle is expected to result in the creation of 800 jobs by 2019, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
The signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is part of the public-private sector collaboration between industry and government for the chicory sector.
This chicory programme is aimed at encouraging local farmers to grow chicory to supply Nestlé for use in its manufacturing of Ricoffy thus contributing to the revitalising of rural economies.
The agreement, signed in Alexandria in the Eastern Cape on Thursday, is expected to create 800 permanent and seasonal jobs by 2019.
Minister Davies said the department saw it fit that there be a MoU between the major agro-processor of chicory in order to provide a platform for emerging farmers, chicory producers and government interaction on managing the challenges affecting the industry.
“This development in the chicory industry [is] within the pronouncement of the National Development Plan and the nine-point programme that President Jacob Zuma announced during his State of the Nation Address earlier on this year, which has set a target of one million jobs for the agriculture and the agro-processing sector,” said Davies.
Minister Davies added that the agro-processing sector, especially chicory farming, has the potential to generate an industrial impetus that can create jobs and answer some of the economic challenges that the country is currently facing.
The Director for Communication and Public Affairs representing the CEO of Nestle, Ian Donald; Ravi Pillay said he was optimistic that the agreement with the Eastern Cape chicory farmers will assist with addressing some of the regression currently facing the industry in South Africa.
He said Nestle will provide technical support to ensure optimal quality and specification of chicory in the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces.
He further added that this is a long term commitment of five years with the dti to curb imports and promote local procurement in South Africa. – SAnews.gov.za
Social Media the Game Changer in Higher Education
Social Media: the Game Changer in Higher Education – Equip Yourself with the Latest Updates at the next exclusive Event
Amabhubesi cordially invites your organization to the Annual Social Media in Higher Education Summit scheduled for the 12th & 13th May 2015 at Amabhubesi Conference Centre. Transgressing across the globe, social media has been highly utilised amongst universities as a marketing and learning tool. When it comes to higher education, there are not only opportunities for digital learning but digital marketing too. Some schools have taken the reins on both sides, with mixed results.
Indeed, social media has been a game-changer throughout higher education in recent years, with professionals utilizing technology and social sites to interact more with the prospective student community and to improve student recruitment. The 2nd annual Social media Summit provides an overwhelming range of possibilities for teaching, learning and marketing in higher education. However, given real life challenges where limited resources and career commitments need to be balanced, we also need to remain realistic in what we can achieve.
More than ever, it is vital that higher education professionals are equipped with the latest social media technologies together with practical strategies in the quest to drive and increase Africa’s rankings in the global market place. It is clear that in order for colleges and universities to remain competitive, attract the best candidates and achieve the highest rankings, they will have to embrace social media and keep abreast of the latest and most creative ways to use social media for their benefit.
Google gets involved – Book for Interactive Workshops today!
Don’t miss out on our two mini interactive workshops presented by Google Africa and The University of Cape Town.
Google for learning Presented by Karen Walters Programme lead education: Google for Education Sub- Saharan Africa
Skype sessions presented by: The Hong Kong institute of Education “A case study of Hong Kong Institute of education” How e-portfolios are transforming the way we teach and a tool to empower students (Skype Session)
The University of California on How to protect the brand of your university Virtual Worlds, Social Media and Emerging Technologies: Exploring 21st century teaching and learning practices
The workshop will provide ideas on how social media tools can be used to assist learning such as Google+ hangouts and YouTube live
Time to give a ‘tweet’ about social media in Higher Education presented by: Nicola Pallit Centre for Innovation University of Western Cape This workshop focuses on cultivating awareness around how social media can be used to leverage and/or expand on traditional academic activities.
Who Should Attend?
Directors of Distance Education, Directors of Online Learning, Technology Directors, Instructional Designers, Course Developers, E learning specialists ,Curriculum Specialists, Professional Training and Development Leaders, Deans, University management and leadership, University professors and lecturers, Deans and department directors, Higher education researchers, IT directors of universities, Education administrators, ICT program directors/managers, Multimedia/software developers, Social media /technologist specialist consultants, Education policy makers, Marketing departments/public relations departments, department of Higher Education
Christina Watson Named on 2014 List of “100 Leading Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy Magazine
Christina Watson, CEO of South African educational publishing house Via Afrika, has been named as one of Foreign Policy magazine’s “100 Leading Global Thinkers” of 2014.
One of the most credible names in international politics and global affairs, Foreign Policy provides the best available analysis of pressing global challenges by the world’s leading experts.
“Each year our list of leading Global Thinkers spotlights those who have translated their ideas into actions, impacting millions worldwide,” said David Rothkopg, editor of Foreign Policy. “It is a chance to reflect on who, and what is driving change today and will shape it tomorrow.” Via Afrika has more than 60 years of experience in South Africa’s educational publishing industry and, with an eye to the future, has recently prioritised the development of South Africa’s digital education landscape. Watson was recognised because of Via Afrika’s leading role in advancing digital education in South Africa.
Commenting on being named a leading Global Thinker, Watson says, “It’s an overwhelming honour to see your name placed alongside the likes of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and political satirist John Oliver, and I thank Foreign Policy for that. But the real honour is seeing how these digital initiatives Via Afrika has undertaken are changing lives today whilst laying the foundations for a stronger educational system in South Africa tomorrow.”
“Additionally, though Via Afrika may be getting a lot of attention for these digital initiatives, the Department of Basic Education has been an invaluable partner who has been on this journey with us. Whether it’s providing us with access to information that allowed us to put together the snapshot report, or championing the Via Afrika Digital Education Centres initiative, the Department of Basic Education is as deserving of this honour as we are.”
“I hope to capitalise on this honour by getting more companies involved in rolling out true digital education to all South African learners,” Watson concludes.
You can view Ms Watson’s profile on Foreign Policy magazine’s website here, http://globalthinkers.foreignpolicy.com/#innovators/detail/watson-ndoufou
About Via Afrika
Via Afrika is a leading publisher of quality educational textbooks and related material for South Africa and southern African countries. With 65 years of experience, the company publishes materials that meet the needs of learners from early childhood development to Grade 12, and FET (vocational) Levels 2 to 4, as well as Adult Education learners in print and electronic formats. The high-quality educational material is currently being used by thousands of learners and teachers country-wide. Via Afrika has been developing digital content for more than a decade. Visit www.viaafrika.com for more information.
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