Tag Archives: teacher training

Vodacom takes education mobile

Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys


Vodacom’s new Mobile Education Programme, the very first countrywide teacher-development project in South Africa, is going to make use of mobile technology to enhance the quality of teaching in schools.

The main objective of the programme is to make improvements to instruction in all of the subjects, with an focus on maths, maths literacy and physical science from grades 10 to 12 – that happens to be regarded as by far the most demanding subject areas for students in South Africa.

The programme is a combined endeavor of the Department of Basic Education, Vodacom, Microsoft, digital content provider Mindset Learn and ICT skills developer Cisco.

Jointly the venture partners will make sure that schools, teachers, pupils and communities have accessibility to ICT and the internet.

At the launch in Midrand, Gauteng, Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys pointed out that the undertaking is among the most ambitious and critical projects yet to be spearheaded by the mobile telecommunications company.

It requires a substantial investment in our youth, who happen to be the way forward for our country, and is a crucial component of our commitment to using mobiles for good, he was quoted saying.




Improving education in SA

The venture intends to provide solutions to several of the major weak points in South Africa’s education system.

The mobile education scheme has four components: the mobile education ICT resource centres, the web-based digital classroom education portal, the mobile education virtual private network and the mobile education training programme.

Via the initiative, the project partners anticipate to upgrade the quality of instruction by making sure that teachers all over the country, both in rural and urban areas, have access to the best quality teaching resources.

Uys talked about how the project will assist to level the playing field for rural schools that frequently do not have access to the same quality of teaching material that urban schools have. “All of us are unquestionably committed to assisting government make improvements to the standard of education in our schools,” he explained.

Another goal is to utilize mobile technology to assist the Department of Basic Education meet its objective of ensuring that a considerable number of pupils have exposure to ICT.


Mobile education centres


Vodacom along with the Department of Basic Education have put in place nine ICT resource centres, one in every province, each servicing as many as 200 schools.

The nine centres can be found in the following areas: Tshwane in Gauteng, Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, Worster in the Western Cape, Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal, Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape, Upington in the Northern Cape, Makhado in Limpopo, Ganyesa in North West province and Mangaung in the Free State.

Uys mentioned that six of the nine centres are already operational.



A lot of these centres will be the hub of each district’s teacher-training programme where professional teacher-development training courses will take place. Training will give attention to ICT literacy along with the integration of digital content within the classroom.

Each centre incorporates a computer classroom, equipped with 50 terminals, together with an internet café.

“Technology and ICT can play such a significant role in the country and the economy, and it all begins with young children and providing them with access to information,” Uys stated at the launch.


Vodacom digital classroom

To help support the teacher training made available at the nine centres throughout the country, all teachers are going to have access to the digital classroom website. Here they are able to download web-based resources and teaching material presented in an accessible and appealing way.

The website will in addition provide information on each of the nine centres, discussion forums where teachers and trainers can assist each other resolve education-related issues, education news and links to local and international educational resources.



On top of that, teachers will be able to gain access to material on the site made available from the various technology partners of the project.

Microsoft is going to be supplying the software and Microsoft certification for teachers. Cisco is providing computer technician certification and entrepreneurship training through its Cisco Networking Academy programme and Mindset Learn has made the South African educational curriculum content available throughout the programme.


How does it work?

Uys mentioned that the very first time, cloud computing is going to be utilized to make it possible for teachers to gain access to essential content, teacher-aids and resources to help deliver quality education.

Cloud computing relies on a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, instead of a local server.

All the ICT Resource Centres are connected by way of a virtual private network to Vodacom’s head office in Midrand. This connection works as a pipeline of information, connecting the centres, participating schools and teachers to the internet and to teacher training resources.


Prioritizing teacher development

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has stated that her department has given its complete support to programme.

At the launch Mohamed Surty, deputy minister of Basic Education, mentioned that teacher development is a key element to enhancing education in South Africa.

When visiting schools throughout the country, he learned that the most crucial challenge was the teaching methods, definitely not the ability of pupils.

The department has identified that the country has 10 000 under-qualified and 20 000 unqualified teachers in need of further education and training.

“It has the support of my department along with the nine provincial education departments and I am certain it will significantly help in addressing the ICT challenges we have in education,” Motshekga said.


Vodacom Mobile Education Programme – click here to view 


Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Renewed focus on SA teachers

The Department of Basic Education is building up its advertising and marketing campaign to draw in young adults to take up teaching via the Funza Lushaka Bursary initiative.

Starting from next month, the department announced that it is going to “recruit the very best of young people to the teaching profession.” It has at the same time declared that there would be a “more scripted strategy to teacher development.”

This approach, it explained, would come with training and support to teachers to “make it possible for them to manage and utilize efficient techniques to teach specific content areas,” which the Annual National Assessment had demonstrated that they are difficult for learners.



As part of endeavours to bolster accountability within the education system, the department stated it was in fact working closely with the Education Labour Relations Council to formulate performance management contracts with principals and deputy principals.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and her deputy Enver Surty were responding to journalists on Tuesday during a Human Development Cluster briefing in Cape Town.

Talking on behalf of the minister, Surty revealed that “all principals and deputy principals are going to enter into performance contracts in the foreseeable future along with clear performance targets.”

He pointed out that far better performance at basic education level was in fact critical for reaching the goals and objectives of the Department of Higher Education and Training.

“Education and training happen to be central in improving the required skills that will actually ensure a simple yet effective response to the needs of the labour market… as well as guaranteeing inclusive beneficiation in the economy.”

He explained that government had observed that the South African labour market was “seriously affected by skills shortages.

As part of initiatives to boost the new Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), the department had initiated interventions which sought to improve access to training and skills development opportunities.

“The unveiling of the new Seta landscape has resulted in the restructuring of Setas… to further improve governance, administration along with a focus on achieving sectoral skills needs and boost training levels overall.

“A standard constitution for all Setas has been unveiled to make sure there is uniformity and alignment with respect to the operation of Setas”



On a related matter, Surty declared that the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is definately not charging interest on student loans “until 1 year after the student has graduated or left university.”

This, he explained, would apply to “all NSFAS loans to students registered on 1 April 2011 and [beyond].”

“An additional R50 million has been made available for postgraduate students who require financial help in order to complete their Honours, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees.

“These students will enter into loan agreements with NSFAS and the funds they repay are going to be earmarked to fund future postgraduate students.”

He said that the Department of Higher Education had at the same time requested NSFAS to remove from the credit bureau “all students they already have blacklisted,” specifically recipients of NSFAS loans.

At the same time, there are also plans by the Department of Basic Education and President Jacob Zuma to go back to the Eastern Cape to deal with the education turmoil there.

Source: BuaNews


South Africa Government to enhance quality of education

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga

Government has established clear goals and objectives to further improve the caliber of student education and learning in the country by 2014.

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga made the statement recently during a briefing subsequent to President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address.

During his State of the Nation address, Zuma declared among the list of five critical focal points of government this coming year would definitely be making improvements to education and learning in the country.

Motshekga declared that the government is geared towards enhancing numeracy and literacy levels of Grades 3 and 6 from the current averages of 27 percent and 38 percent respectively, to a minimum of 60 percent within the next three years.

To evaluate progress, she stated that they would frequently monitor overall performance via the independently moderated Annual National Assessments (ANA) project, which has been unveiled recently in all of the public schools in Grades 1 to 6 along with a sample in Grade 9.

“Overall performance of Grade 3, 6 and 9 pupils in ANA are going to be reported during March of every year, beginning in 2011. The ANA is determined nationally which will furnish a benchmark for every individual school within the basic education sector,” said Motshekga.

Emphasis would certainly at the same time be on teacher development, she stated, mentioning that next month her department is likely to release the Integrated Strategic Plan for Teacher Education and development in South Africa.

She additionally suggested that school principals “really should be empowered to manage and control their schools and make certain an effective environment for teaching and learning, and in addition they ought to be held accountable in maintaining high standards of education within our educational facilities.”

The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Caps), which incorporated the training of teachers and adaptation of textbooks, is going to be completed this coming year, Motshekga said.

“The Caps will offer teachers with a solitary curriculum document per subject per grade,” she said.

The minister reiterated Zuma’s call of the fact that teachers need to be in the classroom punctually and each and every student must have a text book.

Source: BuaNews



SADTU welcomes government commitment to education

With the exception of a minimal amount of issues coming from the State of the National Address delivered by President Jacob Zuma, the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) has recently accepted government’s commitment to educational services.

“Despite the fact that the President decided not to dwell a great deal on the subject of education and learning as he did last year, we have been heartened mainly because of the undeniable fact that education remains to be one of the primary five priorities.

“All of us accepted this year’s basic education’s emphasis relating to the Triple T: Teachers, Textbooks and Time. Having said that, the quality and standard of education would be determined by your time and money the government is ready to provide in the inputs, process and projected outcomes of education and learning,” said SADTU General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke.

As part of his third State of the Nation Address last Thursday evening, Zuma announced government is going to this coming year concentrate on the three “Ts” – teachers, textbooks and time.

SADTU General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke

He explained government will continue to keep investing in teacher training, particularly in mathematics and science. “We are going to pay specific focus on the training of principals, specifically those in under performing schools,” Zuma said.

Maluleke said SADTU considers Triple T to be the additional strengthening of the Quality Learning and Teaching campaign, which the union has already been committed to.

In spite of this, he explained the union has the opinion the Triple T is deficient in one crucial component, the growth and development of management located at district level.

“Typically the district managers are the people in charge of the distribution of workbooks and student materials to educational facilities on time, when they are in no way trained and developed, the system suffers.”

SADTU at the same time expressed its dissatisfaction by the President’s silence regarding the re-opening of Teacher Training Colleges, following SADTU’s frequent demands when it comes to the opening of the colleges that can assist towards the reduction of teacher shortages.

President Jacob Zuma

“The ANC’s National General Council likewise resolved to have these types of training colleges reopened. Training courses at universities by way of the Funda Lushaka programme will certainly under no circumstances narrow the gap.

“Having said that, SADTU intends to open its own Teacher Development Institute in order to train and develop teachers that happen to be at an advanced stage,” Maluleke said.

Despite the fact that SADTU is anxious with regards to the process of the Annual National Assessments, the union at the same time welcomed the implementation of the assessments.

In order to progress, this coming year, government launched the annual national assessments when it comes to literacy and numeracy which have been internationally benchmarked for Grades 3, 6 and 9.

Zuma stated that government is going to broaden access, in particular to children of the poor. “This incorporates the conversion of financial loans directly into bursaries intended for qualifying final year students. Students in Further Education and Training Colleges, who are eligble for financial aid, are going to be exempt from paying fees,” said the President.

Source: BuaNews


Better education and service delivery needed for NGP success

South Africa will have to pay more attention to fixing its education system, improvement of civil servants skills and competencies in addition to cultivating a social pact along with a common vision amongst all South Africans if it hopes to succeed with its New Growth Path, say economists.

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel

This comes after the release last month of the proposed framework for the government’s New Growth Path by the Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel.

Iraj Abedian, chief economist of Pan-African Capital, says that if the New Growth Path were comprised of one weakness it would be that the government has failed in its duties to focus enough consideration on the way to fix South Africa’s poor education system.

He believes the South Africa’s education system is afflicted with an absence of trained and self-disciplined teachers.

Iraj Abedian, Chief Economist of Pan-African Capital

The only way to is to deal with the current education problems and inadequacies, rather than taking the option of reducing matric standards to improve pass rates, he points out.

Regardless of what some industry professionals have mentioned, Abedian doesn’t necessarily feel that the country’s language policy (11 official languages) must have been a primary answer why pupils continued to fair poorly.

He continued to highlight and  singled out the particular instance of India which had numerous languages and said “99 percent” of school children that also had under no circumstances spoken English before, get to grips with the language in their first year of schooling.

The country first had to close the gap in students inadequate performance in maths and science, or else the New Growth Path’s proposed strategy to create 50 000 additional artisans by 2015 and 30 000 engineers by 2014, would be a “drop in the ocean” for what the country needed, he warns.

Dawie Roodt, economist of the Efficient Group, advocated that there was a ridiculous amount of concentration on pupils obtaining a matric, and that a strategy much like that currently adopted and in operation in Germany ought to be adopted, where immediately after receiving a Grade 10, learners would be able to elect to embark on a trade apprenticeship as an alternative to continue with their schooling.

Cosatu economist Chris Malikane is convinced drafters of the New Growth Path may have elected to focus considerably less on how to fix the education system, as they failed to view it as being an investment priority.

But Neva Makgetla, Deputy Director General for policy within the Department of Economic Development claims there was an inclination by many commentators to fall back on education as the approach to solving unemployment, having said that she indicates that education alone is not a short-term resolution for joblessness. “So you need to focus on other means,” she adds.

Besides this, the document does not focus a great deal on education as it is primarily an economic document.

In its discussion document “Perspectives on an inclusive higher job rich growth path for SA by 2025” published a week ago, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) pointed to five year issues identified by a recent policy forum the association had organised, examples of these are:

  • A “back to basics” focus on education which is “world class” and placement orientated and accessible to all;
  • More appropriate and accessible skills development;
  • A focus on a state which delivers as well as being monitored;
  • Focus on establishing regional infrastructure;
  • Inclusive wage setting which reflects skills and productivity, “with entry wages facilitating access to employment”.

Most economist agree that The New Economic Growth Plan will not work unless a social compact and national vision is crafted in which all South Africans interact with each other.

DA shadow minister for trade and industry Tim Harris, who recently criticised the New Growth Plan in an article published in Business Day, stating that is was rather a “path to poverty”, however, mentioned he thought the call for a social pact between labour, government and business was a much needed intervention.

He points to the example of how a social pact in the 1980s among business and labour in Ireland was triumphant in remodeling the country into a Celtic Tiger for quite a few years.

Tim Harris, DA Shadow Minister for Trade and Industry

Despite the fact that Ireland recently defaulted on its debt, there is certainly a good deal the country could possibly in spite of everything gain knowledge from the European country’s approach 30-odd years ago.

Harris says a social pact at the time had been very helpful to cut corporate taxes in addition to a state-brokered deal had moderate wages and labour regulations, in return for job creation and up-skilling of the labour force.

According to the International Labour Organisation, Ireland had been suffering from an unemployment rate of 17 percent and additionally inflation was on average at 12 percent in the decade right up until 1987. With the lack of job opportunities along with decreasing real wages, emigration ended up being at its greatest level since the 1950s.

The trade unions, employers and the government, began negotiating in 1987 which contributed to the very first social pact, the Programme for National Recovery (PNR).

Azar Jammine, chief economist of Econometrix, has recently also questioned just how the New Growth Path fitted in with the National Planning Commission.

But Makgetla says while the New Growth Path was a short-term plan, the National Planning Commission is going to be tasked with long-term plans.

She affirms the New Growth Path is not a concrete plan, but rather a discussion document which could lead in the future to the tabling of some of the proposal and recommendations mooted in the document’s framework.

Source: BuaNews, punahou.edu, missionvaleireland.org, ralphandkirstin.com