One of the key approaches to restructuring the education system and promoting social change is the school-level decentralisation, which is seen as essential for broad based participation to promote democracy. The key principles in establishing School Governing Boards (SGB’s) include efficiency, good governance and social responsibility.
The SGB’s comprise the school principal, elected representatives of parents, teachers, non-teaching staff and (in secondary schools) learners. Parents have the majority stake to ensure that previously marginalised constituencies have a greater voice.
The SGB elections are the third largest public elections in South Africa, with over 5 million parents eligible for voting.
Whilst this policy encourages democratisation and involvement of the community, it presents challenges in the poorer communities:
●There are skills gaps between teachers and parents, which is compounded by an “expertise-drain” from township schools as parents move their children to better resourced schools.
●There are serious infrastructure backlogs to contend with.
●Problems with sustaining active parent participation, caused by literacy levels, lack of time and costs (such as transport) and a lack of understanding of their role and empowerment issues in asserting themselves.
●Tensions between school management teams and SGB’s with concern about SGB’s involving themselves in teacher conduct over professional matters.
●Issues regarding learner admission, relating to the inability to pay fees and lack of proper documentation. The OECD review claims that poor parents are being discriminated against.
●Claims of cronyism in the appointment of teachers.
While it is right in principle to increase the autonomy of schools, the OECD report highlights the fact that many poorly equipped SGB’s struggle to fulfil their basic functions. A lack of skills, sustaining active participation and the enormous infrastructure backlogs are key challenges to the SGB’s functioning efficiently.
Improvements are needed in certain critical areas, such as parental involvement, school development plans and fundraising. Criticisms have been made about “ceding power to the local site” which fails to take account of the diverse interests at local level.
Whilst it is the responsibility of provincial governments to provide training for SGB’s, the OECD report could not find clear evidence of this happening. There appears to be “a deep sense of despondency and hopelessness among those faced with the daunting task of governing schools in these circumstances”.
Issues of finance and budgeting take up a large proportion of the SGB’s time as they have the authority to set and collect school fees, but this is at the expense of other matters of learning and teaching. SGB’s do not always publicise the parents’ right to apply for discounts or exemptions in paying for school fees.
Despite these challenges, most SGB’s have encouraged public participation and accountability, with 200 000 volunteer citizens involved. SGB’s are now recognised as a juristic person, which redefines conflicts from a political to a legislative nature.
The OECD report recommends the following actions for improving governance:
●An administrative model based on constructive oversight should be devised, to improve accountable implementation of policy. A revitalised professional inspectorate could be introduced to ensure greater educational quality.
●The policy development cycle needs to make provision for partnership representation of provinces in policy design and in providing feedback on implementation challenges to inform policy revision.
●Focused training programmes are required to build capacity at provincial and district levels.
●To improve co-ordination of policy design and implementation, it is proposed that periodic staff transfer should be implemented between national and provincial levels.
●New policy should be tested with pilot projects, to “road-test” and identify potential challenges for implementation.
●Policy initiatives need to be supported with effective communication, which needs to be incorporated from the initial stage of the policy process, not limited to the “selling stage” once a policy has been developed.
●It is recommended that the education system would benefit from a period of relative stability and an era of consolidation to address the “reform fatigue” which is being experienced on the ground.
Municipalities govern on a four year basis and run local affairs including service delivery of basic services. This raises concerns about the ability of many poorer municipalities to deliver the services for which they are responsible. A low revenue base, compounded by a lack of capacity to collect taxes, cases of corruption, lack of qualified municipal staff and financial mismanagement are all contributory factors. This is impacting on improving and maintaining local infrastructure, such as roads, sanitation and water supply.
The Government is in the process of reviewing the system of provincial and local government and a white paper relating to this issue was expected at the end of 2007 and has not yet been published.
There is a call for papers to support the 2009 State of Local Government Research (SoLG). The purpose of this research project is to “produce a regular civil society-based assessment of the key challenges, debates and areas of progress with regard to governance and development at the local level in South Africa. It also aims to provide local government policy-makers and practitioners with practical recommendations to improve policy, guidelines, systems and interventions where necessary”.
This research follows the initial SoLG project: “Local Democracy in Action: A Civil Society Perspective on Local Governance in South Africa”. This was the culmination of months of research by the members of the Good Governance Learning Network (GGLN), which provided local government policy-makers and practitioners with practical recommendations to improve policy, systems, guidelines and interventions. The theme for the annual SoLG report for 2009 is “Ethical Leadership & Political Culture in Local Government”. This follows the findings of the 2008 report, which acknowledged the role of local leadership as “being crucial in addressing some of the developmental state’s numerous challenges”.
The 2008 SoLG report found that administrators and non-executive councillors often complained that “par ty caucuses made the real decisions; that council debates were orchestrated and unlikely to have any real impact on final decisions; and that politicians blamed the administrators for poor implementation of sound policy and in turn the administrators blame the politicians for making policy that cannot be practically implemented.”
The GGLN confirms that high ethical standards are the cornerstone of good governance. If democracy is to be promoted, it is essential that governance at all levels must be ethical. Ethical governance focuses on the standards of conduct of all holders of public office, including financial and commercial activities.
Leadership is required in creating an overall framework and direction and as an example of the values and ethos of governing. This creates commitment to good governance and builds confidence in those stakeholders who are involved in supporting development.
The 2008 report confirms that South Africa has an extensive framework of anti-corruption legislation and policy. This report acknowledges that surveys indicate that the public perceive local government to be a “hotbed of corruption”. The report confirmed that the major source of corruption is tenders and procurement procedures. This is compounded by misadministration, which is manifest in poor management and governance, particularly over financial and reporting matters.
Governance and appropriate financial resourcing of the education system are areas of bedrock importance. This chapter provides an overview of the governance structure for the education system and the system of financing to ensure an equitable system. South Africa has adopted a concurrent mode of governance, with powers divided between the national and provincial departments of education, with the greater part (about 86%) of the budget being distributed through the provincial departments.
The Constitution makes provision for the sharing of power across three levels of Government: national, provincial and municipal in a co-operative governance model through a ministerial council. The national and provincial governments have concurrent legislative competence with each level having specific powers.
This model is not defined by a hierarchy power structure, which means that provincial levels retain the power to govern at provincial level, provided it does not impact on national priorities.
Whilst the national government is responsible for policy formulation, provincial government is responsible for implementation. However, there are concerns about the co-operative governance model, which centres on accountability. The question is raised about how the constitutional sharing of power can best contribute to sound educational policy making and effective implementation, to ensure quality Education For All (EFA). The National Treasury highlights this issue in a report stating that “policy making, budgeting, implementation and accountability for concurrent functions test the robustness of South Africa’s intergovernmental system from time to time... concurrent functions do occasionally present particular challenges”.
Examples of these challenges include misalignment between policy objectives and resource allocation and accountability for non-delivery. At the national level, there are limited powers to hold provincial and municipal authorities accountable for non-delivery on national policy. The mechanism for resolving these challenges rests with the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), where the national and provincial ministers meet on a six-weekly basis to discuss policy matters. The Director General of the DoE also meets on a regular basis with the Heads of the Education Departments Committee and organises bilateral meetings with each of the heads of the provincial departments.
According to the OECD report, international experience shows that separating policy and implementation, without ensuring regular and focused feedback “loops”, almost inevitably leads to a divergence between intended policy and delivery. The OECD report suggests that sound policy making and implementation requires a circular, not linear model to ensure accountability.
The “new public management” approach dominant in scientific literature on public services and management, recommends the devolution of certain powers to local and provincial authorities and/or agencies. The OECD report recommends that it is important to “move from controlling input and process to controlling performance, with constructive monitoring and constant co-operation between the ministers and the departments and the agencies”.
“The process of getting things right cannot be entirely driven by the top, but depends on co-operating and learning from both parties”.
The findings of the OECD report confirm that there is a genuine spirit of co-operation and that the ministers are exceptionally competent and motivated to transform education. This is supported by strong co-operation with the National Treasury and a dedicated and open civil service support.
However, the lack of an effective accountability model implies that there is no mechanism to ensure quality provision at the district and school level, particularly with regard to resource allocation and financial management. The national level does not have financial audit authority over provinces and provincial authorities are not obliged to support national priority areas.
A model of constructive oversight is proposed by the OECD, focused on better government and a clean, efficient and open administration to facilitate effective policy and implementation. This model should include a revitalised, professional form of inspectorate to ensure that every learner across the country receives the quality of education to which he/she is entitled.
The country is ushering in a new era in youth development with the launch of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), a South African youth development agency resulting from the merger of the National Youth Commission (NYC) and Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF). NYDA was established for two primary reasons. Firstly, it is aimed at consolidating various youth government structures into one entity. Therefore, the NYDA will be operational at national, provincial and local government level and thus improve coordination.
Secondly, the NYDA Act provides a regulated mechanism that can be used to implement youth development programmes based on agreed policy. UYF existed outside an act of Parliament and therefore had no regulated mandate. This made access to resources unpredictable. With the Act, the NYDA will be able to access resources on a sustainable basis and therefore take programmes to scale.
UYF was established in January 2001 with the R855 million generated from the demutualisation of Sanlam and Old Mutual. UYF’s mandate was to create a platform for skills development and job creation for the South African youth between the ages of 18 and 35 and entrepreneurship support for women of all ages. UYF made strategic investments that facilitated opportunities for young people to acquire skills, access job opportunities and pursue meaningful self-employment opportunities through various enterprise initiatives. UYF executed its mandate by focusing on three programmatic areas being; Information Provision, Skills Development and Transfer and Entrepreneurship programmes.
Some of UYF’s achievements include:
●Being a world-leading youth development agency in terms of its breadth of products and services, its holistic approach to addressing the needs of young people covering information and counseling, skills development and entrepreneurship.
●Training over 250 000 youth.
●Recruiting over 6 000 volunteers for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009.
●Supporting over 110 000 youth entrepreneurs including advancing R637 million Enterprise Finance (loans & investments) and Business Development Support Services valued at R300 million through the Business Consultancy Services Voucher Programme.
●Leveraging approximately R2 billion from the Private Sector including R240 million from First National Bank, R100 million from Old Mutual, R25 million from Business Partners and from the Public Sector including the Expanded Public Works Programme and various SETAs.
●Creating a network of 121 Youth Advisory Centres visited by over 2,1 million youth.
●Being the First and only Development Funding Institution in South Africa to receive ISO 9001:2000 certification confirming our status as the World’s leading Youth Development Institution.
As skills are seen as the gateway to economic opportunity and social mobility, it is essential to ensure fairness, quality and flexibility of learning opportunities across a range of formats. This is the purpose of the NQF, which is aimed at standardising, within certain limits, the education and training system. This includes institutional types of education and occupational (work related) skills development, including vocational learning, apprenticeships, internships and learnerships.
The NQF provides the scaffolding of the education system and was to promote an egalitarian educational system, which facilitated mobility and progression within education, training and career paths and to redress past unfair discrimination in education by recognising prior learning. The framework also ensures quality within the system, as learners are able to review programmes against a standard framework of measurement.
The NQF originated from the living wage struggles and student uprisings of the 1970’s. Employers rejected demands for wage increases by workers on the grounds that workers did not have the skills to earn higher wages. In 1989, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) formed a focus group to develop recommendations for transforming skills development. This research group identified the link between skills and salary gradings and confirmed the importance of basic education, so that workers could access skills development opportunities. These recommendations were adopted into COSATU’s formal policy in July 1991.
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) were also developing innovative responses to these education and training challenges, which resulted in the National Education Policy Initiative (NEPI) of 1992. This initiative called for more detailed proposals for the restructuring of the formal education system and proposed a unified system of education and training that embodied democratic principles to redress past imbalances. The need for an integrated system was also identified by the task team established in 1992 by the Department of Manpower and the trade union federations. This growing consensus resulted in an interministerial working group being established to draft an NQF bill, which became the South African Qualifications act of 1995.
The NQF is based on the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) Act of 1995 and is an overarching structure, aimed at bringing together schooling, industrial training and higher education into a single qualifications framework. The SAQA act provided for an outcomes based system, where skills and knowledge could be measured against “socially agreed standards”, to provide a uniform system for quality management.
In 2000, 25 SETA’s were established to regulate the qualifications provided to employees. The SETA/NQF model of quality assurance was based on decentralised assessment where individual institutions are accredited to offer specific, registered qualifications. Each SETA has its own requirements for the accreditation of providers within its sector, which have to design learning programmes aligned to the registered qualifications and ensure assessment and moderation to ensure quality assurance of the system.
The development of an NQF is in line with international best practice, with 12% of countries having established frameworks, and a total of 53% of countries involved in developing frameworks (including the 12% of countries which have already established a framework). This practice is supported by international bodies, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the European Commission.
The principles of the NQF include:
●Opening access to education for adults who missed out on previous learning opportunities.
●Making the learning system more transparent and accountable.
●Integrating the many different components and unifying them under the NQF principles.
●Allowing learners to transfer credits from one course to another and from one part of the system to another.
●Recognising skills acquired through experience as well as through traditional study.
The first five years of the NQF required substantial work to develop unit standards, register qualifications and guidelines on a range of topics. Simultaneously, an entire provider accreditation system had to be developed as part of the quality assurance of the delivery and assessment of skills development programmes and learnerships. The unprecedented scale of change being effected resulted in the inevitable criticism of the newly developed system.
This criticism of the NQF centred on:
●Having more impact on discussion than practice;
●For being restrictive, bureaucratic and focused on the old style of learning;
●For being unduly complex with elaborate standards being proliferated by quality assurance bodies;
●For the low level of people actually trained and certificated.
The OECD review confirmed criticism of the NQF as “complex, slow, costly and over bureaucratic” with expressed concern over the management of SAQA, particularly regarding the number of existing qualifications (10 000) and the mismatch between graduate skills and the skills required by the market.
The structure of the National Qualification Framework
National Skills Certificate
National Senior Certificate
Adult FET Certificate L4
General Education and Training
GET Certificate L1
This criticism resulted in a review process, including “the report of the study team on the implementation of the NQF” (April 2002), followed by “An interdependent NQF System consultative document” (July 2003). These reviews informed the development of the Joint Policy Statement of the Ministers of Education and Labour. During the review process, SAQA ran out of its European Union start-up funding and the uncertainty and disputes arising from the review resulted in an operational paralysis.
The disagreement centred on the principle of one integrated qualification framework for academic, vocational and occupational learning, which was energised by the traditional divide between the discipline-based academic learning and skills development.22 The intrinsic differences arising between academic, vocational and occupational learning created a permanent potential for conflict. An example of this conflict is the overlapping and conflicting roles and responsibilities of the 31 ETQA quality assurance bodies.
The original NQF developed within South Africa was unique in that it covered all education sub-frameworks and learning contexts, with a common set of qualification types and level descriptions. This resulted in a complex structure which presented implementation challenges. The Joint Policy Statement confirmed the intention of preserving a single national qualifications framework, while allowing greater independence for institution based learning and work based learning. This statement informed the development of the Skills Development Bill (2008). The revised NQF bill (Republic of South Africa, 2008) aims at addressing these issues to improve the framework and provides for a more loosely integrated framework.
The NQF is now organised into three distinct sub-frameworks:
●The General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Framework (GFETQF), which is the responsibility of the DoE.
●The Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF), which is also the responsibility of the DoE.
●The Occupational Qualifications Framework (OQF), which is the responsibility of the Department of Labour (DoL).
Each sub-framework has its own quality assurance body and is required to collaborate and co-ordinate with the other frameworks to maintain the principles of the NQF.
Another strategy for addressing social inequity is the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), which was adopted as a framework in 2003. The aim is to encourage South Africans who were previously disadvantaged to be more involved in the formal economy. Skills development, direct empowerment (equity and management control) and social investment are critical areas on the scorecard.
This strategy is in response to a recent report that indicates that while economic growth has risen significantly in South Africa, societal inequality continues to broaden, with serious consequences for stability and security. Economic growth is not achieving the anticipated transformation, and is causing internal migration, increased poverty and marginalisation and social inequality.
Education forms part of this social inequality, with schools becoming places where these social problems are tangible and sending alarming signals to the broader community.
Education was previously a symbol of Apartheid as it represented the visible inequity based on racial discrimination and schools were often the rallying point for the struggle against Apartheid. The system is still suffering from this image and schools are still considered to be places where discontent can be shown with aggressive behaviour.
According to the OECD report, the concept of economic and social cohesion as a strategy for alleviating social inequality is not adequately integrated into the national strategic policies of AsgiSA, JIPSA and BBBEE or the provincial government priority action plans. The links between education and training, resulting in economic development have not been sufficiently developed and the dialogue between the working world and education is not adequately addressed in the provincial plans.
The Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI SA)
The current economic strategy, which is focused on AsgiSA, is aimed at halving poverty and unemployment by 2014 and the skills shortage is identified in this strategy as a key barrier to achieving this target.
The strategy identified key measures for education and skills development to address the skills shortages, including:
●Achieving high levels of literacy and numeracy;
●Increasing mathematics and science high school graduates to 50 000 by 2008;
●Upgrading career guidance programmes;
●Upgrading FET colleges;
●Revamping ABET programmes.
●Other interventions include the development of an Employment Services system to align potential employers and employees.
The National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS)
The NHRDS provides an overarching plan to co-ordinate the efforts of the private and public sector in developing education and skills development. The NHRDS co-ordinates education, skills development, the supply and demand forecasting for skills, employment growth and the national systems for innovation and research and development.
The purpose of this strategy is to ensure effective co-ordination and integration of policies across government departments, with individual responsibility remaining within each ministry, whilst ensuring a common strategic framework to enable policy development.
The key success indicator of the NHRDS is improvement in the Human Development Index (HDI) for South Africa, which measures literacy, educational attainment, life expectancy and GDP per capita. The HDI is used as a standard assessment of human development by the United National Development Program to categorise countries into developing and developed nations and
South Africa is ranked 121 in the world. This raises concern, as the ranking is lower than the 2001 ranking of 103 at the time of the launch of the NHRDS.
This initiative identified the following objectives to be achieved by 2010:
●Increase the number of engineers graduating from higher education by 1000 to 2 400 per year.
●Increase the number of artisans from 5 000 to 12 500 per year, by improving communication about the various pathways for learners, including apprenticeships, learnerships and the new FET qualifications.
●Improve the competitiveness of the tourism sector, by developing programmes to deal with skills shortages in this sector.
●Address the issue of ICT skills shortages.
●Strengthen town and regional planning capacity.
●Train young unemployed people from disadvantaged backgrounds for business outsourcing.
●Address the mismatch between unemployed black graduates and the skills required by the economy through the organisation of job placement initiatives.
The revised NHRDS has a strong economic and social focus and includes the following features:
●The Minister of Education is now responsible for the NHRDS, replacing the previous joint responsibility between the Ministers of Education and Labour.
●The aim is to promote multistakeholder participation across nine strategic priorities, which are defined in time frames and annual targets.
●A 20 year planning perspective, a five year strategic year plan and a one year implementation plan.
The NSDS strategy is developed in five year plans, with the first phase from 2001-2005, followed by the second phase of 2005-2010, which has the following quantitative targets:
●At least 80% of government departments are to spend 1% of payroll on training and the related impact is to be measured and reported.
●At least 500 enterprises will achieve a national standard of good practice in skills development and will be refunded 50% of the levy.
●At least 700 000 workers will have achieved at least ABET level 4.
●SETA discretionary grants to include grants for learnerships and bursaries.
To encourage skills development in the workplace, the Government has introduced a skills development levy (1% of payroll) for any registered company in South Africa. This levy can be partially refunded to the company on proof that training has been completed by accredited training providers.
Companies submit workplace skills plans and implementation reports to enable them to claim back some of the levy. The National Skills Development Strategy foresees an increase in the skills development levy from 1% to 3%.
The OECD review suggested that the SETA’s system of grants to employers is too complex and bureaucratic, which undermines the investment in HR development. A survey was conducted on 505 enterprises and of the 51% of enterprises who were eligible to pay the levy, only 16% were claiming grants.
The third phase of the NSDS begins in April 2010. The NSDS informs the National Human Development Strategy (NHRDS), and focuses on the human resource development elements that relate to vocational training and skills development in the workplace.
The reasons cited for not claiming the grant, included:
This training has lagged behind in the promotion of human resource development, resulting in a serious skills shortage in South Africa. This has been compounded by the mismatch between the training that has been offered and the needs of the economy.
The National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) has been developed to address this challenge, and this strategy guides the strategic planning of the DoL, the National Skills Fund, the SETA’s and related agencies and represents a broad stakeholder view of national principles, priorities, objectives and success indicators to guide skills development.
The NSDS is developed through a consultative process organised by the National Skills Authority, which is established by the Minister of Labour, and includes representatives from the government, business, labour, community and skills development specialists.
After the democratic elections in 1994, the government inherited a fragmented education and training system with embedded inequality, which reflected serious underinvestment. The new regime placed a priority on the transformation of the education system, as integral to the development of a democratic society. This priority led to the restructuring of the entire education and training system to overcome the racial, gender and anti-poor bias to ensure alignment with the new constitution.
The Government identified that sustained economic growth is essential for societal transformation and one of the priority areas for supporting economic growth was skills development to ensure sufficient and relevant skills to support growth and transformation.
According to Kraak (2007), there continues to be a disconnection between employment opportunities and the needs of the economy. In the past few years, the rate of economic growth is outstripping the ability of institutions to provide the necessary skills for this growth.
To address this challenge, the Government has identified that the major drivers for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) strategy are “employability, entrepreneurship, efficiency and sustainability, the support of economic development and the creation of national wealth and contributing to poverty alleviation.” This strategy addresses the fact that young people are the dominant group of unemployed (70%) and represent the largest group of long-term unemployed individuals.
Recognise and reward the teachers - 2015 Stars in Education Teachers Awards
Do you know of a teacher that is doing great work in your community?
Encourage them to ENTER the 2015 Stars in Education Teachers Awards
Someone that goes the extra mile for her/his learners by doing extra curricular projects within a school or community? Most of these teachers are running these projects with limited budgets and do this in their spare time. Does this project have an impact in your school or community? It is time to say thank you to these teachers and reward them for their hard work that makes a change in their community and in the lives of others.
Recognise and reward teachers for the essential role they play in society
, CEO of Argo
How come every conversation about education starts with “the problem in education is….”? If we take a step back, then we can see education as an opportunity, to inspire our children to love learning, so that they can grow into what they were meant to be. And if it’s all about leadership and inspiration, then why are we focusing all our energy on what content needs to be taught in the classroom, while we miss the essential element – the teacher, who determines whether children love learning or lose interest as more content is shoved down their throats?
How do we recognise great teachers who inspire others?
We all remember a teacher, who made a difference in our lives, who inspired and shaped our future – but very often we don’t have the confidence to thank the teacher, before we leave school. So, now you have the chance to make an impact. Nominate a great teacher, or ask your children which teacher they love and help them to nominate this teacher, so that we don’t lose these great teachers. The Stars in Education Teachers Awards is designed to recognise those teachers, who are great role models in the classroom and their communities and who inspire others with their actions. They understand that:
"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire." —William Butler Yeats
The fire is starting on social media
The Stars in Education Teachers Awards has just been launched on a range of social and digital media platforms so, join us in encouraging teachers to believe in their value, and entering great teachers. October is the month for celebrating teachers, so it’s now that we can say thanks to that special teacher that made a difference in our lives, by honouring teachers out there, who share their light with others, who go beyond filling buckets, to inspire learners to be more than they thought they could be. If you need any inspiration, watch some of the previous winners on youtube, as they share what the campaign has done for them, their learners and their communities.
It’s about working together to improve education
The Stars in Education Teachers Awards is supported by social leaders: Pearson, SACE, SADTU, Mindset TV and MetroFM, who understand that we need to work together to support the Government and social transformation. The impact of the campaign extends far beyond a competition. Leading NGO’s who do grass roots work with the campaign receive media support from Argo and leading brands make social investment decisions, based on their exposure to the winning teachers. Pitso Kekana, the head of Corporate Citizenship for Samsung South Africa explains that:
“Had it not been for Argo and the Stars in Education Teacher Awards, Samsung would not have found the School located 80 kilometres from Polokwane’s city centre where the 2013 Stars in Education Teachers Awards winner, Dungile Maponyane teaches. Samsung has donated a Smart Classroom, equipped with 40 tablets, a printer, eBoard and more to Bathokwa Secondary. The handover of the Smart Classroom takes place during October, to celebrate teachers”.
“Winning the 2013 Stars in Education Awards is one of the greatest opportunities I ever had in my life. It has opened doors of success and recognition for the DTMSC project. Educators it takes effort and passion to do extra work to help the community in either way, do it, face the challenges and never quit” says Dungile Maponyane.
If you would like to make a difference in education, connect with Argo to explore ideas on how we can achieve quality education together.
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:
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 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.
Stars in Education 2013- Winner announced on World Teachers Day
October is a month for celebrating teachers, acknowledging and honouring them for the crucial role that they play in the lives of young learners as well as for the excellent contribution that they make to society as a whole. It is also the month in which the announcement of one of South Africa’s influential teacher’s awards programme for teachers who go the extra mile on an extra-curricular basis, Stars in Education, takes place. This project, now in its sixth year, rewards teachers for their contribution in their community and celebrates ‘bright spots’ and success stories in the education landscape where teachers go above and beyond the call of duty.
Stars in Educationis the brainchild of Argo, the multi-media communications company that is living its brand promise “to inform, involve and inspire”. Argo gave birth to the project in 2008 and has, in a short space of time, built a credible, recognisable and most importantly inspirational awards platform, giving credence to the everyday heroes who are guiding our youth. This vision has been made possible by the on-going support of sponsors like TSB Sugar, Hatch Goba, Mindset TV, Metro FM and SACE - companies who are themselves committed to uplifting our education system, and rewarding those who contribute to its improvement.
In 2013, the Stars in Education project has received a large amount of nominations in projects addressing a vast range of community needs. Entries were received from all over South Africa and ranged from keeping learners fit and healthy preventing diseases through better living. Creation of local homes for vulnerable children and oprhans as well as being a community outreach hub that helps to empower the surrounding HIV/Aids-affected community. Fighting against drugs, alcohol and diseases whilst honouring cancer survivors, to a global initiative to raise awareness around the dire rhino poaching situation in South Africa. The scope of projects put forward is inspiring and showcases just how many teachers are often going above and beyond the call of duty and influencing their communities.
IMAGE: Dungile Maponyane
This year, the extremely high standard of entries made judging difficult, but in the end it was Dungile Maponyane of Bathokwa Secondary fromDUNGILE TRAINING MATHS AND SCIENCE CENTRE (Mokopane, Limpopo). DTMSC is a project that offers maths, science and commerce extra classes for high school learners in Mogalakwena Municipality in the Waterberg District. Vacation camps are held for the learners all over the province. Dungile has dedicated her energy to improving maths achievement in his community; through sheer determination and persistence. She has presented papers about maths education and curriculum changes at international symposia; as well as pursuing her masters; whilst inspiring her former learners to become maths and science teachers who have subsequently returned home to assist her in running these camps.
Second place went to Ms. Mabore Lekalakala of Toronto Primary fromCOMPUTER ADVENTURES TO DISCOVER MATHEMATICS (Polokwane, Limpopo). Recognising how challenging mathematics was for her Grade 5 learners who are next generation learners, especially those from informal settlements with little or no parental support, Ms. Lekalakala created an environment for learners to create a fun computer learning resource that simplifies challenging maths concepts, teaching other learners how to use technology and understand mathematics. She connected to learners through modalities which engages them in learning oriented activities.
IMAGE: Francis Zungu
Third place went to Mr. Francis Zungu of Kearsney College, MAKAPHUTU CHILDREN’S VILLAGE (Pietermaritzburg, KZN). Makaphutu serves as a home to 51 vulnerable children and orphans, as well as being a community outreach hub that helps to empower the surrounding HIV/Aids-affected community. Francis has been instrumental in inspiring and encouraging Kearsney learners to become an integral part of Makuphutu; forging a partnership between the organisations which has changed the paradigms of Kearsney learners in the community in which the school resides. Francis’s ability to grow true servant leadership in the Kearsney learners was through activities between the school and the village and has inspired a new generation of learners with heart for community.
The Stars in Education Project would not exist if not for the many incredible teachers in our country who go above and beyond in identifying and addressing the needs within their immediate communities and in doing so, for the undeniable difference that they make to our children and to our future. Sue Fontannaz, CEO of Argo, “Argo and our valuable sponsors salute the efforts of these amazing earth angels and are committed to continue to recognise their incredible contribution to society with our Stars in Education campaign. We already look forward to 2014 and unearthing even more of the incredible projects that are being undertaken to ensure a better and brighter future for South Africa.”
IMAGE (from left to right): Tshepo Kgobe ( Executive Director of Hatch Goba), Navaneetham Ponnan (finalist), Anil Sookraj (finalist), Selvaranie Naicker (finalist), Dungile Maponyane (2013 Stars in Education Winner) and Francis Zungu (3rd place).
October was a month for celebrating teachers, acknowledging and honouring them for the crucial role that they play in the lives of young learners as well as for the excellent contribution that they make to society as a whole. It was also the month in which the announcement of the winners of one of South Africa’s influential teacher’s awards programme for teachers who go the extra mile on an extra-curricular basis, Stars in Education, took place. This project, now in its fifth year, rewards teachers for their contribution in their community and celebrates ‘bright spots’ and success stories in the education landscape where teachers go above and beyond the call of duty.
Stars in Education is the brainchild of Argo, a multi-media solutions provider, that realised that teachers were not being recognised enough for the invaluable role they played within their communities in projects outside the classroom. Staying true to its brand values “to inform, involve and inspire”, Argo decided to start the Stars in Education project in 2008. Made possible by the generous and ongoing sponsorship of such companies as Cell C,Mindset Learn, Metro FM, The Star Newspaper, Macmillan and the Transnet Foundation, these well-known and sustaining brands along with new partners, TSB Sugar lend even further credibility to the initiative. By aligning with this campaign and working together, sponsors have shown their genuine commitment to a better future and have built brand affinity, making a real impact on the education landscape with a project that is founded on real stories of hope and inspiration.
In 2012, the Stars in Education project has received a large amount of nominations in projects addressing a vast range of community needs. Entries were received from all over South Africa and ranged from the creation of local orphanages and old age care facilities to inspiring young achievers, water education and food gardening to Early Childhood Development projects, Parent and School interaction projects to Culture-based extra curricular programmes, Brass Bands to aerobic instruction. The scope of projects put forward is inspiring and showcases just how many teachers are often going above and beyond the call of duty and influencing their communities.
This year, the extremely high standard of entries made judging difficult, but in the end, it was Ms. Thabo Motaung who won top honours with the Thari Mmelegi Orphanage that she created out of the need for children’s care born out of the loss of parents in their community to HIV/AIDS. Put forward by one of her students, Tebogo Motsueyane from the Bana Pele Primary School in Rustenberg, this incredible teacher received first place for her commitment to this cause and for successfully running this project for the past five years. When asked what made her start the project, Mary explained that their small community was losing their youth and leaving the aged to look after the orphaned children left behind, often with no income except social grants. This orphanage supplies much needed care for these orphans and therefore assists the elderly in the community by reducing their financial responsibility for the children. The facility provides a safe haven for the children where they are fed and clothed and even offered counselling and medical care. Thabo’s role in this orphanage is an all encompassing one, from securing funding to acquiring sponsors and developing structures – she is a real pillar of this community and is commended for her role in this small Rustenberg .
Second place went to FOOD GARDENING by Ms. Nomonde Ntsundwana of the Seisi Primary School in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. This project is about creating permaculture gardens for community members who plant in schoolyards, household yards, churches and clinics with the aim of sustainable methods of producing food. Nomonde has translated her passion for gardening into a means of transferring a skill to the community at large, which will inevitably ensure that they can feed themselves. What is so incredible about this project is that Nomonde is hands on in showing the community the easy and sustainable methods of producing food, seedlings, sharing herbs and preparing the soil – a transferring of skills that makes this community more self sufficient.
In third place this year, was Ms. Mary Weshi Setshedi, Principal of the Mmatsheko Primary School in Temba for her Turo Centre for the Aged. This home for the elderly was started in 2001 to provide care for the abused and neglected. Mary gave up her own home as the facility for this project to protect and care for as many senior citizens in her community as possible. When asked what prompted her to start the project, Mary spoke of her own personal experience with her Mother who lived in a community in the rural North-West. Due to distance, Mary was unaware that her Mother was not being cared for by the community in which she lived, and despite having some of her Grandchildren nearby, was neglected. After losing her Mother, she made a decision to try and supply care and protection for as many elderly people as possible. She has more than delivered on her promise and is an inspiration.
The other finalists (in no particular order) included:
LEISURELY LEARNING CULTURE by Mabore Dorothy Lekalakala of the Toronto Primary School in the Limpopo Province. This project was started to establish a culture of learning in Mabore’s classroom. She wanted to motivate and encourage learners to focus on their schoolwork so that they can improve their life in the future and uses such tools as computer literacy, Girl Guides, a chess programme, math/science contests and the arts to achieve this goal. The project aims to bring back a spirit of commitment to both schoolwork and all aspects of life.
AEROBICS THROUGH IT by Sadike Kekana of the Toronto Primary School in Sovenga. Born out of concern of the rate of obesity in children, Sadike put this project together to teach learners about the right diet, physical fitness and emotional benefits of exercise.
THE MATSAKA BRASS BAND by Mohlaloga Matsaka Edwin of the Boetse Secondary School in Polokwane.This marching brass band was created by Mohlaloga to give boys from the ages of 10 to 19 years of positive cultural training and to keep them occupied over the weekends and holidays. Over and above learning to play an instrument, Mohlaloga also teaches and guides these youths in the danger of drugs and alcohol abuse and further life training in terms of respect of elders and the importance of education and culture.
ACHIEVERS, WINTER CARE AND YOUNG-HOPE by Phindile Faith Mkhize of the Mdulashi High School in Harding. The first of these three projects, the Achievers Programme offers young learners the opportunity to mentor their peers by giving motivational speeches, hosting youth talk shows and assisting other learners who have trouble with English. These young achievers act as examples to their peers and give motivation to fellow students. The Winter Care Project was started to collect blankets and school shoes to less advantaged children in the community and was championed by the children of the Achievers programme. Finally, the Young-Hope Project is conducted in conjunction with Winter-Care and co-ordinates the collection of clothes and funds for less advantaged students and a nearby orphanage.
MENTORSHIP OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT EXPANSION PROJECT by Funeka Jija, Principal and Grade R teacher at the Jujurha Pre-School in the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area in the Eastern Cape. This project began with a vision that education is the most important instrument for change and has resulted in the successful creation of 4 excellent preschools in the villages of Nqileni, Tshezi, Folokhwe and Mgojweni by the beginning of 2013. Each school was set up by Funeka offering sixty 4-5 year old children 3 balanced meals a day and education through purposeful play.
MENTORSHIP OF THE EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT EXPANSION PROJECT by Xolisa Dayimani, ECD Practitioner at the Jujurha Pre-School in the Xhora Mouth Administrative Area in the Eastern Cape. Xolisa is employed by the Bulungula Incubator (BI) which is an NGO established in 2007 to address the challenges of rural poverty while promoting and preserving the positive effects of the traditional African lifestyle and culture. The central focus of BI’s integrated rural development strategy is to use education as an instrument for change starting from the base up and focusing on Early Childhood Development as a means to achieve this goal. Xolisa has been involved with the successful creation of pre-schools in the community who focus on achieving this in this remote area on the Wild Coast.
WATER WISE AND PEER MEDIATOR Project by Zola Mqoboka of the Siyabulela Pre-School in Langa, Cape Town. The project was started to create awareness around the prevention of wastage of our most valuable resource, water. The project also ensures cleanliness within the school and sets an example in terms of achieving this goal. The Peer Mediator portion of the project ensures that struggling students are offered assistance outside of school hours.
CONVERSATION CIRCLES FOR PARENTS by Ms Sarisha Komal of the Grovesnor High School in Durban. Sarisha started this project as she identified after 19 years of being an educator that positive change is needed to bring about successful children in schools. She also identified that she needed to start with parents, as parents should be the child’s first teacher on success and happiness. The project aims to create a comfortable space in which to welcome parents and to build community and self-awareness of the role that parents play.
The Stars in Education Project would not exist if not for the many incredible teachers in our country who go above and beyond in identifying and addressing the needs within their immediate communities and in doing so, for the undeniable difference that they make to our children and to our future. Said Sue Fontannaz, MD of Argo, “Argo and our valuable sponsors salute the efforts of these amazing earth angels and are committed to continue to recognise their incredible contribution to society with our Stars in Education campaign. We already look forward to 2013 and unearthing even more of the incredible projects that are being undertaken to ensure a better and brighter future for South Africa.”
2010 has been an amazing year for the Stars in Education Awards. We recieved well over 60 entries from different areas throughout South Africa, each one unique in character and achievements. This made it extremely difficult to determine who the finalists and inevitably, the winners of the 2010 Stars in Education Awards are.
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