Archive for the ‘DoE’ tag
On Monday the 23rd of January, the Village Scribe Association visited the District Office of the ECDoE at Lady Frere. We met with Chulekazi Bula (District Office Director) and several other curriculum and technical staff. We wanted to find out whether awareNet, with its co-curricular and (ICT) literacy focus, would be of interest to the leadership of such a rural district. The officials at the department were very positive about the possibilities presented by awareNet. They highlighted aspects like improving motivation, energy for learning and use of the ICT labs, while preserving security and maintinging an educational focus. We were very impressed how the team of officials each brought up alternative worries or benefits and formulated their own reasons why the programme would work in the schools of the region.
The VSA has a plan to supply these schools with training, which involves hiring additional staff living nearby. Unfortunately, the funding for this programme is unclear, although there are several possible avenues, including via the Vodacom Regional Teacher Training Centre which is being opened in 2012 at Lady Frere, as well as private funding from England. The ECDoE officials voiced their impatience at having to wait and were determined to build a “nucleus of users” in advance of any other efforts, as a pilot. Possibilities for sustainability of the project include further options – more news around this area will surely follow in the next months.
We look forward to collaborating with the ECDoE in this beautiful and mountainous part of the Eastern Cape.
The VSA proudly received the following endorsement letter from the Eastern Cape Department of Education (DoE):
Endorsement of awareNet Learner Based Social Networking for Schools in the Eastern Cape
This letter certifies that the Eastern Cape DoE, as represented by the Hon. MEC for Education Mr. Mandla Makupula, supports the use of the awareNet network for collaborative learning in our schools.
The reasons for usage of said network are:
- Secure learning environment learning about social networking and online collaboration
- Inter-school collaboration
- Improved learner enthusiasm and motivation w.r.t. learning
- Lower Internet costs, in general, at school
- Support for mesh networks, which allow circuits of schools to be connected and for these to have free networking within their circuit.
We also understand that awareNet is a product of the Eastern Cape, created by eKhaya ICT in conjunction with the Village Scribe Association NPO, and is a world first as far as distributed social networking is concerned. We are proud to support a local product in our schools and are confident that a partnership with awareNet will go a long way towards skilling our youth for the future.
Please, contact us if you or your school would also like to benefit from the mentioned advantages.
There is this sad, recurring trend of Grahamstown township schools being threatened with closure. This is even more unfortunate when you consider that the town holds a very important role in South African Black education. Nathaniel Nyaluza High School and Andrew Moyakhe Primary School are among the oldest schools in the Eastern Cape.
It is also interesting to note that, with the exception of Nombulelo Secondary School, township schools are named after someone who must have been very important in the community at some point. Makana Primary School, for example, is named after a very influencial Xhosa seer of the 19th century.
Andrew Moyakhe Primary School, Benjamin Mahlasela Secondary School and Makana Primary School might close down in the not so distant future because they fail to attract learners. Perhaps it’s just normal evolution, but the schools have important sentimental value.
Mary Waters Hoerskool was dependent on temporary teachers and now those teachers have moved on. Although the school is not threatened with closure, it is sad to note that it is struggling just because of the negligance of the DoE (Department of Education).
Many of us, including me, do not know the history behind the names these schools are named after. The first time I took an interest in these names was when I started working for the VSA and had to go to the schools regularly. Maybe if we knew, we would play a more active role in helping with their upkeep.
What is the point of all this? Just that these are not just our childrens’ schools but most of us – those who grew up in the town – studied in these schools too. How about working together towards documenting their history and that of their namesakes?
Ron Wertlen visited Nkwalini with Darren Anderson, SELF’s new Technical Project Manager for Africa (17-18/1). The solar infrastructure of the Zwelenqaba SS School that Mr Anderson had to inspect was in excellent shape: “I have never seen anything like this,” he said as he inspected the 48 batteries in Zwelenaba’s bank, all of which were at the same level of charge. Well done to Mr Friend who designed and installed the system and Mr Holder who maintains it!
The new year brought a shock to the school. The Department of Education seems to have struck all temporary positions in the province, so the beginning of the year at Zwelenqaba is filled with confusion. Teachers are busy trying to create the school timetable, but do not know how many teachers will be teaching here this year. Teachers have to give extra classes and teach subjects that they have no expertise in. The hope is that the DoE will renew contracts.
At Bafazi JS School is only one temporary post, so the school is not in as much upheaval. But here all the teachers are filling in forms. Zolile Makwayiba (acting Principal) says, “It’s a hunt for ghost teachers.” Could that be the reason for the chaos with the temporary posts?
The Bulungula Incubator reports similar problems at No-ofisi School in Nqileni in their January newsletter. Teaching here is hard enough, without an incompetent administration. Teachers are also scared of asking questions, having previously been accused of trying to subvert “official policy”. They say, let the principal ask and don’t mention our names: “once bitten, twice shy”.
The VSA has planned another trip to Nkwalini and Nqileni in the beginning of March. We will report about the course of action.