ANGLO American has started distributing tablets to more than 450 Grade 1-3 teachers in 72 schools around its operations in South Africa to help improve teacher skills and drive better literacy and numeracy outcomes for learners.
The tablet distribution is the latest step in Anglo American’s broader education programme, which was launched in 2018 by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and former Anglo American Deputy Chairman Norman Mbazima.
The programme aims to improve learning outcomes for nearly 70 000 learners at more than 100 early childhood development (ECD) sites and 100 schools in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga by improving reading, writing, and numeracy levels, and addressing some systemic causes of poor education outcomes.
Anglo American’s Global Lead of Education Zaheera Soomar said a key pillar of the programme was Grade 1-3 teacher support because it aims to improve learners’ numeracy skills and their ability to read for meaning.
The tablets will give the teachers access to structured lesson plans as well as video material, through a specially developed app.
“The major focus of the tablet roll-out is to support and improve the content knowledge and teaching skills of the teachers themselves. Although the roll-out of the tablets was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the response from all the schools and teachers involved has been extremely enthusiastic, further proving the need and importance of these interventions,” said Soomar.
The project management and coaching staff expressed their excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to work digitally with the Foundation Phase teachers.
“Everyone always assumes that the Grade 1-3 teachers will be resistant to technology, or scared to implement it,” said Class Act Project Manager Lungi Batala. “But, in fact, the opposite is true. Many of the teachers are comfortable with digital devices. And those who were a little apprehensive soon mastered the tablet and apps, with some support from their coaches and colleagues.”
Programme representatives are delivering the tablets to the schools under strict Covid-19 protocols.
The teachers are receiving training on how to use the tablets and content and receive a data allowance to allow them to access remote support and updates as required.
Soomar emphasized that the tablets would help the education programme achieve its ambitious learner-focused ECD targets, which include 90% of grade 3 learners passing with at least 50% in Numeracy and Literacy.
Nelisiwe Zondi, the Molteno / CIE Project Manager echoed these sentiments, “The excitement with which the tablets were received was quite exhilarating. Teachers have gone straight to work using these tablets. It is actually eye-opening that teachers are able to navigate the tablets with ease and are embracing technology especially during these times when they will need them most as they prepare to teach remotely. The training was very successful and gave teachers added affirmation and confidence.”
We are proud to say that the AASA foundation phase teachers have taken the first steps towards implementing 21st-century teaching and learning.
About the Anglo American Education programme
The Anglo American South Africa Education Programme aims to improve learners’ educational outcomes and quality passes through addressing some underlying reasons for poor education outcomes by supporting school management teams, governing bodies, principals, and teaching staff.
The programme has set ambitious learner-focussed targets, including:
• 90% of learners aged five meeting the minimum requirements for school readiness
• 90% of grade 3 learners passing with at least 50% in Numeracy and Literacy
• 75% of grade 6 learners passing with at least 50% in Mathematics and English First Additional Language
• 90% matriculation pass rate, with a 50% university entrance
• 65% of grade 12 learners passing with at least 50% in Mathematics.
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)