24 November 2020 | Over R1m invested in Collaborative Community Based @Home Learning Piloted in Western Cape Winelands
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in global uncertainty and unpredictability, impacting every aspect of our lives. It has exacerbated social inequalities, further marginalised the impoverished, slowed down economic growth and increased levels of unemployment.
The impact on education has been profound. Educators have had to rapidly adapt to the pandemic based on scientific and social science evidence available.
Closing or re-opening educational institutions, pedagogies, modes of assessments, work-based learning or new technologies has become centre stage. It has shone a spotlight on education equity and quality in South Africa and the world over.
The pandemic has however afforded us an opportunity to rethink and reimagine the purposes and values of education. Devastating as Covid-19 is, it was also a wakeup call to deliberate on alternative education models.
In seeking these alternative education models, The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) reached out to society to collaborate in an @Home Learning Forum addressing the needs of our most vulnerable learners. Delegates from NGO’s such as the Val de Vie Foundation, HEI’s such as UCT, WCG After School Program and education partners like Wordworks and Funda Wande have worked together these past months to help imagine a world where an ingrained self-directed learning culture is initiated amongst our learners, irrespective of social strata or household income level.
We are delighted to announce that a five month pilot of this community based model will run from November this year to March 2021 and employ 59 currently unemployed matriculants in a work skills program sponsored by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism ( DEDAT), working through 18 primary schools located in Mbekweni, Paarl East, Franschhoek, Cloetesville and Kayamandi in Stellenbosch. Depending on the results of this pilot, DEDAT and WCED in collaboration with the @Home Learning Forum will look to rolling out this model throughout the Western Cape, targeting over 800 schools in impoverished communities who desperately need assistance to keep flame of wanting to learn alive under these most challenging of circumstances.
Khula Development Group, Hope Through Action and Love to Give will host the Interns and pair them up with their fieldworkers to ‘ take the school to the community”. Their mission?
- To promote a culture of community learning, whether at school or at home;
- To promote a desire to attend school for those learners not attending due to Covid-19 fears;
- To interact with the child at their educational level;
- To improve the connection between the caregiver and learner and get the caregiver involved;
- To raise awareness to begin to develop a culture of self-directed learning for appropriate developmental phase;
- To improve work prospects for our unemployed youth by providing new skills and competencies whilst helping unlock the potential of our Grade R to Grade 6 learners.
Haroon Mahomed, Chief Director Curriculum Management and Teacher Development said: “The WCED is pleased that partners in the NGO and Higher education communities, and sister government department, DEDAT, have responded to the opportunity to find creative responses to the challenges in education that have deepened during Covid-19. We are aiming, together, to develop systems that support learners and adults, especially, in poor communities, to strengthen learning by focusing on its importance as well as practices that encourage learning in school, at home and in the community.”
Desired Outcomes to be measured in a Formal Monitoring and Evaluation Programme: