In 2014, the World Economic Forum global competitiveness report ranked South Africa at 144 for maths and science teaching out of 144 countries. The WEF’s report was later dismissed by various specialists as “preposterous” and flawed.
It was found that the methods used to calculate the rankings were “Subjective, unscientific, unreliable and lack any form of technical credibility or cross national comparability.” However it is a well-known fact that South Africa’s education system is in crisis, especially in the maths and science categories. According to the Annual National Assessment results released in 2013, only 39% of grade six learners and 2% of grade nine learners scored more than 50% in mathematics.
Some of the root causes of this failing system stem from primary and the way that mathematics is taught in schools. The remedial Sparrow Foundation School is constantly finding new ways of evolving and finding new ways to improve education. On 4 May 2015, the Foundation School launched its newly built Maths Enrichment Center at the Foundation School in Melville.
The new center incorporates a Maths Enrichment program which aims to improve the levels of teaching and mathematical competence. It is equipped with superior teaching facilities and focused on the teaching of mathematics at grades 5, 6, and 7 levels.
The center was made possible through the generous funding by General Electric and the Sparrow Foundation UK. “We at General Electric are very proud to see this place and what we have done with it. I would like to encourage you go into the center, work hard, get people to help you and don’t be afraid. Maths is a foundation for you to be great one day,” says Solutions Consultant Manager of General Electric, Andre Bodenbarck at the launch.
The program aims to break down the stereotypes associated with mathematics as a difficult subject. Keeping in mind that the Foundation School is a remedial school, the program has been specially designed for the learner with learning difficulties. “The one thing that our learners struggle with is understand the reasons why they do mathematics. The programs we have in the maths center allow them to think in that direction. The program is also designed to allow the learner to develop at their own pace. It is unlike in the classroom where all the learners are expected to all develop at the same pace,” says the new Foundation School Mathematics specialist, Vincent Edwards Basson.
Starting off as a qualified physiotherapist, Basson brings with him 27 years of teaching experience and 5 years working experience, working at district level with the Department of Education. He is also a mentor, coach and pastor.Details
SPINA NATHI AND EDUCATE A CHILD
Sparrow Schools Educational Trust will host its fifth annual Spinathon fundraising event in partnership with Virgin Active at Milpark Virgin Active, Johannesburg.
The Spinathon which takes place on 23 May 2015 will feature the crews from 5 FM, Isibaya, DJ Monotone, Lection and many more. There will be eight one hour sessions starting from 7 am to 3 pm where Sparrow Schools invites companies, celebrities and individuals to spin and donate a R100 to our Educate a Child program (EAC).
Many of our learners are from places of safety, child headed households or disadvantaged homes where parents cannot afford the special education their children need. The EAC program assists us provide education and support to children and youth experiencing life and learning difficulties.
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Work experience is one of the most crucial factors that can affirm a graduates’ competency and set them apart from the rest. The ability to place students on work experience whilst pursuing their training is part of the Sparrow FET College winning formula. The FET’s partnership with industry and relevant SETA’s has seen many of its students gain work experience and often finding permanent employment.
One such partnership has been with international flooring specialists, Peter Bates. The company has provided the FET College’s Installation of Floor Covering students with work experience for the past two years.
The company has trained over 20 students and employed one of the graduates, Luvuyo Nokwe. Nokwe’s initiative and passion was spotted by Carpet Consultant at Peter Bates, Mark Lourie. “He was a lot of trouble, constantly asking for work with a smile on his face”, Lourie laughs. He further adds, “It is rare that you come across such a passion, willingness in our youth.”
A lot of times people would rather stay in their comfort zone and stick to what they know. Nokwe’s inquisitive nature inspired him to expand his skills and explore different floorings. Luvuyo’s entrepreneurial demeanor prompted him to finding other ways of making money through marketing carpets. He would also sort boxes in the storeroom during his breaks to make extra cash.
It was through this tenacity that Nokwe was able to learn the art of negotiation with team leaders. Currently working under a Sub-contractor team, with just over a year at the company, he is working towards leading his own team.
He admits that when he got into the Installation of Floor Coverings program, all he cared about was receiving the monthly stipend. He soon thereafter came to understand that the experience would be crucial in the long run. “Young people need to show up and expose themselves,” Nokwe says. Nokwe now enjoys the perks of getting to travel and experiencing new and different places across the country. He puts emphasis on the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and that it is the willingness to learn that sets one apart. “The money has its time and it comes once one has committed and sweated,” Nokwe explains.Details
Vote for charity
Help educate a child with learning challenges. Vote for the Sparrow Schools Foundation School plus stand a chance to WIN a R10 000 Woolworths Gift Card for yourself simply for voting!
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The South African Bill of Rights makes provision for children’s socio-economic rights. This includes the right to basic education and social services. However, according to Unicef’s early childhood statistical snapshot, over 200 million children under 5 years of age in low and middle-income countries – and increasing numbers in OECD countries and emerging economies – will face inequalities and fail to reach their full developmental potential. This is due to a number of risk factors including poverty which often can lead to heightened risks of substance abuse, crime and depression.
To avoid these risks and consequences in the later stages of a child’s life, early childhood development should be a key focus for every country. Early childhood spans the period up to 9 years of age which is critical for social, emotional and cognitive development. If a child is left to grow up without the proper care and education, this can lead to irreversible damage and hamper development. By investing in early childhood education, South Africa can yield long lasting benefits. Studies have shown that early childhood development play a crucial role in helping mitigate the impact of adverse early experiences.
Although South Africa still has a long way to go, it is not all doom and gloom. The Sparrow Foundation School realises the importance of early childhood development and has introduced a multifaceted remedial teaching centre. The centre will soon be extended to include a Maths Enrichment Centre and a Natural Science & Technology centre adding on to the existing Literacy Enrichment centre.
The three centres are designed to accommodate every learner’s individual style and maximise the learner’s full potential to learn and acquire a new skill. The multi-media Literacy Enrichment centre is designed to focus on the improvement of literacy levels among all learner’s enrolled in the Foundation School. The Maths Enrichment centre utilises blended teaching practices and instructional design, equipped with computer based teaching software. The aim is to improve numeracy levels among all the Foundation School learners. The multi-disciplinary and adaptable Natural Science & Technology Centre aims to expose the learner to various building blocks of the world around us and how they in our ever changing modern environment.
The remedial centre will play a crucial role in helping produce quality human capital adding value to South Africa’s economy. It also ensures that the minority of learners with ‘special needs’ are able to compete and match up to those learners with ‘ordinary needs’.Details
“When you encounter uncomfortable situations, you can either decide to be victim or an over-comer. Always choose to be an over-comer. Grace is within our reach to be an over-comer.” – Lailah Gifty Akita.
From the day we are born, life throws us with many curveballs as we try and navigate through life trying to find our feet. Hailing from the dusty streets of one of South Africa’s most notorious townships, Alexandra, Samuel Mazibuko decided he would not let his challenging circumstance hold him back and chose to be an over-comer.
The 20 year old Adaptive Curriculum Skills Program (ASP) learner joined Sparrow Schools Combined School in 2010 after dropping out of a mainstream school because of learning difficulties he was experiencing. The ASP is a programme introduced in 2014 through collaboration between Sparrow’s academic specialists, learner support services and special education practitioners.
The program aims to design a suitable environment for learners with learning difficulties. The focus is on transferring practical skills to learners who are cognitively impaired and struggle coping with the academic curriculum. The learners enrolled in the ASP have an opportunity to learn various skills ranging from baking, sowing and agriculture.
This program has helped Mazibuko escape a life of substance abuse which could have had detrimental consequences. “I come from a place where there is a lot of poverty and unemployment, this school (Sparrow) and the ASP has helped me change my life,” Mazibuko says. Mazibuko
Mazibuko has now turned his life around and has now been selected to be a Teacher’s Assistant at the Combined School’s bakery. “Sparrow has been hectic but also amazing. I have learnt a lot of skills which I never thought that I would,” Mazibuko explains.
Through his journey at Sparrow and the ASP, Mazibuko has now grown to become an ambitious young man. He aspires to one day own a bakery. He also would like to use the sowing skills he learned in the ASP and make his own clothes and transfer the skills he learned back into his community. Judging by his work ethic and focus, we at Sparrow have seen him realise his potential and we have no doubt that he will realise his ambitions.Details