ILE is an international study that focusses on innovative ways of organizing learning for young people and influencing the 21st century education-reform agenda. Along with four other country teams, the South African ILE team – comprising MIET AFRICA, representatives from the KZNDoE and the Department of Basic Education – is participating as “learning laboratories of change” (LLC). The LLC is about growing and sustaining innovative learning environments through transforming teaching and learning environments.
The South African LLC is located in a group of primary schools in the Umlazi District, where MIET AFRICA is implementing a “barriers to learning” programme that focuses on strengthening schools and their communities to identify learners with barriers, and finding ways to assist them. Significant strides have been made in getting these schools and their communities working in partnership to form a supportive network – acting as a “village that raises the child”
Strong system leadership is a critical component and driver for effective and sustainable system transformation.
GELP is a partnership of “thought leaders” from world-class organizations. Teams of key education leaders – who are committed to transforming education in practice and developing the personal skills they need to lead the changes required – collaborate in a global community. GELP supports these education leaders to drive system transformation in their jurisdictions forward, in order to meet the challenges of globalization, demographic shifts and technological advancements.
South Africa is fortunate, through the province of KwaZulu-Natal, to have been invited to participate in this important international programme. The KZN GELP team comprises five members: two from the KZN Department of Education, one from UNISA and two from MIET AFRICA, the development partner – whose role is to coordinate and mobilize resources.
In October, delegates from twelve jurisdictions from six continents gathered as a community of system leaders at the 9th GELP Global Event in New Delhi.
On 28 and 29 of November, MIET AFRICA hosted the last two of the days of the final inter-country meeting of the North/South Cooperation: Teaching for Inclusion and Democracy Project, which was held in in Gaborone, Botswana. This initiative is a collaboration between Stockholm University in the North, and Botswana, Namibia and South Africa in the South. Each of the southern country teams are represented by their Ministry of Education, a university and an NGO. Over the past three years, North and South have collaborated on research on democratic and inclusive approaches to learning. This research is intended to inform both pre– and in-service teacher education in Inclusive Education.
The main purpose of the meeting was to afford the opportunity to the country teams to present their case study research. It was a major achievement that, despite the research teams being comprised mainly of full-time university lecturers,
RHIVA Regional welcomes in-country staff at a workshop in Durban
In August, the RHIVA Regional Programme held a workshop at the Blue Waters Hotel for the newly appointed in-country staff. RHIVA Regional employs an in-country coordinator and a trainer in each of the three “RHIVA Member States” – Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia – and the purpose of the workshop was to orientate and train them ahead of implementation.
The workshop addressed administrative, human resources, planning and reporting matters, in order to help the in-country staff understand MIET AFRICA’s procedures regarding project implementation and management in SADC countries. However, perhaps the most critical part of the workshop was introducing the new staff to both the RHIVA Regional Programme itself, and its alignment to CSTL.
Delegates were also given a chance to engage with RHIVA materials, and to see how they will be used in different country settings and contexts.
Once again, from 20 to 22 November RHIVA Regional staff gathered in Durban for training and orientation on the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework and baseline study. The training was attended by the six in-country and two national members of staff, as well as three members of the CSTL team and MIET AFRICA’s Director of Regional Programmes. It was facilitated by Monica Trichardt from the IQ Group, a company that is responsible for the RHIVA Regional M&E framework, as well as Dr Madri Jansen van Rensburg of Resilience Analysis.
The training covered critical issues such as methods and techniques for collecting good quality data, ethical conduct of researchers, the difference between monitoring and evaluation, and data capturing. The facilitators gave practical examples of how the baseline study will be conducted. Participants were given a chance to engage with baseline study tools to get an understanding of them, as well as being afforded the opportunity for them to make their own inputs.
On 28 August, the learners participated in activities at the KZN Science Centre at Gateway, and on 29 August they attended science career lectures and a field visit at SASRI (the South African Sugarcane Research Institute) in Mount Edgecombe. These were important opportunities for these FET learners to obtain first-hand information on career choices.
Through its 2013 new and improved education programmes, the KZN Gateway Science Centre assists schools to introduce their learners to the world of science and technology. Activities are based on the science theme celebrated each month. At the centre, the Pongola learners were taken through educational programmes on Biotechnology, Chemistry, Electricity, Mechanics, Sound and Waves, and Materials and Matter (Nanotechnology).
Parents building strong relationships with their children
MIET AFRICA’s Uthukela Inclusive Education in Action Project is field-testing the KZN Department of Education’s three-tier system for Inclusive Education. Three schools in the Uthukela District are involved, each representing one of the levels of support offered to learners experiencing barriers to learning. Lokothwayo Combined is the mainstream school, offering low levels of support. Madlala is the full-service school, which offers moderate levels of support. And Inkanyezi, the Special School as a Resource Centre, offers high levels of support. The field-testing entails building the capacity of schools, parents and communities to support all learners, especially the vulnerable, to access school, to stay at school and to achieve at school.
The project is currently conducting special training sessions for parents and caregivers, which focuses on them having strong relationships with their children. The parents and caregivers attending are responding positively to the idea that they can build their children’s self-confidence,
MIET AFRICA has just started on the Leveraging Partnerships to Achieve the Goals of South Africa’s HIV& AIDS and STI National Strategic Plan 2012-16, or as it is otherwise known, “Keeping Girls in Schools”. This is a Department of Basic Education (DBE) initiative that is funded by the Global Fund. NACOSA (the Networking HIV/AIDS Community of South Africa) is the managing agent, and MIET AFRICA has been brought in as the implementing partner. It will run until 31 March 2016.
The aim is to provide support to the DBE to strengthen its ability to keep girls in schools. This will be done by strengthening the quality of existing life skills, peer education and other support programmes in schools. A “basket of support services” will be targeted at young women in the schooling system in order to retain them until they complete Grade 12.
Recently, the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) team embarked on a mission across four SADC Member States – the DRC, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia. The aim was to build the capacity of five project schools and their communities in each of the countries, on how to conduct “community dialogues”�. These dialogues can be used as a strategy for soliciting and drawing out community-driven solutions that address the problem of sexual harassment and abuse of children and youth.
The training sessions were all very well coordinated by the Ministries of Education. Based on the active participation and commitment displayed by participants, it can be assumed the messages were well received and will be acted upon.
On behalf of the AmaZulu Football Club’s Community Trust, MIET AFRICA has developed facilitation guidelines for the life skills component of AmaZulu’s extracurricular soccer programme. These guidelines use Staying Healthy, an MIET AFRICA publication that is aimed at adolescents, and which addresses sexual reproductive health and wellbeing in a fun and interactive way. (Staying Healthywas developed originally for another of MIET AFRICA’s programmes, RHIVA – Reducing HIV in Adolescents.)
Then, on 4 December, two of MIET AFRICA’s master trainers conducted a workshop with the soccer coaches participating in AmaZulu’s programme. The workshop aimed to develop their life skills and content knowledge on sexual reproductive health, as well as their facilitation skills, and trained them on using the material with their learners.