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Mining company gives tablets to NC schools

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Anglo America says the aim of the distribution of the tablets is to help improve teacher skills and drive better literacy and numeracy outcomes for learners.

Teachers receiving the tablets. Picture: Supplied

ANGLO American has started distributing tablets to more than 450 Grade 1-3 teachers in 72 schools around its operations in South Africa, including the Northern Cape, to help improve teacher skills and drive better literacy and numeracy outcomes for learners.

The tablet distribution is part of 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 of the 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 aimed 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 emphasised that the tablets will 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 added that the excitement with which the tablets were received was 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.”