THE NPC/Intercement cement company, which has a factory at Simuma, is aware that South Africans need educated, informed teachers to build their country and has decided to do something about it.
It is involved in a three-year project that started last year and that assists teachers by offering them informative workshops run by the cement company’s project partner, the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME).
The Department of Basic Education’s Ugu District is also involved in the project. As it aims to build strong foundations for learning in the lower grades, the project’s 2017 focus will continue to be on providing training and support for maths and English teachers in grades 4 to 6.
Early last year when NPC/Intercement decided to invest in education as part of its corporate social investment programme, it approached the Ugu Educational District.
Those involved in the social investment proposal were keen deliver a local education initiative that would be embedded in the work of the district and would provide additional support to schools in the area.
Together the district and NPC/InterCement designed a teacher development programme to support maths grade 4 to 6, or intermediate phase, teachers as this was the phase identified as being the most in need of intervention. In February last year they approached CASME and asked it to support the implementation of the programme.
Together they devised a three-year project implementation plan that includes training workshops, held at the start of each term, for intermediate phase maths teachers. The workshops focus on mathematical content across the intermediate phase grades and on teaching skills training.
Teachers are also given manuals to help them design and implement lesson plans. The training model also allows the teachers to share their newly acquired knowledge with their colleagues.
A programme to support English teachers has also been implemented. It will build on the five-day training that was recently provided to intermediate phase teachers by the British Council. The workshops began in September 2016.
The Ugu Educational District has welcomed this programme and is already seeing some positive results. Teachers’ skills have been enhanced and they have gained confidence. Principals have already noticed an improvement.
So far 277 of 502 maths teachers earmarked for the project have already attended mathematics workshops. All Ugu Educational District intermediate English teachers, about 600, are involved in the programme and will eventually benefit from workshops.
“The NPC Intercement and CASME workshops provide high quality workshop materials and quality facilitation that includes motivation for teachers to do their best to ensuring quality learning and teaching,” said Ugu District spokesman, Nozipho Mbotho.
The district was confident it would see an improvement in the teaching of the two targeted subject and in all subjects taught in English, she added.
This article originally appears in the South Coast Herald: