Back, Better, Busier!
It has been a whirlwind few weeks as we have ramped up our project support activity. A major challenge during the lockdown has been access. Our rapid surveys showed this and our on-the-ground experience provided further evidence of the digital divide. Our response was to produce and distribute paper resources to learners and teachers, and offer some level of support through mobile messaging applications. However, in truth many of the rural and peri-urban schools that are the focus of CASME's work struggled.
Now that restrictions have eased, opportunities to provide support are also opening up. The past weeks have been evidence of this and we are leveraging a blended approach of on-site connectors to beam our experienced facilitators across multiple sites. In some ways this is a real test for a new way of working that we have piloted in a few projects over the past year or two. The early indicators are promising!
Our teachers' workshops made the move to a blended model. Working with our Department of Education partners in Amajuba and Ugu and our champion teachers in Umlazi districts, we convened training and support workshops for Natural Sciences and Mathematics teachers. CASME facilitators are adapting to the new approach using virtual meeting tools, online forms and screen writing gadgets to create engaging sessions.
CASME's mobile science resource centre initiative, Science2Go, is also back with renewed vigour after the Covid-19 break. Using our blended model, concurrent teams of on-site lab assistants (who are now doubling up as remote connectors), our experienced science facilitators are beaming in to multiple classrooms around the province, to guide learners through practical activities.
Our weekends are also thankfully once again packed with learner tutorial sessions. We are pulling out all the stops, working with the Class of 2020 to get them ready for their exams. Facilitators are broadcasting into multiple classrooms to provide lessons in mathematics and science, with the help of our "remote connectors". We even had one of CASME's former facilitators (now based in Mpumalanga) join us on Sunday for a session.
Our partnership with UniZulu Science Centre has enabled us to offer a one-of-a-kind Physics exam review / essential skills course through our new LEARN.casme.org.za platform, with more courses for Life Sciences and Mathematics in the pipeline.
We are really excited about the boundaries that are being broken with our blended model, and the reach we are achieving, where purely online modes fail to reach the most vulnerable. As we move forward we definitely see this is part of our 'normal' and an opportunity to scale our impact.
Onward! And Upward!