Thousands of Grade 12 Learners Receive Tuition via Satellite
In January, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) made a commitment to improve Grade twelve (12) learner outcomes in the Western Cape and initiated the campaign "Own YOUR future. Own YOUR success. Study hard to pass YOUR matric" which both encourages and supports learners to put maximum effort into their studies in the remaining months of their school career up to their final National Senior Certificate Examinations.
One of the interventions introduced to schools is the Interactive Telematics Programme which is a collaborative project between the WCED and the Division of Telematic Services at Stellenbosch University.
The programme includes broadcasting lessons from a studio at Stellenbosch University to learners in schools across the province using satellite technology, laptops and cellphones, creating a kind of 'cyber-classroom' which makes it possible for the WCED to reach large numbers of learners and provide them with quality individual tutoring.
All the schools are well equipped with satellite equipment for receiving video, audio and data signals, including a television monitor or data projector and sound system as well as cellphones and card readers, which are used for login and interaction with the presenter, therefore making it possible for learners to interact with the presenters.
The programme creates a unique platform for dialogue in a virtual setting, allowing learners to 'interrupt' the presenter to ask questions or request a detailed explanation of the educational material, when necessary, and giving the presenter an opportunity to respond to comments and questions.
The programme was first piloted in 2009, broadcasting lessons to ten (10) schools. The success of this pilot prompted the WCED to extend the programme to a further one hundred and ten (110) schools. The programme now runs in one hundred and twenty (120) schools in the eight education districts and reaches around fourteen thousand (14 000) learners.
Lessons are delivered by educators who are experts in their relevant field in subjects that have historically low pass rates such as Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Sciences, Accounting, English First Additional Language and Afrikaans First Language. Geography has also been included this year.
Presenters select the challenging aspects of the curriculum and systematically unpack concepts for learners to engage with.
In order to maximise this intervention a significant amount of preparation has gone into planning the programme, with schools receiving lesson plans to assist teachers in preparing learners for each broadcast and also to assist and support learners during and after the broadcast.
The University of Stellenbosch developed a website where resources would be uploaded and Senior Curriculum Planners of the six (6) subjects have developed learning support material for learners which is to be used during the lessons.
All lessons are recorded on DVD and were sent to schools in the third term for revision purposes. The recorded broadcasts also provided useful during the strike, where the WCED, in co-operation with Stellenbosch University, expanded the telematics programme from two days a week to five, using previously recorded broadcasts on alternative days.
This year, this programme has received phenomenal support from learners across the province and we look forward to see what impact it will make on the overall performance of our learners this year.
I would like to thank Stellenbosch University and officials of the WCED for making this intervention possible and to the principals and educators for embracing this project and making it a success.
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Tel: 021 467 2377
Cell: 072 724 1422