I am very pleased that the WCED’s telematics programme is being expanded in the Western Cape, as well as, being implemented in two other provinces by their education departments.
In 2009, the Western Cape Education Department introduced a telematics pilot project in 10 schools to help assist learners in improving academic performance after school hours.
The Interactive Telematics Teaching Programme is a collaborative project between the WCED and the Division of Telematic Services at Stellenbosch University.The programme consists of live televised broadcasts of lessons by expert teachers via satellite to schools from a studio at Stellenbosch University.
Broadcast subjects include Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Accounting, English First Additional Language, Afrikaans Home Language and Geography. The programme also allows learners to interact with the presenter in the studio through the Internet or a cellphone. They can also pose questions to the presenter after the broadcasts.
Since the success of the pilot in 2009, the programme has continued to expand year on year in the Western Cape. Today, a total of 146 schools across the province receive the broadcasts.
Initially, the programme was targeted to support Grade 12 learners in underperforming schools and schools that needed additional support. This was then expanded to include tuition for Grade 11 learners. In 2013, the Telematics programme was further expanded to Grade 10 in order to support the WCED’s Maths and Science strategy.
I am excited that in 2014 we will be piloting this service in our primary schools. 10 Primary schools will be selected to pilot lessons that aim to improve Language and Maths performance of Grade 6 learners.
So far, the evidence shows that the telematics programme has supported other strategies to help improve performance levels in Grade 12.
A recent analysis of the schools participating in the telematics programme indicates that the NSC pass rate of schools taking part grew from 60.37% in 2010 to 72.49% in 2012. The number of candidates at Telematics schools passing matric with access to Bachelor degree studies increased from 2 499 to 3 506 over these three years, representing an increase from 12.53% to 18.96%.
In 2010, 76 schools in the programme were classified as underperforming (A pass rate of less than 60%). In 2012 only 19 schools achieved less than 60%.
In Mathematics and Physical Science, the number of candidates passing with more than 60% increased from 178 to 285 for Mathematics and 203 to 277 for Physical Sciences.
These improved results must, however, not be seen in isolation as the telematics programmes introduced in schools are re-enforcing and complementing existing strategies that are currently being implemented in our schools, such as the Grade 12 improvement programme, the Maths and Science Strategy and the Language and Maths strategy in Primary schools. This obviously includes the provision of textbooks, exemplar exam papers and other support by the WCED.
I am delighted that other Provinces have recognised the programme’s success. In February 2012, representatives of the WCED and the University of Stellenbosch’s Telematics Department were invited to address management officials of the Northern Cape Education Department to share best practice on the telematics project in the Western Cape.
Following numerous discussions and a visit by representatives from the Northern Cape, the Northern Cape Education Department decided to implement the project in a selection of schools. Today, 76 schools in the Northern Cape are participating in the programme.
The programme was then also recently introduced on a lesser scale in the Free State. Four schools are participating in the programme.
The 80 schools in the two provinces are beamed lessons from the Stellenbosch studio using lead teachers from the Western Cape.
The WCED is also providing the schools in the Northern Cape and Free State with electronic copies of the lessons for them to print for their learners, and DVDs are available to purchase form EDUMEDIA.
I am excited to have witnessed the growth of this programme in our schools and into the other provinces.
I am also pleased how the programme complements other strategies that ultimately aim to improve learner performance in the Western Cape.