Nearly 60% of South African children cannot effectively read in any language (including their home languages) by the end of Grade 4.
Nearly 80% of Grade 6 mathematics teachers do not understand the content they are teaching, and in most schools less than half of the official curriculum is being covered in the year.* It’s clear that new approaches and partnerships are required to begin moving our education system in a positive direction.
The Western Cape Education Department, together with its strategic partners, is pioneering new approaches to education, combining technology with teaching as a way to involve the province’s schools in preparing their learners for the future.
The Western Cape government has identified seven key interventions, or ‘game changers’, that are most likely to improve opportunities for its citizens. eLearning is one of these game changers, and the province is currently rolling out the infrastructure to make this vision a reality.
“Technology provides excellent opportunities for improving access to quality education in all communities,” says Debbie Schäfer, MEC for Education in the Western Cape. “Our vision is to use eLearning to improve literacy and numeracy, and to ensure that our learners are better prepared for the 21st century.”
The Western Cape has already rolled out broadband connectivity, including Wi-Fi access, to nearly 2,000 schools throughout the province. The Department of Education is now working with schools and partners to lay foundation for eLearning in the province over a three year period from 2016 to 2019.
“A major benefit of eLearning will be equipping learners for life after school, whether it be stepping into the world of work or further education at university or colleges. Improving digital access contributes to ensuring best education resources and support,” explains Schäfer. “We are committed to improving education for all our children and have already implemented a wide range of initiatives to improve access to quality education in poor communities and improve performance in underperforming schools.”
“Inclusiveness benefits independent schools as well, where learners require exposure to important cultural and economic realities, and to the demands of the 21st century” says Tanya Jackman, Director of EduWeek. “eLearning is a great mechanism for broadening their experience of the world and the country around them.”
Recognising the growing demand for education technology in Western Cape, the organisers of EduWeek, the foremost future-focussed education conference on the African continent, have launched EduWeek Cape Town. This two-day exhibition and conference offers an opportunity for the education industry’s leading suppliers to meet buyers, CSI managers, purchasing managers and education professionals, and to work together to improve educational outcomes in the province.
The conference is completely free to attend and features three dedicated seminar tracks, designed to meet the needs of every education professional who wants to stay at the cutting edge.
EduWeek Cape Town features over 80 speakers, 70 exhibitors and hopes to attract over 1 500 visitors. The conference caters to professionals from across the education sector including early childhood development, primary and high schools, TVET’s and universities. The themes for 2017 are technology, maths and science, digital content, safety and security and inclusive education.
EduWeek Cape Town offers attendees the opportunity to see, try and buy the latest education technologies under one roof. By attending roundtable discussions and networking events, attendees will also have the chance to develop partnerships with leading organisations, sponsors and suppliers.
“I am very pleased that EduWeek is coming to Cape Town. I would like to encourage individuals and organisations within the education industry to take part in the conference, and share their knowledge about important fields such as e-learning integration and sustainable implementation, and how we can improve this in Africa. I would love to see a theme of ‘Future Focused Education’ as our goal is to equip our youth for active economic participation in a rapidly changing world,” she continues. “This Expo is also free for teachers, so I really hope they make use of this wonderful opportunity”.
* Identifying Binding Constraints in Education – synthesis report for the Programme to support Pro-poor Policy development (PsPPd)
EduWeek Cape Town