UCT-in-Eden Schools Project
UCT’s vision of contributing to social upliftment and development in rural areas has been expanded to include an education component in the broader UCT-in-Eden initiative.
UCT-in-Eden was the brainchild of the Faculty of Health Sciences to extend the university’s clinical teaching platform to include secondary and district hospitals in the Eden District, a coastal region stretching from Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay.
Now the Schools Development Unit (SDU) has launched a professional development programme in the Eden and Central Karoo (ECK) region. “The synergy between the visions of the SDU and the Faculty of Health Science’s UCT-in-Eden project was attractive,” says SDU Project Manager for UCT-in-Eden, Anthea Roberts. “Collaborating as UCT entities, under the same umbrella, maximises the positive impact.”
The SDU has enjoyed a long-term relationship with educational role-players in the ECK region.
In collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department, the SDU executed the Rural Education Project (REP) in the district from 2005 to 2009. This project supported rural primary school teachers in developing sound numeracy and literacy teaching strategies for Grade R to 6 learners.
The SDU was also instrumental in establishing the AMESA (Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa) branch in the area.
The tradition continues. There is close collaboration with the ECK Education District Office, which recognizes the project as a component of its curriculum support to schools. The UCT-in-Eden Schools project involves approximately 215 teachers from 15 schools, 4 950 grade 7 to 9 learners and 75 grade 12 learners.
The teacher professional development (TPD) initiative comprises a suite of content-rich workshops, which increasingly provide teacher support for the use of technology as a pedagogic strategy in Grade 7 – 9 Mathematics, Science and English (first additional language) classrooms.
For all workshops, teachers accumulate TPD points from the South African Council of Educators (SACE).
‘’Learners who achieve’ is the focus of the learner programme.
- Through the roll-out of a competition in Mathematics, Science and Language, top-achieving learners in Grades 7, 8 and 9 in each subject per school demonstrate their prowess in various assessments and activities. The SDU has successfully run similar competitions in Cape Town Metropole education districts. For English, there is also a book club for top learners per grade per school.
- Grade 12 learners are supported through the ECK Reach programme which is an intense, academic preparatory programme. It offers revision and exam preparation in a number of grade 12 subjects, as well as career guidance and assistance in navigating the application process for university studies.
This project is an opportunity for the SDU to make a difference in rural education in the Western Cape. Technology opens up new possibilities for establishing links with teachers and classrooms further afield, such as the ECK.