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iKwezi Lead Teacher Project: Metropole East Education District (MEED)

Ikwezi is a three-year (2014-2016) teacher professional development project running in primary schools in Cape Town’s Metropole East Education District (MEED). The project is built around a Lead Teacher Programme (LTP) which supports the development of Foundation (Grades R-3) and Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-6) mathematics and language teachers drawn from the District’s 100-odd primary schools.

Through this programme, iKwezi sets out to increase the capacity of these teachers to implement the national curriculum and to provide appropriate teaching and learning environments for all their learners. 

In addition to the university-certified short courses offered as part of the Lead Teacher Programme, site-based support is offered to eight primary schools. Four of these schools, in the African township of Khayelitsha, are the designated Partner primary schools of the University’s Schools Improvement Initiative (SII). The four others are in Blue Downs, a working class community on the eastern edge of the Cape Town Metropole.

The objectives of the iKwezi Lead Teacher Project are as follows:

  • Strengthen processes of collaboration with MEED at the level of Curriculum Management in support of the implementation of the District Improvement Plan
  • Increase the subject expertise of Foundation and Intermediate Phase Language and Mathematics Lead Teachers and Curriculum Advisors
  • Improve curriculum delivery in a selected number of schools by focusing on Foundation and Intermediate Phase Languages and Mathematics Lead Teachers

To achieve these objectives, the project offers the following programmes:

  • Grade R & 1 teacher education, training and mentoring programme in Basic Concepts in Language and Mathematics
  • University accredited short courses in English First Additional Language (EFAL); Mathematics; Cognition and Assessment and Teacher Mentoring. These courses aim to build content and pedagogic skills, with a specific focus on supporting the implementation of the new CAPS curriculum in the classroom.
  • Classroom mentoring; enrichment for understanding 'concept teaching' and utilisation of learning and teaching resources in socially and culturally diverse contexts; professional forums and teacher-led conferences.
  • Site-based support for curriculum leadership and professional development activities.

It is important to emphasize that this project is fully supported by the Western Cape Education Department and is held at a senior level in MEED’s Curriculum Management division. Ikwezi project staff and District Curriculum Advisors work as one team. In addition, MEED are contributing to the cost of the project by funding the short courses.

Project Leader: Ms Cally Kuhne

Team members: Mr Gary Powell & Mr Kaashief Hassan (Mathematics); Ms Diane Hendricks & Ms Xoliswa Sibayi (Language); Ms Tami Mhlati (Grade R and 1 general support).

Funders: DG Murray Trust; HCI Foundation: AusAid; UCT UK Trust