Tag: Education

Interactive Workbook | Grade 1 Numeracy #2

tame TIMES has put together a collection of DoE interactive workbooks for young children at home, in order to help children have fun while they learn about literacy and numeracy. 

The interactive workbooks have the ability to respond to learners’ inputs, allowing a TWO-WAY flow of information between the computer and the learner, including instant assessment feedback.

We hope you and your children enjoy the first workbook in the collection, Grade 1 Numeracy #1

Click here to open the workbook.

Interactive Workbook | Grade 1 Numeracy #1

tame TIMES has put together a collection of DoE interactive workbooks for young children at home, in order to help children have fun while they learn about literacy and numeracy. 

The interactive workbooks have the ability to respond to learners’ inputs, allowing a TWO-WAY flow of information between the computer and the learner, including instant assessment feedback.

We hope you and your children enjoy the first workbook in the collection, Grade 1 Numeracy #1

Click here to open the workbook.


Education News: Grade 10 and 11 students won’t write final exams

The Department of Basic Education has scrapped final examinations for Grade 10 and 11 learners and will instead replace them with controlled tests, BusinessTech reported.

Department spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga told the SABC that the decision was made as a once-off measure, due to teaching time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a once-off measure that we have put in place after we looked at everything that affected schooling this year and we felt it would not be fair to have a full-scale examination when schools were closed and reopened. With the trimmed curriculum we realised that we are not going to finish the syllabus,” he said.

“Grade 10 and 11 (students) learn the same thing, it is just the degree of difficulty of what they are learning. It is basically something that is not really new to them. So what we are going to do is create more time next year to ensure that all the work that was not covered is covered then.”

A circular sent to schools and teachers presented the changed promotional requirements for Grade 10 and 11 in more detail.

On the test, the circular stated that grade 10 papers will be an hour-long, with grade 11 papers two hours long. According to the circular, controlled tests should be set only on content taught.

The controlled test must cover a substantial portion of the curriculum taught, preferably work covered in all terms, wherever possible.

The test, it said, must be administered under controlled conditions. The document said that fundamental subjects like languages, maths and maths literacy will offer the required number of papers with a reduced duration.

“All elective subjects to reduce the number of papers to one test per subject,” the department said.


News: Who can perform at their best when they are using mud classrooms?

The six teachers and 250 learners at Jongimpuma Primary School in Port St Johns share five toilets. The walls are mud, the ceilings are crumbling, the classrooms are cold and there are not enough desks. But the Eastern Cape Department of Education has said there will be no money for renovations for at least three years, according to the principal.

“It is difficult to maintain social distancing without desks and classrooms”, says Siphokazi Qodi, acting principal at Jongimpuma. The school was started in 1995 with grade R to grade 5 and upgraded to grade 7 in 2018.

She says the school has been asking the Eastern Cape Department of Education for a new school to be built. “In February this year they visited us. We had hopes that things would be better but to our surprise, they told us that they won’t have money for the next three years.” She said the department said it was focusing on schools already under construction.

Qondi said the school was not getting the Rural Allowance that the department gives to schools “that are in poor condition like us”.

“The situation is discouraging our teachers. Some want to go to other schools because they can see that we are not going to get a new school any time soon.”

Mali Mtima, spokesperson for the department, confirmed that the department had put on hold all planned projects because of budget constraints, while current projects were being completed.

He said schools had to qualify for the Rural Allowance. “Some of the schools might be in a rural area but not qualifying to be paid, due to closeness to town.”

Parent Nomathemba Mfunqulwa said the condition of the school was discouraging for learners. “It is difficult to encourage them to go to school because it is poor. We are trying but it is not easy”.

“If we had money we would not beg the department to build a new school for our kids. They don’t care about our kids’ future”.

She said when it is raining or very windy parents do not send their children to school because the classrooms were too cold. “Our kids are being treated differently from those in the suburbs. Who can perform at their best when they are using mud classrooms?”

Sikelelwa Makhunga, who teaches grades 4, 5,6, and 7, said teachers had stayed on because they cared about the learners. “The thought of moving to other schools is there, but what about these kids’ futures? I don’t think there is anyone who would like to come and work here – this is bad in so many ways.”

Parent Mzukisi Ntantiso said parents could not even resort to protests because of their remoteness. “We are in a rural area, maybe if we were staying close to the road we would do what others did to get services, but it would be a waste of time to start protesting in our area.”

Ntantiso said most parents had not been to school and their wish was to see their children do better. “We are afraid because the situation might lead them to drop out. The department needs to come up with a solution on when they are going to build a new school for our kids,” said Ntantiso.

By Buziwe Nocuze

Education News: Disruptions planned as more learners return to school

The Department of Basic Education has warned those planning to disrupt the learning schedule this week that their behaviour will not be tolerated. In a strongly-worded statement shared on Monday, the ministry has revealed that dozens of schools have been threatened with closures.

According to The South African, tensions are simmering in some places:

  • School Governing Body (SGB) members have reportedly disrupted 38 schools in Daveyton and Etwatwa so far.
  • Meanwhile, 37 facilities in Tsakane (Gauteng) have also been threatened with closures.
  • Eight schools in KwaThema were also picked out for protest action on Thursday.
  • It’s also understood that the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) will disrupt classes across Gauteng.

Disruptions planned

SGB representatives have been told to operate ‘within the law’ as the second cohort of children returns to school.

“We urge communities to protect schools against individuals and groups that are threatening to close facilities and disrupt learning. Governing Bodies must remember that the closing of schools is a legal function decided by the provincial head of the education department. Members must not act outside of the law.”

“The Council of Education Ministers is on record as having warned that any individual or group who disrupts learning will be reported to the authorities and the Department reserves the right to charge them with violation of the South African Schools Act. Failure to comply could disband some SGBs.” Department of Basic Education statement.

Education News: Leaked document reveals new proposals for 2020 school calendar

Contrary to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on July 23 that the academic year “will go beyond 2020”, it has been proposed that the school year end on December 15 for pupils in grades R to 11, TimesLive reported.

This is among the proposed amendments to the 2020 school calendar, according to a leaked document presented to a Hedcom workshop on July 28. Hedcom comprises the director-general of basic education Mathanzima Mweli and the superintendents-general of education of the nine provinces.

According to one of the suggestions, the 2020 school year “should not be carried over to the first quarter of 2021”.

The workshop was told that a break in school will be needed to separate the third and fourth terms and the suggestion was a week’s holiday from October 26 to 30.

There were 163 remaining days for educators and 156 for pupils.

The new academic year for teachers was planned for January 18 and January 20 for pupils.

However, the new academic year could also be postponed for a week to January 25 as teachers appointed as matric markers may still be busy marking from January 18 to 22.

It was recommended that the matric exams start on November 5 and end on December 15.

Matric marking was expected to take place from January 4 to 22, while February 2 was proposed as the date for the standardisation of marks by exams quality assurer Umalusi.

It was proposed that the ministerial announcement of the results take place on February 22 and the provincial announcements a day later.

The proposed amendments will be shared by a Hedcom subcommittee with the teacher unions on Friday.

Education News: Confusion around the closing of schools

A number of public schools in South Africa have chosen to remain open as they await an official government directive stating their required closure.

However, the Beeld reported that some schools remain open because no official regulations around the announcement have been gazetted.

According to Business Tech, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (Fedsas) chief executive Paul Colditz said that public schools were left with more questions than answers following president Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement.

“It is not supported by new regulations, directives or the publication of a new school calendar,” he said.

“In this case decision-makers such as school governing bodies are supposed to assume that the existing directives and calendar remain in effect.”

 Colditz said Fedsas is not able to provide guidance to its members until amended directives and a new school calendar are formally published.

“However, schools are closed from Monday, which means that planning has to take place without any legal framework available. This makes an already challenging situation even more difficult.”

 Although the president indicated in his speech that the decision was based on thorough consultation, the final plan was never shared with all role-players, he said.

We were part of meetings where proposals were discussed but there was no consensus on a final plan.”

A number of grades have also not returned to school since the introduction of restrictions in mid-March, with some grades only set to return as late as September.

TimesLive reported that the Gauteng education department is planning to “possibly” phase-in pupils from seven different grades from August, with grades 3, 6, 10 and 11 anticipated to return on August 24. Grades 4, 5 and 9 are also tentatively scheduled to return on the same date.

 Grades 1, 2 and 8 would return on 31 August 31, the circular said, while no mention is made for Grade R pupils.

Education News: Cosas threatens to close all Private Schools

The Congress of South African Students (Cosas) have indicated their intention to shut down private schools in all parts of the country.

Cosas say that if public schools are forced to close due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, then private schools should not be allowed to operate.

The group have vocally opposed the reopening of schools and have urged the department of basic education to make good on their frequently repeated promise that ‘no child will be left behind’.

Cosas president Douglas Ngobeni said thousands of children would be left behind if private schools were exempt from government’s closure orders.

“The Congress of South Africans Students will be shutting down private schools in all parts of the country,” Ngobeni said.

“This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that only public schools would close. The virus does not care whether your father is a billionaire.”

Ngobeni has not indicated how Cosas intends to shut down private schools, though the assumption is that it would be through organised protest activity, The South African reported.

Last month Cosas shut down the Bloekombos High School in Cape Town, sending 170 matric pupils and the school cooks home, the group also disrupted classes Thandokhulu High School in Mowbray.

Cosas says government’s approach gives private schools an unfair academic advantage.

By the way, private schools were continuing with e-learning while we were sitting at home doing nothing,” Cosas spokesperson Buntu Joseph said.

 “When it comes to that paper, and now we will be closing for four weeks, and they will be continuing with the curriculum, so we feel that there is inequality,” he said.

“So as Congress of South African Students, we are saying that we are going to shut down private schools.”

Education: Scientists say school closure goes against scientific advice and evidence.

Two of the country’s top scientists who serve on the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) have expressed their disappointment at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that public schools will close for four weeks during the Covid-19 storm, saying the decision goes against scientific advice and evidence.

Professor of vaccinology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Shabir Madhi, told News24 that the government had not taken the advice of scientists who, he said, agreed that schools should not be closed.

“I think it’s a case of government deciding to take advice from the unions, rather than from the scientists, because the scientific community has been pretty uniform that there is very little reason to close the schools.

“The opening of the schools has got very little to do with the transmission of the virus and if anything, the closure of the schools is going to do more harm than good,” Madhi said.

The science

  • He explained that children were not responsible for Covid-19 transmissions, while teachers were probably not getting infected while at schools.
  • “When it comes to the teachers – when you look at the number of teachers who have been infected as a percentage of the teaching population, it’s no different compared to the general population.
  • “Teachers are simply not getting infected at school. If teachers are getting infected, they’re getting infected like every other member of the community and those infections are taking place in communities,” he said.
  • Whether or not children were at school, adults were the ones who were most likely infecting children.
  • “Most infections in children are probably going to occur because of adults infecting children. Adults in the household who are going to spend more close time with the child are more likely to infect the child than children who are speaking to each other or playing with each other.”

A miscalculation

  • Madhi said he felt the decision to reopen schools was a “miscalculation” as the focus should be on public behaviour.
  • “It’s simply another miscalculation in terms of how the outbreak is evolving, what course it’s going to take and what needs to be done. The focus right now is not about schools, the focus is on changing behaviour of citizens in the country and [getting] them to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions.
  • It simply doesn’t assist when they then decide to allow for 100% of occupancy in taxis, which is sort of a breeding ground to ensure you get rapid transmission of the virus, and then paradoxically they go and shut schools where very little transmission of the virus takes place. So, it’s completely mindless, in fact.”
  • He said he felt as though government was taking the advice of trade unions and taxis over that of scientists.
  • “It seems government is more keen to listen to taxi owners and trade union leaders than to the scientist because the scientists have come out uniformly to say that you shouldn’t have 100% occupancy of taxis, you shouldn’t shut the schools – that’s not what’s causing the transmission of the virus.
  • “Allowing for 100% occupancy will ensure that you actually accelerate transmission of the virus. They’re going against scientific advice that has been provided to them and they’re doing exactly the opposite,” Madhi said.
  • He lambasted decision makers who, he said, falsely believed the virus would disappear in a few months.
  • “I don’t think that the whole issue as to what is going to happen in the next year probably, has filtered through to decision makers.
  • “They are still under this false belief that this virus is going to go away after two to three months, which is not going to happen,” Madhi said.
  • He added that “equally, they’ve been incorrect in believing that the closing of schools is going to get rid of the problem or is in any way going to assist in containing the transmission of the virus. It’s not going to happen”.

Global data

Professor Glenda Gray, a paediatrician and president of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), told News24 that the decision went against existing scientific evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on children.

  • “Keeping children out of school is a sad thing for South Africa,” Gray told News24.
  • Scientists, paediatricians and doctors have considered the epidemic, both at a global and local level and have immense evidence on how Covid-19 affects children.
  • “We believed that it was the best thing for children to be at school because we do not believe that Covid-19 infection poses a risk to their health,” she said.
  • Gray, who is an expert in infectious diseases, HIV and has training in paediatrics, explained that the death of children infected with Covid-19 was usually due to serious underlying conditions.
  • “We’ve been tracking, as paediatricians, the epidemic globally and locally and we’ve been looking at the distribution of infections and the hospitalisations and the mortality. We have seen that death in children is usually related to kids who have severe comorbidities, like cancer or congenital heart disease,” Gray said.

Photo Credit:Unsplash

Education: New Online Boutique High School to launch in January 2021

Private online high school Valenture Institute is launching boutique campuses in South Africa.

The first South African boutique campus will be opening in January 2021 in Newlands and is designed to allow high school learners to interact with their peers while taking live online classes.

“Our boutique private high school campuses provide a unique environment where high-schoolers can interact and collaborate with peers in person while studying in live online classes alongside global classmates,” said Valenture Institute.

Valenture Institute said that learners who study through this online high school get the opportunity to connect and engage with experts from organisations like NASA, Google, and Harvard.

Our learning environment encourages group collaboration where students are able to express their personal dreams, goals and aspirations for their future. Our approach is geared towards furthering our students’ individual growth while always considering real-world application.”

The campuses will provide learners with personalised guidance from learning coaches and a variety of impressive facilities and services.

These include:

  1. Private study pods
  2. On-demand transport to and from campus
  3. Grocery delivery
  4. Laundry
  5. Catered meals
  6. Smoothie bar
  7. Yoga studio and meditation area
  8. Production space to produce your own podcast
  9. Gym and personal trainers
  10. Games room
  11. Consultations with a dietician

Valenture also has an additional Cape Town campus set to launch in Constantia, as well as upcoming Johannesburg campuses in Bryanston and Sandton.

Globally, it is also developing campuses in London and Boston.

Pricing for the Valenture Institute Newlands campus is as follows:

Photo Credit: mybroadband

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Tame Communications (known as tameTIMES) was established in 1997. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mall...

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