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This article is taken from the December 2003 Phatlalatsa newsletter

 

GTZ commissions S&T to assess the impact of the Africa Drive Project

Strategy & Tactics have recently been commissioned by the Africa Drive Project (ADP) to provide technical support to the project in the form of monitoring and evaluation services. The ADP was established by the Department of Education in the Northwest Province, in a Public Private Partnership with the University of North-West, GTZ (German Technical Cooperation), SAP Corporate Research, Siemens Business Services, the Department of Finance of the Northwest Province, Paragon Development Forum, eDegree, Duxbury Networking and Network Appliance.

The project was set up to address the serious shortage of suitably qualified primary and secondary school educators (teachers), particularly in the strategically important learning areas of Mathematics, Physics, Technology (ICT — including Computer Literacy), Biology and Business Studies (Entrepreneurship). Recent research by EduSource and the HSRC found that approximately 50% of the Mathematics teachers and 42% of the Science teachers in South Africa had specialised learning area subject training. Moreover, there has been a sharp decline throughout the 1990s in the number of teachers in training. This state of affairs has resulted in a major shortage of suitably qualified graduates leaving the educational system with skills, knowledge and competencies to participate in the technology orientated local and global economy.

The abovementioned crisis, as well as the call of President Mbeki for development efforts to be focussed on educators' education and training and the introduction of ICT in learning and teaching resulted in the founding of the ADP initiative.
Using ‘blended learner-centred’ and e-learning strategies, ADP hopes that in-service educators will improve their knowledge and skills (competencies), and ultimately that they will have the capacity to integrate ICT into the delivery of learning to their learners.

The approach used in this project draws from international developments and experience in the areas of education and training, particularly the SAP AG experience in Germany with the LifeLong e-Learning (L3) Project and the Dassie Project in the Western Cape Province of SA. The later project has the important objective of developing a solution appropriate for, and applicable to, a developing society.

S&T will play a critical role in assessing whether or not the ADP fulfils its primary objective of improving the quality of Mathematics and Science teaching in the province. More specifically we will be assessing aspects such as:

  • appropriateness of the blended e-Learning model
  • effectiveness and efficiency of delivery of the model
  • the nature of the technology being used and whether it meets the needs of the end users
  • the cost-effectiveness of the technology and whether it is appropriate to the environment it is being used in
    • changes in attitude and behaviour of the participants in the project
    • the sustainability of the project.


 

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