‘Books are a uniquely portable magic’ -Stephen King There is no substitute for books in the life of a child. Which is why NGO, The Nal’ibali Trust, is expanding on its reading-for-enjoyment campaign, to initiate a national book exchange project on the 26 May. Jade Jacobsohn, Nal’ibali’s Managing Director says, “Literacy Mentors across the country will be hosting public book exchange events, where everyone is encouraged to bring and swap a book, enjoy storytelling and read-aloud sessions, and find out more about how they can read and share stories effectively with their children.” How it works The book exchange welcomes books of any variety; printed or handmade books for adults or children can be swapped. Those bringing books to exchange will receive a special sticker which can be placed on the inside cover. The sticker provides an opportunity for the previous owner to inscribe their name and location before passing it on. Illiteracy is the academic handbrake A recent study by PIRLS states that 78% of Grade 4’s in South Africa are illiterate. All the more worrying when the ability to read in Grade 4 is regarded as crucial. From Grades 1 to 3 you learn to read, but from Grades 4 to 12 you read to learn. “If a learner is unable to read properly, they will never get a firm grasp on the first rung of the academic ladder and will fall further and further behind,” says Stellenbosch University education expert, Nic Spaull. Although parents have high aspirations for their children, many are not aware that reading is a powerful way to help them reach their potential. Research shows that only 35% of adults read regularly to their children and very few are readers themselves. But teachers, parents and caregivers can play a significant role in children’s literacy development. The Nal’ibali book exchange is an easy and fun way for caregivers and adults to start to model positive reading behaviors and become reading role models for their children. Reading is . . .
The high cost of living, interest rate hikes and the recent 1% increase in VAT is making the role of ‘stay-at-home mom’ almost redundant. “Mothers staying at home with their children is simply no longer the viable option of years past,” says Tiffiny Thomas from Blue Bird Aupairs. As a result, parents are left with the critical decision of what to do with their precious assets in the afternoons – do they send them to aftercare or do they get an aupair? “There is no black and white when it comes to choosing an after-school solution for your child as things like budget, schedules, ages and personality need to be taken into consideration,” explains Tiffiny. She adds that even once you have made your decision, circumstances may change and you may need to seek the alternative which is why it is important to keep an open mind and make sure that you know what the pros and cons of each option are. Aftercare Pros • Children get to interact with their friends in an informal surrounding • If the aftercare is part of the school, they can take part in extra-mural school sports • Food and snacks are generally included in the cost of aftercare • If the aftercare is based at their school, your child will not have to travel on the roads without you Aftercare cons • Very little (or no) supervised homework which then needs to be done in the evenings when your child is tired and less likely to concentrate • Aftercare generally does not cover school holidays • A full day at school can leave your child irritable and exhausted • No personal, hands-on love and care Pros of an aupair • Your child will get plenty of one-on-one love, care and attention • An aupair can do homework with your child and spend extra time of subjects they may battle with, doubling up as a tutor • Aupairs can transport your child to and from various after-school activities, which is a great help for parents (and children) with busy or unpredictable schedules and extra-mural activities that are . . .
Eleven years ago the rural Tjhabelani Primary School was just a dream. Today, Engen Libra Motors has helped it grow offering its learners the kind of educational opportunities they never thought possible. The school, which opened 11 years ago in Bainsvlei, 15km outside Bloemfontein, has blossomed, thanks in no small part to the partnership with Engen Libra Motors. Not only does the dealership sponsor daily transport to school for the 125 children to the tune of R60 000 annually, but also assists with donations such as clothing and food. Engen Libra works closely with OFM radio DJ, Shandor Potgieter, who is also the school’s project manager. His vision for Tjhabelani Primary is to guide the children on a journey that builds their confidence and independence, allowing them to live meaningful lives. To make this possible however, partnerships with stakeholders such as Engen are crucial. “We are so grateful for their incredible support,” Potgieter says. Engen Libra’s Drene du Plessis shares Potgieter’s passion for the children, and says she believes that giving back to the local community is the right thing to do. Of her chosen focus on education, she says: “We help by ensuring that the learners are transported to and from school every day. We also started a forecourt collection campaign in November, 2017 which allows customers to add R2 to their basket. This money is donated to the school. To date, R2500 has been raised”. In addition, as part of Engen Dealer Community Partnership Programme, Engen donated an additional R5000 to the school. Du Plessis says she loves children because children hold the key to South Africa’s future, “it is essential to ensure that they are supported and receive the best possible education and chance to succeed in their lives. “We do a host of things for them, including contributing funds and help at school events, collecting clothes from the local community, donating beverages and fresh baked goods from our . . .
Educators countrywide who still want to enter the prestigious ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year competition need to take action now. “The deadline for registration to enter the ICT in education project has been extended to Monday, 13 May following numerous requests from teachers and the education community,” said Milford Malunga of the Digital Education Institute, the administrators of one of the country’s leading ICT in education national awards. By visiting www.ISPASuperTeachers.co.za to register and then subsequently submitting a completed ICT in Education project that outlines the successful implementation of ICT skills and technologies within the schooling environment, any teacher nationally could be in the running for either of the three awards up for grabs. Last year’s ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Awards Gala Dinner saw the crowning of Amandla Vinjwa as ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year, Marina Myburgh as ISPA TechTeacher of the Year and Mokhudu Machaba as ISPA MobileTech Teacher of the Year for 2017. This year, the ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Gala Dinner awards ceremony will take place in Cape Town on 22 August 2018. The ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Awards are a much-anticipated fixture of the annual, long-running iWeek Internet industry conference and exhibition and have been held every year since 2001. The ISPA SuperTeacher of the Year Awards are well respected in education circles, both for their longevity and for the huge role the Awards have played in terms of encouraging teachers to pioneer ICT in their classrooms. The teacher project has equipped over 5 000 teachers with ICT skills thanks to continued support from ISPA’s members. “This is the only local ICT competition for teachers from schools across South Africa. It is therefore an extraordinary opportunity to showcase the country’s ICT in education skills and the calibre of entries coming in has been exceptionally good. We look forward to even more great work from candidates this . . .
Engen sponsored bursaries aimed at extending access to crucial work-training opportunities for persons with learning disabilities has seen Work4You successfully place 90% of candidates, significantly boosting employment of these young adults in the formal labour market. Although Engen has spent five years supporting Work4You, a Cape Town based NGO that prepares people with intellectual disabilities for permanent jobs, the bursaries are new – and the results have been phenomenal. Lynn D’Alton, Work4You Operations Manager and occupational therapist, says Engen’s commitment has allowed them to dramatically increase their impact on young adults with intellectual disabilities, who may never have afforded the training costs. Salt River beneficiary Shaakirah Harris, who says Engen “opened the way for opportunities for everyone”, now has a permanent job at Fashion and Hair Emporium in Woodstock, despite her learning disability. “I’ve gone from just lying around at home to earning my own money, meeting new people, and building on my dream of one day becoming a hairdresser,” she says, urging others with intellectual disabilities to follow her example. Work4You focuses its attention on people with intellectual disabilities aged 18 to 30, acting as a bridge between the end of special needs education and supported employment. D’Alton says they boast high commercial employment rates, thanks to their skills and personal development programme, which is delivered by a team of professionals. Prior to Engen’s introduction of bursaries to benefit youngsters from poor communities, the company supported Work4You with petrol allowances. The change came in 2016 when Engen took the decision to deepen its involvement in order to reach a more diverse and representative group. Adhila Hamdulay, Engen’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, says this investment saw them allocate eight bursaries in that first year, with three of the recipients offered almost immediate . . .
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed over 100 Japanese business executives at the Japan Africa Public Private Economic Forum at the Sandton Convention Centre last week. The Forum was intended to enable sustainable engagement between Japanese and African business communities and to accelerate private-sector-led economic growth. In recent years, Japan’s economic partnership with African countries has grown significantly, with its direct investment in Africa almost quadrupling in the past 10 years.* This investment is often accompanied by social upliftment and development initiatives. One such project is the partnership between the Embassy of Japan and Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST). KST is a collaboration between the Kagiso Trust and the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation (CRF) that leverages the best practices of each organisation’s Whole School Development programmes. KST’s partnership with the Japanese Embassy saw the construction of four classrooms at Mpolokeng Primary School, in the Free State in March this year. The project which cost R1 444 101.82, employed eighteen temporary workers and benefitted seven small community businesses. As part of the Forum programme, KST and the Embassy of Japan hosted a business breakfast with key Japanese businesses to showcase the benefits of mutually-beneficial partnerships. The above-mentioned investment is a testament to the success of the KST Integrated District Whole School Development model; which addresses infrastructure development, curriculum support, social welfare and leadership in schools at a district level. Addressing the breakfast, Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation trustee and KST advisory board member, Phuti Mahanyele, said South Africa had entered a time of renewed hope. “Business confidence in South Africa is at the highest it has been since the beginning of 2015,” she said. “We have witnessed what combined financial, strategic and technical efforts can do. The investment from the Embassy of Japan helped the Free State . . .
Being a parent is the toughest job on the planet! Besides ensuring that your children are cared for, loved and that their emotional and physical needs are met, the very act of being a parent makes YOU, your children’s first and longest-standing teacher! Cindy Glass, Director and Co-founder of Step Up Education Centres says “It is impossible to compartmentalise learning. Children are born with an innate need to learn. Parents are their first point-of-call as their first and most influential teachers! Learning that takes place at a school is called ‘education’, yet, education starts on the day that we are born! Parents cannot separate the learning taking place at school to the even greater learning taking place every day in our homes, on the sports-field or within our family, cultural and religious structures.” It seems necessary, then, that parents involve themselves in the extension- of- education that we call school. But, how? Cindy shares these helpful tips that you may want to consider: 1. Be an example of positive, productive learning and positive behavioural choices. Your children are one- hundred- percent more likely to do what you do rather than what you say. Avoid degrading teachers when facing challenges. Seek to find positive solutions which ensure that your children feel valued, yet respectful towards those who teach them at school. 2. Show sincere interest in what happens at school-on a daily basis. Ask questions and be willing to listen-to-understand when answers are shared. Find out how the day went. What was best/worst about the day? Who did your child hang out with? 3. Be excited about ANY positive news or progress-whether academic or social. All children seek acknowledgement and purpose. Acknowledged progress will result in greater progress! 4. Teach the art of determination, courage, a positive work ethic, resilience, self-responsibility and motivation by being these yourself! Challenges, frustrations, anxieties and fears are . . .
The annual Engen KlevaKidz launched in the Western Cape this month with super hero safety educator, Mr Wise in the starring role. KlevaKidz is an educational campaign that uses industrial theatre to engage and educate learners across South Africa about the importance of paraffin safety. Engen KlevaKidz 2018 launched at Mkhanyiseli Primary school in Nyanga on 3 May and will visit 30 schools in the Western Cape, including primary schools in Nyanga, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, Muizenberg and Crossroads over the next two weeks. Engen are South Africa’s leading supplier of paraffin through the Laurel Paraffin brand. Engen KlevaKidz takes the form of an interactive educational stage drama using engaging characters to relay key safety messages in the learners’ mother tongues including Zulu, Sotho, Xhosa and English, combined with jingles to reinforce the theme. In 2017, in partnership with The Communication Firm, the campaign visited 112 schools in four regions, reaching out and educating 53 714 learners. Since its inception in 2008, Engen KlevaKidz has reached over 198 714 learners in 548 schools across South Africa – from rural villages deep in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape to townships in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Free State. In this year’s show, Mr Wise is once again the super hero and main character who educates young learners about how to identify and use paraffin safely. Mr Wise interacts with learners Bongi and Junior and urges them to be careful when using paraffin. Stories are used to explain to the learners what to do if paraffin is ingested or inhaled. Mr Wise also focuses on the importance of being clean and washing hands after contact with paraffin, and how to store paraffin safely. Prizes, including super hero masks and funnels, will be handed out to all learners. This is because we believe that the learners are all heroes who have the inner strength and ability to take care of themselves, says Engen . . .
Over the past decade, Engen’s free computer skills training has been transforming lives in South Durban, instilling students across the age spectrum with the confidence and knowledge to secure jobs that would otherwise never have been possible. “Engen has created a future for us all,” graduate Sandra Matthys says of the initiative, which has seen Engen sponsor training to the value of R2 618 784 per annum. Another graduate, Brian Ngcongo, says Engen has brought “life and hope to the community” with its Community Computer Training Centre. The centre provides introductory-level computer skills covering nine units of the National Certificate: Information Technology - End User Computing. All applicants must be unemployed school-leavers from the Durban South area. Although matric is not a requirement, and while they can be any age, most students are aged from 20 to 40. With securing employment the primary objective, the course has already upskilled more than 1 700 people since its inception. Statistics are incomplete due to the difficulty of keeping track of everyone, but in the past two years at least 77 students have secured jobs or have been accepted into learnership programmes. Last year 12 students found jobs during their training. Sheryl Casalis, training director of Added Advantage Academy, which has provided the training since 2009, says Engen spends close to R15 000 per student on two four-month courses for 80 people each, reaching around 160 students every year. “The competency rate for students is between 94% and 96% by the time they complete the course. They become computer literate individuals able to work independently using the most common computer programmes utilised in offices today,” she says. The current course ends in May, with the second 2018 course commencing in July. Adhila Hamdulay, Engen’s Corporate Social Investment Manager says the centre is well known in the community, and they always have waiting . . .
Education, as we have known it for the past 100 years, is fixated on academic prowess. The percentage on the report card has always been the benchmark by which we believe we can determine if a child will become a successful adult, or not. Cindy Glass, Director and Co-founder of Step Up Education Centres says “Self-worth is too often determined by academic assessments. Emotional walls are built, intelligence is defined, negative behaviours are acted upon, anxieties and depression are pandemic in young people - all because of society’s fixation on that percentage on the report.” Cindy goes on to add “And yet……… HOW can the chase after academic A’s equal success as human beings on this planet? HOW can intelligence be defined by academic prowess alone? What about the dancers, the musicians, the actors, the inventors, the artists? What about the ‘misfits’ who think differently, who dream creatively and whose imaginations run wild with ideas and possibility? What about the child who works very hard to achieve a 60%? How can we determine success by academic achievement alone? The simple answer is that we cannot!” Cindy gives some important tips to consider: 1. All children are born unique. Just like a flower blooms in its own right, teach your children to become the best version of who they are in everything they do. 2. We all base choices on how we feel about ourselves. Teaching children to value their unique selves will allow them to explore unimagined possibilities without the limitations of academic-focused success. A strong sense of self -worth will result in greater confidence, a better work ethic and a happier child. 3. Teach children to give of their best. Set realistic goals and celebrate when these are achieved. It is the very act of motivated, determined effort that will equate to success, not the percentage achieved! 4. Emotional intelligence skills are essential. Self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy and social skills outperform . . .