TVS is working to overcome the inequalities that are embedded in the education system by training teachers and volunteers from the schools and communities that we are helping. As well as providing workshops, we involve them directly in hands-on professional development in best teaching practice and student-centred and active-learning approaches using teaching materials that support them as they develop new ways of teaching. We have also introduced training for unemployed school leavers and graduates to become Learning Support Assistants in schools and on our afternoon programme.
It is important to do this because the level of educational attainment of children in the area is amongst the lowest in South Africa – not because they are less intelligent or talented but because the standard of the education that they receive is low. Teachers in rural primary schools face many challenges. There are often only two or three teachers to cover all classes, poor buildings without running water, electricity, but no money to pay for it, new demands on them but no new (or old) technology to help them to deliver their lessons. Unsurprisingly, they feel ill-equipped and unsupported. This is where TVS comes in.
Over time TVS has involved at least one teacher from every primary school in the valley in one or more of its activities, ranging from study camps, English Language teaching, TechLearn, and teacher exchanges to computer classes and training workshops which occur two or three times a year.
- Three community members have so far been trained to become IT facilitators and support the TVS TechLearn programme.
- Six village reading club volunteers have been trained and there is a rolling programme to expand this number to cover more villages.
- Ten unemployed young people are now beginning training as Learning Support Assistants.