Zululandobserver article 2014: http://zululandobserver.co.za/40916/upgrading-zululand-teacher-skills/
South Coast Herald article 2014: http://southcoastherald.co.za/
Director’s Journal – July 2014
In our 14th year, Teachers Across Borders South Africa – TABSA, is in the 3rd day of the first workshop with 120 Grade 9 maths and science teachers at Magudu Inn, about 15 km away from Pongola, the largest town in this district. Umkhanyakude District has 568 schools and stretches more than 300 km across the KwaZulu-Natal province.
Our workshops are aligned with the National Curriculum Statements and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement; and therefore are very specific to the attending teacher’s requirements. The attending teachers prioritized the topics they need help with, and the days have been long, enthusiastic, and interactive. Classes start at 830 am and end at 615 in the evening. We end this first workshop week on Friday, July 4th in the afternoon.
Next week we are scheduled to work at two local schools in Mtubatuba and Jozini with 100 teachers at each location. We end our work in South Africa with 312 Grade 12 maths and science teachers in the third week. Our teaching/facilitating team; 4 from the US mainland, and 5 from Hawaii are excited to go to work every morning, and thoroughly exhausted by the evening. On July 21st, we will begin a week of workshops with 220 teachers in Swaziland.
TABSA also dedicated the 8th computer lab to a rural school this year, and topped the 250 mark in uniforms to rural school children.
Nadia Peer and Tenzin Gyaltsen, (interns 2014) have documented and photographed the first two weeks of the project. Their photographs may be found on our new Facebook page and on our updated website.
The Republic of South Africa is at a critical juncture in its history. The national government has identified the teaching and learning of math and science as priorities in the educational needs of the country. While millions are no longer legally marginalized by the educational system, a massive infusion of material support and professional training of teachers and administrators is required, quickly, efficiently, and effectively to appropriately serve the long-neglected majority population of school children.In 2001, Punahou School (Hawaii) and the Cassim Peer Trust (South Africa) co-sponsored an international professional development project that sent a team of high school math and science teachers to South Africa to conduct curriculum-specific workshops with their South African colleagues from rural schools. The success of the pilot project led to more workshops in the following years, funded by grassroots community support in the USA and South Africa. 2014 will mark the 14th year of the Project.Workshop content is designed to meet and exceed the standards of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). Without upgrading the skills of educators in rural schools in South Africa, students have little hope of getting a chance at higher education. More than 70 volunteers from Hawaii have given workshop training to 3500+ South African teachers, and close to a million students have benefited from their teachers’ upgraded skills in the past 12 years. And ultimately, US students are also the beneficiaries of their own teachers’ professional development and life changing experiences in South Africa.In the words of Mr. Y. Chamda, one of the South African administrators of the program,
…to see colleagues from opposite ends of the earth share knowledge and culture with such great warmth and caring, is a sight to behold. This is an example of international cooperation and global understanding at its best.