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. 2013 will mark the 13th 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.
Mahalo (Thank You!),