The Western Cape Department of Education has partnered with Edtech company, IDEA to enable a measurable outcome-based approach for learners and teachers in 2019. This partnership comes after a successful test phase of the programme that was in motion the past two years, in some schools through the WCED ePortal.
The Western Cape Department of Education made this move to align with the SA government’s commitment to increase education in its next fiscal year. As President Cyril Ramaphosa also announced that the digital environment in classrooms will be supported with the appropriate hardware. The chief executive of IDEA Digital Education, Dr Corrin Varady has said that the real focus should be on content not hardware.
“There is no doubt that technology will have a valuable effect on education and training,” he says, “but first, before we consider the hardware that is required, we must create excellent and relevant content in a way that will deliver high-quality, interactive resources for learners, while at the same time enabling professional development for teachers. The most outstanding results seen internationally occur when high teacher practice combines with high technology contexts.”
Vardy explained that the majority of South African teachers might not have the content knowledge or the pedagogical skills to enable them to successfully teach the set curricula.
He said “the most important factor here, however, is not for a teacher’s contribution in a classroom to be replaced by a digital environment but rather to enable them to evolve as educators and learning facilitators within that environment. The question then becomes: are we prepared to support our teachers in the ways we expect them to support our children?”
But with the content developed by the IDEA team and with the backing of the Department of Basic Education, the South African Council of Educators, the Jane Goodall Institute, and Microsoft– the experimental IDEA program in Western Cape schools has shown that the specific challenges found in South African classrooms will soon be bridged.
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