Involvement of the Roger Federer Foundation
Since 2010 the Roger Federer Foundation is partnering with Read and implementing an early childhood care and education initiative in rural areas of South Africa (link to the programme. In 2013 has been started a complementing whole school, in-service teacher training programme in language, literacy and communication in a number of primary schools in the catchment area of the ECD centers of the first programme. Up to date the Board has approved a total budget of CHF 1,250,000 for this intervention which is currently in its second phase. In each phase of two years a number of 30 primary schools are participating. The objectives of the programme are:
- To increase students' reading performance by 10%
- To move 80% of teachers to a higher grading level every term
- To achieve one comprehensive and good quality written activity per day in learners’ workbooks
- To improve the knowledge of the methodologies of primary school teachers needed to teach literacy, while enabling them to fulfill the requirement of the curriculum
- To establish working groups in each school to implement the literacy program as a team, including the subject teachers so that they, too, promote subject related literacy and enhance textbook learning with a particular emphasis on science literacy
- To equip practitioners in the 6 feeding preschools with the appropriate knowledge and skills to enhance early literacy in young pre-school learners
- To empower school managers and Heads of Departments to manage the literacy programme in their school and to mentor the implementation of the programme by the staff of the school on an on-going basis
After phase one an assessment has taken place in order to learn and improve the programme. The main lessons learnt were:
- The programme addresses a real gap in the South African education system and is highly relevant. The quality of language teaching remains a challenge. When asked, all teachers, principles and circuit managers interviewed acknowledged that their language teaching skills needed improvement.
- All stakeholders agreed that the intervention changed the quality of education among the key actors. There has been improvement in the learners’ language competence and motivation to read, write and speak English and their first language.
- One strengths of the programme is the fact that it was complementing government efforts. The department of basic education provides teachers with the content to be taught in language lessons through CAPS. READ addressed the how part of teaching. As a result of the training provided by read, teachers have become more competent and confident.
- There has been improvement in the classroom environment. Teachers have improved the appearance of the classroom to make it more child-friendly. In all the schools visited, the classrooms had talking walls.
- But the programme was lacking of SMART indicators to measure the changes on a teacher level.
- As a way to sustain the project gains, READ established the lead-teacher mentorship system. Strong and motivated teachers are identified and further trained to support fellow teachers beyond the project life span. But in some schools, the lead teacher system is causing conflict with the school leadership structures or the system established is still weak. Furthermore the community engagement needs to be strengthened.
- On a lead teacher and SMT level the empowerment approach is well chosen but collaboration and mentoring needs still to be strengthened.
Our implementing partner READ
Read Educational Trust is a non-governmental organisation active in rural and town schools in South Africa. Read enables the further training of teachers, and provides the schools with material. The teachers are trained how to use resources for teaching children to read and write, and are taught the options of effectively integrating these into lessons. Furthermore, Read trains carers as part of the programme for the benefit of children’s early development, and provides them with educational material and toys. Read was established in 1979 and, since then, has continued to develop. Read’s first project was providing schools in Soweto with libraries. Today, Read works in close cooperation with the education ministry, private donors and schools in order to stem the crisis in the field of education in South Africa.