Online school project paves way

2016-06-01 06:00
LEARNERS of the Ratang Thuto High School are happy to be part of the online schooling programme. With the learners is teacher Alister Anelisa.  Photo: Supplied

LEARNERS of the Ratang Thuto High School are happy to be part of the online schooling programme. With the learners is teacher Alister Anelisa. Photo: Supplied

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KUMBA IRON ORE has launched an online school project, Education is Essential, which is a mantra that parents and teachers try to teach to young children.

This is precisely why education is a key focus area for Kumba Iron Ore.

As a business unit of Anglo American, Kumba believes that this project is a technology roadmap that aims to adopt appropriate technologies.

According to the mining company, this technology roadmap is not only beneficial in terms of business objectives at the operations, but also within the communities in which it operates.

In a statement Nikki Wetzlar said that Kumba had made a commitment to contribute to youth development and to equip future leaders with the necessary skills they needed to succeed.

“Combining both youth development and the technology aspect, Kumba has embarked on the online school project, which is part of the Digital Learning Platform project in collaboration with the Hatfield Christian Online School.

“The Ratang Thuto High School was nominated by Kumba as the school to receive sponsorship for the online school initiative, and its learners of gr. 10 and gr. 11 were enrolled in the online school programme during the second half of last year,” said Wetzlar.

According to the statement, the benefits of the project include CSI-funded on-going training which will allow teachers to embrace the online system and optimise their teaching practice.

Initial teacher training is provided, included teaching methodology as well as the basic IT skills needed to use the hardware and online school programme.

Regular contact and visits with mentors reinforced the initial training and offered support and encouragement to the teachers.

She further highlighted that the Hatfield Christian Online School (HCoS) provided Caps-compliant lessons and assessments in Maths and Science, creating the opportunity for teachers to engage more effectively with their students in each lesson.

“The online teaching forum is also expected to alleviate possible pressures such as erratic textbook deliveries, as access to this world-class tuition, provided by HCoS and funded by Kumba, empowers teachers and learners in exceptional ways.”

According to Kumba, it has since sponsored bursaries for bridging school to four of the 2015 gr. 12 learners who could not be enrolled for the online school programme in 2015.

“Let all learners love education. We are embracing this programme, because we are heading towards a paperless education,” said Ratang Thuto’s deputy principal, Menke Ngungu.

Wetzlar continued to elaborate about how technology was a significant enabler of Kumba’s long-term strategy and that the technology roadmap aimed to sustainably improve safety, operational efficiency and productivity. This is done while responsibly minimising costs and maximising exploitation of current and future resources while supporting Kumba’s overall vision.

“Technology is making education more accessible to those that need it most and lighting the path for their future.”

Billy Mawasha, executive head of Operations and Integration at Kumba, quoted the late Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”

HCoS has been serving disadvantaged communities and home schoolers since 2009.

“What has happened here today, I envisioned five years ago,” said Graeme Holloway, executive principal at HCoS.

“What we saw here was a teacher going through a structured lesson.

There was more pacing and very little writing.

“The students were focused around concepts rather than re-writing stuff that was put on the chalk board.

The lesson was interesting and practical and the school is very lucky to have Alister Anelisa (teacher) on their team.”

The online digital platform has proven to be an effective modern way of teaching that improves teacher-learner interaction by reducing use of traditional teaching methods involving manual means such as blackboards and physical textbooks.

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