South Africa has it’s first Covid-19 coronavirus Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Lockdown Digital School, thanks to a partnership between government, MsZora, an online education platform by Africa Teen Geeks and the Sasol Foundation.
Now teachers with reliable internet connectivity have been asked to offer their services to help pupils catch up during the lockdown period.
The partnership has resulted in the setting up of the STEM Lockdown Digital School, to offer pupils live lessons during the 21-day national lockdown aimed at limiting Covid-19 infections.
Already, 34 teachers have signed up and teach about 600 pupils online.
However, only teachers from Grades R to 12 who have reliable internet connection and have knowledge of the country’s Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement are able to take part in this initiative.
To be part of this, teachers will have to send a 40-second video clip explaining why they wish to assist South Africa’s youngsters during the lockdown. Successful applicants will be compensated for their services.
Meanwhile top personalities and celebrities have been secured to be digital readers of the e-learning materials. Among them are former president Thabo Mbeki, UN Women’s executive director Phumzile-Mlambo-Ngcuka, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, her deputy Enver Surty and former Statistician-General Pali Lehohla.
DJ Sbu Leope, Pearl Modiadie, Khaya Mthethwa, Penny Lebyane, Thuli Thabethe, Phumeza Mdabe and Somizi Mhlongo are also lending their voices to the project.
Education spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said they were grateful that partners such as Africa Teen Geeks have come on board.
“We are also acutely aware of the importance of keeping our children safe from all sorts of dangers, including abuse and the anxiety caused by Covid-19. In this regard, we encourage families to make use of the materials made available by our partners and those interested in seeing the basic education system continuing even under the current circumstances.”
Lindiwe Matlali, founder of Africa Teen Geeks, said it was their wish to reach out, not only to pupils with the required digital resources but to also extend services to pupils in the rural areas who are at a disadvantage during this lockdown.
“We will not rest until our bad becomes better and our better becomes best,” Matlali said.
Anacletta Koloko, Sasol Foundation’s corporate affairs programme practitioner, said digital learning and free online textbooks form an integral part of the existing, multi-dimensional interventions to contribute to the upliftment of STEM education in South Africa.
“During this time of crisis, these resources are becoming even more relevant in ensuring that our children’s development continues to be supported,” Koloko said.
Interested teachers can send their video clips, CVs and cover letters to email@example.com