YOUNG leaners are benefiting through collaborative efforts of the government and the private sector.
According to the Institute of Training and Education for Capacity Building, an NPO situated in East London, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm’s Foundation Phase Reading Coaches Support Programme, is an example of how well the public and private sector can work together to benefit society. “Education is a societal duty and the responsibility not only of government, but also of civil society. The effects of our history on the fabric of our whole society, including education, have been so profound that it will take the efforts of all sectors to build a stronger education system,” says Barbara Valentine, Research and Development for Institute of Training and Education for Capacity Building.
Co-operation, support and involvement from the Department of Education are crucial, as the Department is ultimately accountable for all programmes within schools. “Without a mutually supportive relationship with the Department and especially the Ui-tenhage District Department of Education, we wouldn’t be able to implement any of the school-based programmes,” says Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
The wind farm has shown its commitment to helping communities through education, with a focus on foundation and early childhood development. The programme aims to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of primary school learners, through the introduction of Reading Coaches, into 12 beneficiary schools. Coaches run reading sessions with groups of up to fifteen, grades 1 – 3 learners at a time, although most of these groups are smaller so that each child gets individual attention.
This programme, which launched in October 2014, has been funded for a three year period by the wind farm, to the value of R1 307 540.00 to date of which R198 000 was specifically allocated for the purchase of books for approximately 6 762 learners across twelve schools, all falling within a 50km radius of the wind farm.
Participating schools in the vicinity of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm include: Chigwell Primary School, Gamtoosvalley Primary School, Graslaagte Primary School, Kruisfontein Primary School, Masisebenze Primary School, Mzingisi Primary School, Patensie Primary School, Quagga Primary School, St Patricks EC Primary School, Vukani Primary School, Weston Primary School and Sea Vista Primary School.
“It is widely acknowledged that the biggest challenge to education outcomes is the lack of literacy and numeracy skills at the Foundation Phase stage, as it limits learners’ potential as they progress higher up the education chain. This needs to be addressed so that children have the right skills to take mathematics and science through to Grade 12,” says Green-Thompson.