Yizani – resources for teaching isiXhosa as an additional language

The Incremental Implementation of African Languages (IIAL) is a programme by South Africa’s Department of Basic Education to introduce the learning of an African language as a second or third language for pupils at schools. This programme will start learning-language in grade 1 and then follow it through to the end of schooling in grade 12 – that’s where the incremental implementation part comes in. While a laudable initiative, there are not enough trained African languages teachers in schools currently. The public broadcaster SABC has attempted to assist with a terrifying puppet-show series, but it fails to provide adequate support to teachers and guidance on how to structure a lesson. With Yizani, we’ve attempted to bridge this gap.

Read more

Digital learning in South Africa

With 40% of South Africa’s 20.4 million young people (between the ages of 15 to 34) currently unemployed, this poses one of the most significant challenges to the country. At the same time, businesses find it challenging to find employees with the requisite skills. In the 2019 ICT Skills Survey, despite the high overall unemployment rate, the category of Critical Skills Visa as a recruitment source is growing. This means that the local workforce can’t adequately fill the ICT-related vacancies and enterprises are recruiting these abroad. 

Over the years, this survey has repeatedly highlighted the poor state of education in South Africa and in particular the meagre number of learners achieving competence in STEM subjects. Many initiatives are attempting to address this issue. Still, they tend to be in relatively small pockets and are not resolving the underlying lack of appropriate curriculum, relevant teaching materials and skilled teachers. 

Read more

Computational thinking in African schools

At the recent Innovation Africa conference, many African educational ministries were talking about ‘readying’ their learners for the much-hyped 4th Industrial Revolution and developing 21st Century Skills to advance their economies. These skills are an undefined issue, which many education ministries are attempting to solve through providing digital content and devices in the hope that these skills are acquired as a side effect of technology usage. In Botswana, the MOBE initiated a pilot of digital devices and content, with Microsoft and partners, to foster these skills. In Zimbabwe, a new curriculum is rolling out with a subject Internet Communication Technology, including basic digital literacy as well as sections on digital citizenship and coding skills. The recent curriculum reform in Ghana sees a strong focus on ICT-integration as well as a new subject Computing, which covers ICT (operating a computer, word processing, databases, etc.) as well as internet skills. Nigeria is a tech-aspirational market with a keen interest in internet technology and the entrepreneurial opportunities it offers. In South Africa, the message around the 4th Industrial Revolution is consistently reiterated through government as well as party political communication channels as well as ongoing communication from the Department of Basic Education.

South African Coding and Robotics Curriculum

The South African government is developing curricula for coding and robotics for grades R to 9, in order, according to the basic education minister, Angie Motshekga, to create sustainable industrialisation and keep pace with the world.

Computation thinking in South Africa – driven by coding and robotics

Read more