"There can be no doubt that one of the most critical challenges facing South Africa is low foundation phase literacy levels. This is impacting heavily on our education system and is resulting in poor outcomes, which in turn is impacting the unemployed youth and society as a whole." - Gaylin Underwood - Co Founder, Eduboard.
- If children are not literate at Grade 4 level, how do we expect them to carry on learning?
- How can we expect our matric throughput rate (the number of students who start vs the number who finish school) to increase from 31% to 85%?
- How do we prepare for a global world and the 4th industrial revolution if children can't read?
There are currently approximately 4,200,000 children in foundation phase in South Africa. This figure increases every year because of higher enrollments every year. Proportionate funding per student has been steadily declining for years. Most of the studies highlight the following key points to assisting with literacy.
- Learning resources, specifically for African languages in class and at home
- Reading culture needs to be heavily promoted
- Reading support at home
- Reading opportunity and support within communities
- Teacher training for literary
So, What is The "Tool Box for Foundation"
The aim of the Tool Box is to provide every foundation phase teacher and community reading champion with LARGER than life African language readers. It is a FUN and exciting way to engage with youngsters of all ages. The books come in PDF format and they can be projected onto a whiteboard via the EduBox or even onto a white wall in a classroom or a community hall.
The complete "Tool Box for Foundation" includes:
- Supply of mobile EduBox or permanent EduMax pro interactive whiteboards
- Digital Material Foundation Literacy in African Languages
- Alphabet Friezes
- Big Books
- Literacy Posters
- Digital CAPS material and resources for all grades
- Oktopus professional teaching software for interactive teaching
- Oktopus has great interactive literacy tools and reading games
- Teacher Training:
- Teacher training on interactive whiteboard equipment
- Training on the use of interactive technology
- The following are new additions:
- Community reading support - NGO's and NPO's working with reading initiatives
This program is to scaffold and to support existing structures with the goal of making it stronger. It is not designed to replace, but rather strengthen and build towards a blended learning environment. The first step to bridging the digital divide is to get the literacy levels up.
We believe that the program should be adopted on a school-by-school basis, rather than individual teachers. There are plans to develop an extensive volunteer network of community members who are able to pledge 2 hours a week or 20 min a day to assist with story telling and reading activities with our little people. The program does include training and school/teacher support. Plans are also in place to develop more mentoring, coaching and support networks for foundation phase teachers.
Below is a visual flow chart of the "Tool Box for Foundation" program: