Kaap Agri opens doors to virtual learning
Posted on: 1 June 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on education. More and more schools are relying on technology as a tool for e-learning.
Kaap Agri, in partnership with iSchool Africa, recently donated a virtual classroom, complete with 20 iPads, headsets and a projector, to Wemmershoek Primary School in Franschhoek to help kickstart their digital learning journey.
The iPads come loaded with fun, educational applications which are all in line with the Department of Education’s Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are specifically aimed at improving literacy and numeracy skills. School principal Chris Boonzaaier says they are excited to see the benefits of the project. “Never did I think our school learners will have an opportunity like this. Thank you for giving us a chance to be a part of this lifechanging project and for giving our learners the opportunity to gain new skills. Through this project, our learners will see that devices such as tablets and iPads are not only used for games and watching videos, but that these are powerful tools that can help you transform your life,” he explained.
For Kaap Agri, the partnership with iSchool Africa and Wemmershoek Primary was a natural fit. Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray, Kaap Agri’s Director of Corporate Affairs, says that they were looking to partner with a school that had a real need to develop both teachers and learners in the field of e-learning.
“There were some very important checks we had to do before deciding on a school. Some of the factors we considered included good management, reliable WiFi connectivity and security as well as a need for and excitement about e-learning. We considered several primary schools in the Western Cape, especially in the rural areas and in the towns where we have stores. Wemmershoek Primary ticked all our boxes and when we met with the principal and teachers, we could immediately sense their passion and dedication!"
The iPads provided by iSchool Africa are loaded with the CAPS curriculum and their training modules are supported by the South African Council of Teachers. By participating, teachers at Wemmershoek Primary will also benefit by achieving their required professional development training points for the year.
The sustainability of the project is ensured because it requires that two teachers are appointed as project champions and they are trained to manage the programme once the project is handed over to the school.
Laetitia de Jager, Programme Manager at iSchool Africa, says they are thrilled to join hands with a company that truly understands the challenges that schools in rural areas face and that cares enough to step in and make a real difference.
“iSchool Africa is passionate about promoting technology and its use in informal settlements and rural areas.
This is a powerful educational programme that has the ability to change the lives of so many learners. It will help them to thrive, gain confidence and develop skills in literacy, numeracy, information technology and communication. We need to give learners the best chance to succeed and this is exactly what Kaap Agri is concerned about,” Laetitia added.
As part of the programme, a facilitator from iSchool Africa will be appointed to work with the teachers at Wemmershoek and will offer regular support and monitoring of behaviour and academic change in the learners.
Carol Davids, who has been a grade one teacher at Wemmershoek for the past 32 years, says she is particularly excited to learn a new skill. “Learning should be fun for both teachers and learners. Although elearning is something new, children are accustomed to operating cell phones and devices, so it is us, the adults, who now have to adjust to the new way of teaching and learning. It is definitely an exciting journey ahead,” she said with a big smile.
The programme is focused on all learners in grades one to three and Kaap Agri has committed to investing in this programme for the next two years. “If we want to support the development of scarce skills in the country, we need to start developing the literacy and numeracy skills of learners at foundation level. We believe that the virtual classroom project will give learners a better chance of being prepared for the challenges that the fourth industrial revolution will have on them as the future labour market,” Tasneem added.