4 Rural Primary Schools Lead the “Digital March” in Mpumalanga

Two rural Mpumalanga primary schools, Siyamukela Primary and Mpuzana Primary, recently “plugged” their grade four students in to Good Work Foundation’s (GWF) Open Learning Academy at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre.

We are thrilled to announce that this brings the total number of Hazyview Open Learning Academy satellite schools to four, with more than 1000 children from the public sector attending digital, English and maths literacy classes at the Centre each week.

10 out of 10 for English word recognition. On his first go.

10 out of 10 for English word recognition. On his first go.

The Open Learning Academy model contends that a state-of-the-art “Hub” or “Digital Learning Centre” can provide digital learning opportunities for up to five satellite schools and 6000 children.

The model is based on a phased, long-term partnership between the “hub” (Digital Learning Centre) and its “satellites” (local primary schools). In year two of a partnership, a digital facilitator, trained at an Open Learning Academy, will be placed at the satellite.

The model is based on a phased, long-term partnership between the “hub” (Digital Learning Centre) and its “satellites” (local primary schools). In year two of a partnership, a digital facilitator, trained at an Open Learning Academy, will be placed at the satellite.

Many public sector schools have neither the facilities nor the expertise to present digital curriculums and, especially in rural areas, learners get left behind.

Our model offers a solution.

The vision is to create a world-class space at the centre of every rural community.

This is a space where children can access online, interactive learning via tablets, videos and the latest educational software.

There isn’t a need for already under-resourced schools to invest in old-fashioned computer labs. They just need to plug-in to their nearest Open Learning Academy.

Open Learning Academy Facilitator, Mary-Jane, demonstrates "touch screen" and one student just can't wait to try.

Open Learning Academy Facilitator, Mary-Jane, demonstrates “touch screen” and one student just can’t wait to try.

In Phase One of the Open Learning Academy model, grade four and five learners from each satellite school attend the Open Learning Academy every week as part of their study timetable.

In Phase Two, a qualified GWF Digital Facilitator – together with a charging trolley full of tablet computers – extends the learning environment created at an Open Learning Academy back into the primary school, ensuring ongoing learning for grade six and seven students.

With three Open Learning Academies already operational and another three scheduled for launch in the next six months, we believe this is a model that has the potential to change the face of rural education in South Africa.

The Philippolis Open Learning Academy launched in South Africa's Free State province in April this year.

The Philippolis Open Learning Academy launched in South Africa’s Free State province in April this year.

To learn more about GWF and the Open Learning Academy model, email ryan@goodworkfoundation.org.

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