The ‘Work’ of Good Work Foundation, Explained

The Future of Rural Education: Good Work Foundation (GWF) – a South African not-for-profit – is addressing a need to improve access to education, personal development and the global stage in rural Africa, with a view to maximise reach from independently managed hubs of digital education. The organization has been developing a model of locally managed Digital Learning Campuses (or “hubs”) that improve an individual’s ability to operate the 21st Century “languages of access” – digital, English and self-creativity.

The aim of each Digital Learning Campus is to: (1) Create an access “bridge” between school and work, preparing rural adults for life in a global, connected world; (2) Become a hub of digital learning for public-sector elementary schools that can outsource their digital learning to the campus (The Open Learning Academy); and (3) Reduce the “digital divide”, providing rural people with the opportunity to actively participate in today’s online economy.

Our Digitally Powered Prototype: Hazyview Digital Learning Campus or “HDLC” is the first campus of its kind located on the border of the Kruger National Park in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Since opening in September 2012, more than 750 adults have graduated with internationally recognised qualifications in IT literacy and today, eight primary schools send their grade four students to the Campus for digital literacy tuition, as well as supplementary English and math tuition that is presented on digital devices (the first school to attend HDLC has seen a 30 percent improvement in their year-on-year math and English result). A phase two rollout of the plan will reach 10,000 schoolchildren by January 2016 and, with the requisite financial support, the model can be scaled to reach in excess of 100,000 students within 12 to 18 months.

Scaling the Model: After working on a number of community-focused projects in rural Africa, GWF CEO, Kate Groch, set out to create this “hub and satellite” model so that it could be replicated across rural Africa and managed by the local people that each hub serves. 100 percent of facilitators have been trained at HDLC and are recruited from the surrounding community and, of note, 75 percent of those facilitators are made up of women. The program also encourages its students to “pay it forward” to teach the students that follow. The result is that today GWF has management in place on the ground, its structures are simple, cost effective and scalable, and the delivery is measurable. Furthermore, the project has full endorsement from regional government and the Minister of Education.

This is not about setting up a single IT training centre for adults, or a media centre in one school. Rather, each hub is designed to infuse the entire community that it serves with access to a new way of thinking and learning from within. In addition, learning at the hub is designed to be nimble: the learning opportunities and methods (from the course offerings to the apps children are engaging with) change and evolve as the world does. As GWF expands the reach of the Digital Learning Campus model, it continues to provide hope to rural communities, proving that an independently managed, high–tech and centrally located community hub can provide relevant, sustained and uninterrupted access to learning for rural adults and schoolchildren.

Compiled by GWF Media Acadedmy.