In an effort to help address the one of the biggest challenge to education outcomes, De Aar Solar Power has signed a three year bursary agreement and will spend over R450 000 on this Early Childhood Development programme aimed at communities within De Aar and surrounding areas.
Director for ECD Department of Education, Palesa Thulo, said the partnership with De Aar Solar Power would benefit both the practitioners and the foundation phase learners.”In recent years we have been losing most of our experienced ECD practitioners due to retirement. The investment made by De Aar Solar Power presents an opportunity for us to nurture upcoming practitioners and also serves as a guarantee that for years to come we will have a crop of qualified and experienced ECD practitioners who can ensure quality education in the foundation phase. Another aspect of this partnership involves improving literacy levels of our learners since this has been a national challenge. We are grateful for the commitment made by our partners in appointing reading coaches to assist our teachers in the classroom,” explained Thulo.
The programme, which sees De Aar Solar Power partnering with the Department of Education, is aimed at up-skilling 30 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Practitioners qualifications in the De Aar, Britstown, Hanover and Phillips Town area. “Lack of literacy and numeracy skills, at the Early Childhood Development stage limits children’s potential as they progress higher up the education chain. We are committed to making a difference and would like to ultimately witness learners, within the communities that we support, getting the right education, ability and aptitude to take mathematics and science through to Grade 12, should they so wish,” said Cornell Mouton, Plant Manager of De Aar Solar Power.
The 30 practitioners that De Aar Solar Power is funding over the next three years are to receive bursaries to the value of R13 500 per year. Training will be provided by the University of the North West, to allow practitioners the opportunity to improve their qualifications from NQF4 to NQF6. This initiative supports the solar farm’s commitment to helping communities through the implementation of education and health programmes with a focus on early childhood development, as part of a crèche support programme.
In addition to the bursary programme, other initiatives include a Reading Coach Programme, which has been implemented across 14 schools in these communities, in conjunction with the Department of Education. This Reading Coach Programme, which included funding of over R420 000, has already been implemented in all the primary schools in De Aar, Hanover and Britstown. Training of the Reading Coaches commenced earlier this year and teachers have been allocated the Reading Coach resources. The focus is to improve literacy and numeracy levels of grade 1 to 3 learners by providing scheduled reading sessions in vernacular (isiXhosa and Afrikaans). The Programme incorporates a number of elements, namely employment opportunities, training and resources. In addition to this, the participating schools will receive a donation of books to the value of R7000.
The project is also to be funded over a three year period and performance will be measured by the improvement of the Annual National Tests (ANA) written by the learners annually. Each participating school will get book grants over the three year period.
Participating schools in the Reading Coach Programme, in the vicinity of De Aar Solar Power include: Emthanjeni Primary School, Alpha Primary School, Willie Theron Primary School, Zingisani Primary School, Kareeville Primary School, Hanover Primary School, St. Johns Primary School, Hayes PS, Van Rensburg Primary School, and Luvuyo Primary School.