Stellenbosch University
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Telematic School Project, learners speak up
Author: Christina Harvett
Published: 14/02/2019

The Telematics Project was initiated in 2009 as an intervention that sought to improve the Grade 12 year-end results of the participating schools. This has expanded to include Grades 10 and 11 with a total of 1100 schools around South Africa are benefitting from the interactive afternoon satellite broadcasts of additional lessons, which focus on difficult concepts in nine key subjects. They are broadcast from a studio on the Stellenbosch University campus as part of the telematics service offered by the Centre for Learning Technologies.  The WCED schools have also been able to sign-up to stream these broadcasts via YouTube if they have sufficient broadband.

The extra classes are all arranged and scheduled by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in line with the country-wide CAPS curriculum. The presenters explain core concepts and address problem areas in which learners had experienced difficulties in previous examinations. The whole curriculum is thus not dealt with during the broadcasts.

Learners are able to respond to or ask questions of the presenter in the studio via an interactive webpage, by SMS or on WhatsApp. Through the Telematic Schools website, teachers can also download all the presentations and other resources, the subject workbooks, which can be used during the broadcasts, as well as the broadcast schedule.

A monitoring and evaluation plan is part of this project. The survey has been conducted eight times in the three Cape provinces, although not all concurrently, and over the course of the twelve surveys feedback was received from 25 944 learners.

Overall, the learners agreed that the Telematic Schools Project offers them valuable resources that have made a difference in their learning.

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The ultimate goal of the invention is to increase the year-end results of the Grade 12 learners, and the improvement in the pass rate of the telematics-supported schools as a group is demonstrated by the decrease in the number of underperforming schools.

From the evaluation process, it is clear that the positive impact increases over time, with a better average improvement the longer a school is part of the project. Although the good 2018 results of these schools cannot be attributed only to the telematics intervention, it can be assumed that the Telematic Support Project did play a significant role, particularly when considered against the positive feedback received from both the learners and the teachers.