School learning deficits from two years of pandemic-interrupted teaching make it clear why high school goers should not waste time in using what has become entirely free access for accredited online study. This is the view of Zainab Suliman of Stellenbosch University's Centre for Learning Technologies.
As the deputy director of the centre's operations, Telematics Services and Projects, she manages the Telematics Schools Project (TSP), a not-for-profit initiative developed jointly by Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and Stellenbosch University. The project provides lessons, subject workbooks, and other material for eighteen subjects, in line with the CAPS curriculum, to learners in grades 10 to 12 and in both Afrikaans and English. Content is quality assured by WCED senior curriculum planners and is available, at no cost to the learners, on a zero-rated website.
The start of 2022 also saw the roll-out of the TSP Virtual School, where learners are guided through the curriculum, week by week, with curriculum specific lesson plans, which focus on difficult concepts. It will allow them to catch up on lost teaching and learning time and enhance their chances of academic success.
The project received an additional boost early in April, with the launch of Broadband Infraco CSI Project at Mhlanganisweni Commercial & Tech Senior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape and Ohlange Secondary School in KZN. Mhlanganisweni is in a village nicknamed 'Kwamphelamhlaba', which translates to “the end of the world", indicating the extent of its remoteness. The project aims to use broadband to provide quality education in deep rural areas. The company also sponsored the installation of the Telematic Schools Project equipment at the school to assist their Grade 10 – 12 learners with free quality tuition.
This further strengthens the project's intent to support learners, especially in vulnerable communities across the country.