Education catch-up for our learners in 2021 is an urgent priority. In our areas, limited access to technology or adequate learning material at home resulted in insufficient alternative-learning opportunities during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Unfortunately, these barriers were only compounding the already existing difficulties of education in our under-resourced schools.
Since 2016, the iiTablet Tshomiz (iiTT) e-learning programme has supported local government schools in mathematics and literacy. The programme is a tablet-based, learner-focussed intervention that reinforces and supports what’s being taught in the classroom. Now, our iiTT programme is playing a vital role in bridging the gap of missed schooling last year.
The iiTT Management Team describes how this year learners have displayed a remarkable level of determination to overcome their personal academic backlogs. Despite the growing demands of catch-up learning in the classroom, the iiTT sessions have seen a high rate of attendance, with learners repeating lessons until concepts are fully mastered.
Two exceptional grade 9 learners, Sinelihle and Ntsika, have attended every scheduled session this school year, scoring 90-100% on their tasks. Sinelihle and Ntsika have participated in the iiTT programme since grade 5 and grade 7, and explain that they feel more confident in the classroom because of the extra practice they do in Maths and English with iiTT. Noluvo Mandukwini, Xhora Mouth iiTT Site-Manager, says that Ntsika is so dedicated to his studies, that he will attend extra sessions that are outside his scheduled time, as well as assist his peers once he is finished with his tasks.
We are encouraged by the enthusiasm and commitment of our learners, even in the most difficult of times. We will continue to work hard with our learners and schools in order to ensure a full academic recovery from the pandemic.