Seven South African schools have been handpicked to present at the inaugural World Education Week, one of the world’s biggest education gatherings. The virtual event will showcase 100 international schools between 5-9 October 2020.
World Education Week aims to accelerate the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education, and provide a platform for teachers to share approaches towards promoting inclusive and equitable education.
Each school will host an hour-long online event to an audience of over 1 000 participants, under the theme ‘Learning Today’. These presentations will be guided by one of five educational themes that are seen as being of utmost importance to learners today, including: enhancing employability and life-skills; deepening family and community engagement; the use of technology; wellbeing; and promoting the science of learning and teaching.
The selected schools include a combination of public and private institutions that range from primary to high school level. The schools include: The African Leadership Academy, Hyacinth Primary School, The Jakes Gerwel Technical High School, The Learn to Live School of Skills at The Salesian Institute, Pinelands High School, Parklands College and Roedean High School.
The Jakes Gerwel Fellowship (JGF) – which is funded through the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment – has partnered with World Education Week in the role of country partner. JGF will support the schools with technical training and through the organisation and facilitation of the local events.
World Education Week is closely aligned with JGF’s mission to nurture top learners to become quality teachers who are experts in their subject matter. The Fellowship offers full university scholarships to help recipients embrace innovation and lead positive change across South Africa’s education sector, despite long-standing challenges and those introduced by the global Covid-19 pandemic. It also builds communities of educators to allow them to share best practice approaches and teaching resources towards improving education across the country.
“Our mission is to reshape society’s perception around the value of being an educator and to position it as a prestigious occupation,” says Sihle Ngesi-Magubane, Programme Officer at Jakes Gerwel Fellowship.
“Especially in our current socio-economic climate, where learners have to be taught how to be agile, open to change and experimentation in order to thrive in ever- changing and demanding times,” he adds.
The real magic is in the work being undertaken by the schools themselves. “Jakes Gerwel Technical High School illustrates the power of career- and skills-based education to change the future outlook of learners who typically would have had limited post-school options,” says principal Albert Mocke.
“Despite the fact that many of our learners come from under-resourced communities around Bonnievale in the Western Cape, they are educated to help drive economic growth by being entrepreneurial and creating further employment opportunities once they graduate,” he continues.
Similarly, The Learn to Live School of Skills at The Salesian Institute in Cape Town embraces a student-centred education approach of project-based learning to assist vulnerable youth with developmental disabilities establish future careers.
“Our dynamic classroom approach involves active and inquiry-based learning through the exploration of real-world challenges, where students learn by investigating complex scenarios,” says Professor Tom Ryan, Progamme Development Director at The Learn to Live School of Skills.
“We need to rethink and redesign how we can better serve vulnerable youth, who are under-served from an educational and social developmental point of view. Our participation in World Education Week will go a long way to highlighting this problem and how it might be alleviated,” he adds.