Ukhanyo Primary School, caters for 1,950 of the township’s children aged 6 to 14. Over the years our involvement has included both improvements to the physical infrastructure through an ongoing makeover project and building teaching capacity. In addition we also provide English language support to children from Masiphumelele that attend nearby Fish Hoek Primary scho
With Masicorp’s assistance, the school initiated science facilities that are a benchmark for township schools. The model developed to improve science teaching was extended to English and Maths. Many teachers are not confident and proficient in English and, although initial teaching is given in Xhosa, all teaching in later years is delivered in English and this can be a difficult transition for both students and staff. Through partnerships with The Sewing Cafe , Masicorp also provides school tracksuits for those students whose parents cannot afford them.
With the help of our volunteers and fundraisers we have made great progress, but more remains to be done.
Masicorp has committed volunteers and resources to improving the quality of education at Masiphumelele’s Ukhanyo Primary School, but one of the biggest hurdles that the school faces is the low level of English literacy and fluency among teachers and students.
To help address this problem, Masicorp opened the ‘English Hub’ at Ukhanyo Primary School in January 2012. Modelled after our successful ‘Science Lab’, the English Hub focuses on providing teachers at Ukhanyo with the skills and resources that they need in order to teach English effectively. Currently, 261 learners and 6 teachers from Grade 3 benefit from this programme, as well as after school clubs and use of a well stocked library which is offered to all learners at the school between Grade 3-7. Masicorp renovated the classroom to be a bright, light and inviting environment which encourages participation and fun.
Our ‘Masifunde’ initiative also develops the English skills of our learners during the early stages of their primary education. Although initial teaching is given in Xhosa, all teaching in later years is delivered in English and this can be a difficult transition for both students and staff. This programme is delivered with support from the Wordworks programme who supply a range of teaching materials and guidance to our volunteers.
The Maths Lab at Ukhanyo aims to train teachers in proven effective Maths instruction by modelling teaching methods and classroom management, reaching learners in Grade 3 & 4. The Lab is open learning space with re-usable teaching aids, which Ukhanyo teachers will have access to. Children are encouraged to participate and much of the work is done by using whiteboards, in an effort to teach that making mistakes are not to be feared. The Lab also inspires a love for Maths, not only through interesting classes but by opening the classroom during breaktime and after school, so children can play chess as well as maths, cards and number games.
The Science Lab Project started in early 2011 with the objective of equipping the Science teachers of Ukhanyo Primary School with the confidence, skills and resources necessary to educate young scientists.
This has been a highly successful collaborative project between Masicorp and the school. The results, in terms of performance results and teacher engagement, have provided a model of teacher support that has been replicated in the English Hub and Maths Lab. Masicorp no longer manages the Science Lab, as it has been successfully handed over to the school. We do however, provide a classroom assistant who coordinates and manages the equipment, ensuring the classroom is well stocked and organised for the Ukhanyo teachers.
” To have a Science Lab was my dream as the principal of Ukhanyo but I did not know that my dream was going to come true. . . I used to visit Science Labs of different schools and think a Science Lab was something beyond our reach. Any parents who could, used to send their children to richer schools but now their mindset has changed because of the Ukhanyo Science Project. Our learners could do experiments for the first time in their life because before we could only give them theory instead of practical experiments. . . . what Masicorp has provided for us in the Science Room is beyond my expectations. “
Some students from Masiphumelele are fortunate enough to be accepted at local English-medium schools in more affluent areas. Although their long term prospects are massively improved by this, learners often struggle initially because of their poor English skills. We provide additional teaching that allows them to quickly catch up with the other students. The program ensures that the new learners quickly master English, which improves their learning and also helps them to integrate into life outside the township.
Masicorp subsidises half of the cost of the school tracksuit for Ukhanyo learners whose parents cannot afford to buy one – up to100 or so uniforms a year. We started doing this in 2005 after a large shack fire deprived hundreds of families of everything they owned.
The tracksuits are made locally by The Sewing Cafe, using local community members who have been trained in sewing.
The ‘Classroom makeover’ project took place in March 2013, resulting in all 35 of Ukhanyo school’s classrooms becoming a safe, clean and stimulating learning environments for all pupils. The makeover provided new learning equipment (e.g. new modern whiteboards to replace blackboards), repairs to broken windows/roofing and painting the walls in bright stimulating colours. Once the modern whiteboards were in place the old blackboards were transformed into a series of murals to encourage ownership of the upgraded facilities.
In addition the project also refurbished the management and administrative offices, as well as providing a permanent, appropriate space for the existing caretakers. The final step was to create a teachers resources room, where teachers for all grades can access the internet and other teaching resources