Crowd-fund a teacher or maths class!
Want to help? Sponsor a teacher's digital training or a primary school digital maths programme through the ground-breaking 'I Support Education' programme.
(Supplied)

Educational publishing house and e-learning specialists Via Afrika is making it possible - and easier - for South Africans to help make a difference in education through its new I Support Education initiative.  

The I Support Education initiative challenges members of the public to get involved in two ways:

  • Support a teacher to undergo digital education training through the Via Afrika Digital Education Academy, or
  • Support an eligible primary school to implement the Via Afrika Tabtor Maths programme.

“Every South African values education,” says Via Afrika CEO Christina Watson, “But it’s often difficult to know where to help, or how your donations and contributions are spent. With I Support Education, we wanted to create a way for any South African not only to donate to a teacher’s digital education training or a school’s maths education, but for them to see exactly where and how that money is spent.”   

Digital education training

Digital education holds enormous potential to catapult the South African basic education system well into the 21st century, but only if teachers themselves are properly trained to use emerging education technology to its full potential in an educationally sound way.

With a bouquet of 36 Android-based training sessions for teachers, the Via Afrika Digital Education Academy enables teachers to grow their knowledge, skills and confidence in digital technologies and digital education practices. The sessions can be taken face-to-face, via live webinar or via recorded webinar. A full description of all sessions can be accessed at www.viaafrika.com/academy.  

The courses are offered in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and are South African Council for Educators (SACE) endorsed with the relevant Professional Development (PD) points. In addition, a certificate is issued by Via Afrika upon completion of a session.

Maths programmes in primary schools

Parallel to that, maths education for learners at primary school level is critical not only for individual success, but for the well-being of the country’s growth and economic development.

Via Afrika firmly believes every child can do maths! Each child’s learning ability is unique and deserves customisation – not a one-size-fits-all method of teaching, or worse, one-size-fits-all extra-lessons teaching. This is why each child using Tabtor is provided with a real tutor to work with on a one-to-one basis on the tablet.

After an initial diagnostic test, the learner’s skills are matched by our specialist tutors to the appropriate maths level and problems. The tutor is then able to individualise and structure maths assignments for each learner's needs.

Via Afrika Tabtor Maths is aligned to the South African CAPS curriculum and has a strong focus on developing skills for problem solving and logical reasoning. This means that extra lessons are matched to classroom work. Numerous challenging word-problem activities develop computational, analytical as well as language skills. 

How to support a teacher:

The Via Afrika Digital Education Academy (VADEA) provides training courses for teachers to grow their knowledge, skills, and confidence in digital technologies and digital education practices.

Teachers who have applied to Via Afrika to participate in VADEA digital training courses are listed on the I Support Education website. Here, members of the public can read the profiles of these teachers and the courses they would like to take, and opt to sponsor one or more to undergo training through the Via Afrika Digital Education Academy by clicking a "Support Me" button. A sponsor can fund a session in whole or in part.

As a sponsor, you will be able to monitor your selected teacher’s fundraising status. When enough funds have been raised for the training, the teacher will complete the session. As a sponsor, you will receive a letter of thanks from the teacher, and confirmation that the teacher has successfully completed the training session.

How to support a school:

Via Afrika has selected a number of eligible primary schools from a pool of applicants to participate in the initiative. Their profiles can be viewed at www.isupporteducation.co.za.

These schools’ fundraising efforts will go towards a one-year subscription for each learner in the Via Afrika Tabtor Maths programme, training for teachers on how to implement Via Afrika Tabtor Maths successfully, and ongoing support for teachers from the Via Afrika team to ensure successful implementation.

Sponsors can monitor the progress of the fundraising for their selected school. After the target amount is reached, sponsors will receive a letter of thanks from the school’s principal.  

At the end each school term, Via Afrika will provide sponsors with an aggregated report on how much time learners have spent working on Via Afrika Tabtor Maths, how many worksheets have been completed, and most importantly, how the students’ skills in maths are improving.

At the end of the subscription year, sponsors will receive a final aggregated report on what progress the learners have made.

Tabtor maths app

Applying for support

A teacher wishing to apply for support to complete a VADEA digital training course, or a school wishing to fund a Tabtor programme can apply to I Support Education for assistance through the I Support Education website. The number of eligible schools are limited to three at a time, in order to make reaching enough funds more achievable.

Who is Via Afrika?

Via Afrika is a leading publisher of quality educational textbooks and related material for South Africa and southern African countries. With more than 65 years’ experience, the company develops content in print and electronic formats that meets the needs of learners from Grade R to Grade 12, TVET (vocational) Levels 2 to 4, as well as Adult Education and Training learners. This high-quality educational material is currently being used by thousands of learners and teachers country-wide. Via Afrika has been developing digital content for more than a decade.

Do you think this is a good idea? Should our teachers be schooled to use digital educational platforms properly? Send your thoughts about maths education in South Africa to chatback@parent24.com.

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