Education & Enrichment

Rural Teacher Development

By June 3, 2016 February 24th, 2020 No Comments
The Rural Teacher Development training in St Lucia, focuses on developing skills such as child care, communication and child learning skills to fully prepare teachers to deliver the most safe and beneficial non formal lessons, to best prepare the learners for their educational journey starting in grade R!
Due to lack of education, teachers do not regard themselves as teachers as they do not have the trained skill to develop the children in their care. Lack of registration means that they are not able to enjoy training and resources from the government and due to financial restraints Government requirements cannot be met for registration.KwaZulu-Natal is home to almost one quarter of South Africa’s young children – 1.6 million children under the age of 6 and 69% of these children live in dire poverty, with parents unable to fund early childhood development.

Education indicators in the communities are extremely shocking, particularly when compared to the rest of South Africa. 12% of adults in KwaZulu-Natal have no education, and the pupil-to-teacher ratio is an average of 36:1, with pre-primary pupil-to-teacher ratios being a lot higher. We aim to provide assistance and support in these pre-primary learning situations.

Preschool and education programs in the areas surrounding St. Lucia are hugely under-resourced and do not provide the holistic learning environment that is needed for children in their early years. Encouraging pre-primary education is a serious concern for the area. When young children are left at home instead of being in créches and preschools, it leaves them at risk of being left behind when they reach primary school, and also poses a threat to the child’s well being.

Many pre-primary teachers in local towns surrounding St Lucia are lacking in the vital teacher training and child protection knowledge necessary to give children the best start in their schooling career. Due to the lack of education and low teacher numbers, many are offered jobs in créche’s without having sufficient qualifications or any formal training at all, which creates a cycle of poor education and therefore increases the levels of poverty.

Many teachers working in these under-resourced facilities are prepared to train further and better their own skills as teachers, but lack of funding prevents this. The créche’s in the area can be severely overrun, sometimes supporting up to eighty children under the age if five between two members of staff, leaving teachers fatigued and unmotivated. Due to these circumstances, children do not get the one to one care they deserve, and the créche becomes a ‘safe’ place for children, not a place of learning. When children do not receive the vital lessons in socialising, behaviour and basic beginnings of education before enrolling in ‘Grade R’ of school, they often get left behind in the classroom and find it hard to adapt, often having to repeat grades and developing a generally negative view of life at school.

With the approval and support of the Induna (local chief) and the community, we are able to deliver 3 fold empowerment- helping with building capacity for creches, helping with resources and capacity, but MOST IMPORTANTLY train teachers to best prepare the under 6 year old children with the best skills for the start to their educational journey.

Short Term: Using the rural teacher training, staff at créche’s in the area will have the skills and knowledge to fully prepare attendees for their first days of formal schooling. And allow them to confidently take on ‘Grade R’ with the basic skills needed, such as recognising colours and reading numbers. This will also create positive working environments for the children and teachers by having more structure and organisation.

Long Term: Providing the children with a good foundation to schooling will set them up for success, as opposed to naturally falling behind and repeating grades. With good schooling these children will be able to further expose themselves to job opportunities and a stable future away from poverty.

This project will also give teachers the confidence to fully lead classes and reach their potential, leading to further job opportunities later in their career that may offer them a decent wage while enriching the future generation. These teachers deserve to feel empowered and appreciated through the job that they do.

The province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) on the east coast of South Africa and borders the countries of Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. As its name suggests, it is the birthplace of the proud Zulu nation. Still ruled by the Zulu royal family, the rural areas of KZN maintain a very traditional way of life. Sadly, the population of KwaZulu-Natal has been devastated by the effects of poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. A staggering 40.2% of people in the province are estimated to be infected with HIV, and about 10% of these have AIDS.

Khula Village
Khula Village, situated just five kilometres outside of the coastal town of St. Lucia in KZN, is home to more than 13 000 people. Many of the villagers are either farm workers, employed in the local town of St. Lucia or work on government programmes. Although still a fairly new settlement, this ever-developing village has a clinic, a primary school, a high school, various créches and many community buildings and shops. Building renovations are carried out constantly, which gives true meaning to Khula’s isiZulu name, which means ‘growing.’ According to local non-governmental organisations, an estimated 60-80% of Khula’s population is infected with HIV.

Ezwenelisha Village is set in the beautiful rural landscape of the East Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, about 10 kilometres outside of St. Lucia. A genuinely traditional, rural village in the heart of Zululand, Ezwenelisha is home to a warm and welcoming people, and its name means ‘a new world’ in isiZulu.

The rural layout of the village means that residents’ homes are located far from the community’s clinic, schools and shops. Many houses are built by the government and are fair-sized concrete structures that provide good shelter. However, travelling is difficult because of a lack of reliable public transport, and as a result many people aren’t able to secure jobs in the nearby town of St. Lucia. The overwhelming majority of Ezwenelisha’s households do not have running water and people still have to walk to the nearest river or pond to gather water for drinking and cooking. The majority of Ezwenelisha’s inhabitants work in the nearby sugarcane and pulp and paper industries. The community’s proximity to various agricultural industries means that it is both home to and frequented by migrant workers. Unfortunately, this makes the area particularly susceptible to high HIV/AIDS rates. Like Khula, it is believed that approximately 70-80% of the community’s population is infected with the virus.

In 2016, we identified 20 teachers in the St. Lucia, South Africa area who were dedicated Early Childhood Teachers but were not officially accredited, resulting in their schools receiving lower government funding and the students receiving a lower quality education. In return, Rural Teacher Development programme was established to provide accreditation towards these 20 teachers through a four stage approach.

  • 2017: The teachers received Stage 1 training while we concurrently were able to start raising funds for Stages 2-3.
  • 2018: We fully fundraised for these two stages and teachers were able to participate in Stages 2 and 3 of their Early Childhood Development training.  By being part of this training these teachers will be able to offer much improved activities and support methods in the classrooms to help over 650 children get better ready for primary school.
  • 2019: We aim to have the teachers finish Stage 4 of their training so they graduate as fully accredited teachers with a qualification in Early Childhood Development. This last stage is rigorous training conducted over 18 months and, together with our partners, we will look at expanding the programme to reach more participants in the future.