For many pupils in rural schools in South Africa, an excellent matric result – and countless hours of hard graft – are the only way out of poverty or to attain the goals they have set for themselves.
The Shea O’Connor Combined School near Nottingham Road, recognising the importance of maths and science in achieving a strong matric performance, is focusing on maths and science and recently signed up to an innovative e-learning programme.
Shea O’Connor School has, since January, been part of the dynamic Ligbron e-learning programme, and principal Nicholas Nxumalo says he can already see the benefits.
The Ligbron system is an online teaching scheme where participating schools can call on the expertise of teachers who give online classes via its centre in Mpumalanga. Classes are carried out using digital SMARTboards where educators in maths and science go through practical examples of the curriculum (Department of Basic Education) to sharpen up pupils’ understanding of concepts, formulae etc.
The school’s respective teachers also take part in the lessons.
Nxumalo said pupils were enjoying the system. “They look at the work and the instructions and they keep their questions, so they can get the answers they need.
“There is interaction and they can only benefit from the expertise.”
The principal said so far the technology had worked smoothly and he was in the process of analysing whether there were improvements in maths and science marks.
When The Meander Chronicle visited the school, the pupils were hard at work getting to grips with some complicated looking equations (that left these oldies baffled and scratching their heads).
We spoke to maths teacher Nonhlanhla Nxele, who has been a teacher at Shea O’Connor for 10 years. She said she was enjoying working with the system.
“I find it useful and very efficient. If pupils miss a lesson, it is saved so they can catch up.
“Past papers are very useful, and there are also videos and worksheets available for pupils from Grade 8 to Grade 12 to go through.”
Nxele also found that she was integrating some of the elements and concepts used into her work, enriching her own teaching process.
In addition to e-learning the school also holds extra classes in maths and science from Monday to Thursday in its efforts to boost results.\
Shea O’Connor school became involved in the Ligbron programme in January after prompting from a Michaelhouse teacher, Sibusisiwe Chalufu, who had been assisting the school’s pupils with maths.
Nxumalo said those who had helped bring the programme to the school included Michaelhouse, Fordoun, Ligbron, One Digital Media and Edward Snell Group.
**Shea O’Connor School requires assistance with repairs and maintenance to classroom floors and roofs. If anyone in the private sector can assist, please contact principal Nicholas Nxumalo on 033 266 6869 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the picture: Maths teacher Nonhlanhla Nxele during an e-learning class at Shea O’Connor Combined School near Nottingham Road. Picture: Nerissa Card