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Back to school – JumpStart responds

When Deputy Basic Education Minister Reginah Mhaule announced the delayed re-opening of schools last Friday, the JumpStart team was relieved and dismayed. We respond here with our plans for the year that now starts on 15 February: Health first It’s hard to compute precisely how much has been lost – from the skilled educators who will not return to their classrooms to the social dynamics and school lunches, plus reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. It’s easy to see how far behind some children have fallen in schools where the burden of poverty is hardest. “The stark and tragic reality of more than 1500 educators losing their lives to Covid-19 is a painful and timely reminder of the vulnerability of our colleagues employed by the DBE,” said JumpStart Programme Director, Jabu Thomo. Back to school in 2021 We support putting health above all else, and will use the next two weeks to implement specific measures to ensure […]

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Adelina Msimango

Adelina Msimango: Teachers are beacons of light!

During 2020 Mrs Adelina Msimango shared her office and her heart with four JumpStart interns. As Head of Department (Intersen) at Sekgutlong Primary School she took care of the tutors of the JumpStart programme, which is funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. As the year draws to a close, she reflects on how they are learning to teach mathematics to learners from Grade 1 to Grade 4. Once unemployed youth, they spent many hours this year helping parents of learners at the school to continue their children’s maths education during lockdown. Mrs Msimango watched with delight as Simphiwe Mtshali, Given Msibi, Lesedi Moloi and Nthabiseng Ngoepe got involved in maths education at the school. She noticed how they learned about learning, discovering their own passionate enthusiasm for the teaching profession. She chats about becoming a teacher, Covid’s impact, and she encourages up and coming educators. Who encouraged you to become a teacher?  My […]

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Life under lockdown #6: Tumelo Mokoena builds firm foundations

Tumelo Mokoena is a tutor at Mohlodi Primary School, where he inspires a love of maths to learners in Grades 1,2 and 3. This 22-year-old says that teaching maths has greatly changed since he was in primary school. “Especially, if you consider lockdown learning, teaching via smartphones and devices!” As a tutor he is eager to share his new knowledge with those around him. “Education is not an individual pursuit and I enjoy teaching as well as learning from other tutors,” he explains. Tumelo started a degree focused on politics, but that didn’t go well. He thought about his particular strengths and realised that assisting other people enlivened him. Now he’s studying a B Ed through UNISA with the help of a StudyAssist bursary from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.  Tutored not tortured Tumelo loves teaching maths and wants to empower the children in his care. He says, “Most of my learners are excited, […]

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Barbara Bogogolela is a school teacher at Izibuko Primary

Teacher Talk: Hope for learners at Izibuko Primary

This Women’s Month we feature some exceptional women in our community. The first of our August heroines is Barbara Bogogolela, who shared her experience of teaching Grade One under challenging circumstances. Back in January this year, Mrs Bogogolela stood on the long corridor outside her classroom door, leading the young Grade Ones into her class on their first day of “big school”. Izibuko Primary School in Katlehong serves the local informal settlements. Nobody could possibly have foreseen what 2020 would bring her way. Nothing in her 34 years of teaching could have prepared her for the challenges she faces later this month. On 24 August 2020, all those 40 young minds and bodies, will return after months of lockdown! These little ones who entered her life for just a few weeks and had learned to count up to five will have forgotten most of what they learned. However, she will try to give each child […]

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Simphiwe Mtshali

Life under lockdown #5: Simphiwe Mtshali gains new skills

Once upon a time, when Simphiwe Mtshali was working in a health spa, where Women’s Month meant doing lots of manicures and massages. This year, during Covid-19 lockdown, she has been massaging numbers and building children’s futures online. From beauty therapist to maths tutor was a substantial career shift, but the journey continued in ways she hadn’t anticipated during lockdown. “I was lucky to find a job with JumpStart in 2019, which changed my life. This unlocked my newfound passion for teaching,” she says. “Now I’m using WhatsApp groups to teach maths to foundation phase learners!” Flipping from paper to digital Before Covid-19, all the mathematics teaching that happened at Sekgutlong Primary School was paper-based, with learners writing in pencil in their NumberSense workbooks. This is one of 20 schools that is funded by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. After the president’s announcement of lockdown, all that changed. JumpStart tutors assisted in the roll […]

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