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Celebrating global partners on World Education Day

On World Education Day South African children should be polishing their school shoes and sharpening their pencils… Instead they await a delayed return to school. Today we give thanks to those who have gone the extra mile during the pandemic to minimise the effects of disrupted education. We join hands with the 1.6 billion students around the globe who are weathering the unprecedented disruption of learning due to COVID-19. Those who have helped are the lifeblood of progress! Going the extra mile Many parents and educators have extended themselves beyond what they thought was possible. Without their input, children and youth could have fared significantly worse. We are especially grateful to those who have extended financial, emotional and logistical support. To this end, our key funder, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) has been a game changer for the JumpStart Foundation. Since 2018, MSDF has supported our NumberSense programme in the Ekurhuleni South District, […]

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JumpStart responds to South Africa’s foundation phase maths crisis

Earlier this month, the bleak news of the international TIMSS study 2019 registered with South African educators and parents. It’s hard to comprehend that a staggering 63% of Grade 5 learners lack basic maths comprehension. This means that they are unlikely to succeed in higher grade mathematics. The root cause of this problem is a lack of foundational phase numeracy: children need to grasp numbers and master basic concepts by the time they start Grade 4. It’s a question of getting the basics right in the early grades. “The negative impact on their long term education is severe, but as grim as these statistics are, there is a solution that offers hope on a grand scale,” said Callen Hodgskiss, General Manager of the JumpStart Foundation. JumpStart addressing the maths crisis since 2014 “Since 2016, the JumpStart Foundation has been addressing foundation phase numeracy in 20 schools in Katlehong, with another five schools coming aboard in […]

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Celebrating International Teachers’ Day with Funeka Phakade

On International Teachers’ Day we honour the teachers who change the world. One of the remarkable educators who captured our imagination is the acting principal of Ukhanyiso Primary School, Mrs Funeka Phakade. She is holding a golden thread, first received as a girl from her beloved headmaster, now passing it on to tomorrow’s teachers. Sitting in her office at the end of Term 3, Mrs Phakade points at the line of trophies filling the display cabinet. These trophies are just one of the ways that you know you are impacting young lives. She’s currently dealing with children who have returned from months of Covid-19 lockdown, having regressed during the lost months, but her heart is full of hope and determination.  Training to be a teacher My training to be a teacher started as a little girl attending Kwezi Primary School in Queenstown. My life was changed by an interaction with the school principal, Mr Mbijekana. […]

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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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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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