September 2018

Local school reading coaches in the Northern Cape, are taking up the opportunity to further their careers through a recently launched bursary programme, funded by De Aar Solar Power.

“The bursaries are all education focused, as we would like to foster an interest in the teaching occupation whilst helping to address the national shortage of quality educational practitioners,” said Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director of De Aar Solar Power.

Mr Basie Mathane, Director: GET Curriculum, Department of Education, Northern Cape commented, “The Northern Cape Department of Education is encouraged by the role that De Aar Solar Power has continued to play in working to provide quality education to those who need it most. The influence and impact of this partnership has gone a long way in laying a strong foundation for improved learner outcomes.”

Part of the bursary agreement is for the recipients to remain active, as coaches in the Reading Coach Programme, whilst completing/continuing with their further education. This also ensures that the coaches continue to earn a living whilst studying and furthermore, they continue to gain invaluable learner-coach experience.

This programme forms part of the Solar Farms’ foundation phase education programme and is based on a collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Education. Being funded by De Aar Solar Power, it is an encouraging example of public-private partnership.

Mr Mathane went on to explain how the programme and partnership with the solar plants came about, “In 2016, the Department of Basic Education participated in the ‘Progress in International Reading Literacy Study’, which yielded disappointingly below-target results, set by the Sector. A high percentage of Grade 4 learners did not reach the minimum benchmarks for reading literacy while the Grade 5 learners showed marginal improvements when 10-year trends are considered.”

“Both internal and external evaluations consistently revealed failure to adequately address foundational competency in the lower grades, as the root cause, which has resulted in the department forming a partnership with De Aar Solar Power, with the aim improving lower grade performance in the these area,” concluded Mr Mathane.

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