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Success Story- Khanya Project (South Africa)

Success Story- Khanya Project (South Africa)

CAMI has fully supported The Khanya Project, an exciting and successful initiative of the Western Cape Education Department first established in April 2001. The rationale for the project was based on the hypothesis that technology could help address the shortage of educator capacity in schools. Technology, more specifically, educational software, strives to, not replace teachers, but to increase their effectiveness and efficiency where there is a shortage. The aim in using CAMI is to improve delivery of a curriculum in a sustainable manner.

Mathematics and Science are two learning areas in particular that have suffered from a decrease in adequately qualified educators entering the teaching profession. The business sector is aware that without efforts to support and strengthen this system which is at risk that there will not be an adequately qualified workforce for the future. This means that there were various organisations within the business sector, non-governmental organisations, national and international donors and other stakeholders all keen to make the significant contributions necessary so that a coordinated endeavour could be undertaken rather than experience the wasted investments of prior uncoordinated attempts.

The issue of the bridging the digital divide is another area that this project wishes to cover. It had been the case that parents in some schools had been able to contribute liberally to creating a technology integrated environment however in most schools this is not possible and effort to reduce the 'have' and 'have-not' situation is imperative.

The Khanya Project envisions that the province will become a 'leading learning region which successfully equips it people and businesses to acquire and apply knowledge effectively in a rapidly changing world' (White Paper: Preparing the Western Cape for the Knowledge Economy of the 21st Century, May 2001). CAMI is the educational software identified as a suitable backbone for the project.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the Khanya Project was ultimately a very ambitious one as described in the Business Plan:
By the start of the 2012 academic year, every educator in every school of the Western Cape will be empowered to use appropriate and available technology to deliver curriculum to each and every learner in the Western Cape.

In order to start, the project faced vast challenges. Very few of the 1570 public schools in the province had any computer facilities for learner use. The technology provided by parents tended to be in very affluent communities. The majority of educators were not trained in using computers and had never used it in a classroom situation. In addition, there were very few students who had ever had opportunity to see or touch a computer.

These three problems were not to solved simply by making learners and educators computer literate, the emphasis still remained beyond this: to use technology to improve curriculum delivery. Achievements

The Khanya Project has provided educational software in computer laboratories in 1339 schools.

There are between 25-40 computers in each and they are LAN networked and internet linked.

There are continuing preparations and installation to be carried out within the year in 133 schools.

46088 PCs have been deployed in these schools.

905464 learners now have the benefit of using technology on a daily basis.


Recognition

Khanya has been acknowledged in various ways for its innovative approach. The list below contains just some of the recognition received:

  • May 2004: Finalist in the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Award programme in the Education Sector (the only finalist from Africa in this sector)
  • August 2004: Winner of the Standard Bank CPSSI Public Sector Innovation Awards, for innovation, in the Innovative Service Delivery Institutions category (2004)
  • October 2005: The Premier of the Western Cape gives a Silver Award to the Khanya Project in recognition of service excellence
  • November 2005: Recognised by TT100 (Technology Top 100: A Division of Da Vinci) http://www.tt100.co.za/tt100/index.php and the National Department of Science and Technology as one of the top 100 IT related organisations in the country and Finalist in the category Leader in Social Innovation
  • October 2006: Finalist in two categories of Africa Achievers Awards
  • November 2006: Winner of TT100 award in category "Leader in Empowerment"
  • November 2006: The Premier of the Western Cape gives a Silver Award to the Khanya Project in recognition of service excellence (for the second year in a row)
  • 2007: Qualifier for TT100 Award (Technology Top 100: A Division of Da Vinci)
  • 2008: Qualifier for TT100 Award (Technology Top 100: A Division of Da Vinci)

Beyond these, Khanya has been able to roll out technology to schools on large scale for curriculum delivery. A methodology, which is fully documented, has been established to assist schools in the developing world for the introduction, training, support, maintenance and sustainability of technology. The methodology has been based on international best practices, but actually individualises its approach to each school and views it as a unique project. This avoids the one-size-fits-all approach)

The unique model for sustainability is based on the principle of partnerships, especially with community and micro-organisations. This has the infinite value of being fully in harmony with the NEPAD principles (http://www.nepad.org/) and this in itself is considered to be one of the greatest achievements of the project.
The project has been externally evaluated for an objective view of its areas of strength and weakness as well as for credibility. This tender was awarded to a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Cape Town (UCT) who issue quarterly reports on the project. This lends the project transparency and helps to point out areas for improvement.

On a practical level when establishing the facility in which the technology is to be used, a room is selected or even constructed, security features are added, adequate electricity and furnishings are provided. Adequate ventilation and other features for a safe learning environment are set up. After the hardware, CAMI software is installed and internet connection provided. Educators are trained in the use of IT and IT for educational purposes, the latter is always emphasised.

Importantly, the Mathematics and literacy rates of the learners participating in the CAMI program have been improved. Schools have become more modern and the technology is employed optimally, the educator has become more effective, especially in classroom situations where there may be huge group number of 70 students. The carefully selected educational software, CAMI, assists in making teaching more effective and efficient. CAMI helps to deliver the curriculum and support an outcomes based educational paradigm in South Africa.

Special efforts have been made to involve previously disadvantaged groups, for example rural women. The programs of literacy aim to provide further empowerment.

The issue of empowerment of communities is addressed not only in the elevation of literacy and ICT but also in how the community is involved from the outset. Throughout the development of the technology facilities the community takes ownership of the project which inspires empowerment and sustainability. There is continued support from a dedicated team of facilitators who visit the school on a regular basis till all educators are comfortable and empowered to use the technology and educational software in the most optimal way. The continuous support has ensured success where other projects have failed.