The six themes are:
The six themes are organised into five programmatic areas; the District Intervention Programme (DIP), Systematic Interventions, Innovation, Local Projects and Education DialogueSA. All the themes of the NECT find expression in each of the five programmes.
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The eight districts are:
The target districts comprise a total of 4362 schools, 66 000 teachers and nearly 2 million learners, and make up 10% of all districts, 18% of schools and 18% of teachers. Since January 2014, the innovations and approaches of the NECT have been tested in 415 Fresh Start Schools (FSS), where high dosage intervention and support is provided. The FSS serve as sites for testing the innovative approaches and intervention models before system-wide replication and institutionalisation. The DIP accounted for over 90% of the NECT’s expenditure in 2014 and 2015.
The DIP has five focus areas:
This component of Programme 1 is aimed at building curriculum management and delivery capacity in mathematics, science and languages, and at preparing teachers to assist in the management of learners’ welfare needs. The NECTs teacher development strategy, Learning Programmes, focuses on supporting teachers to effectively deliver the CAPS curriculum. This is done through a standardised, routinised year-long programme which entails quarterly training, resource inputs such as teacher support toolkits and in-school support.
The school management and leadership component of Programme 1 aims to build the capacity of school principals towards courageous leadership, effective management and the proper monitoring of curriculum delivery. Members of School Management Teams (SMTs) receive quarterly training and support on the Learning Programmes and on courageous leadership, and are provided with tools to develop self-assessment systems in schools.
District development is aimed at building the capacity of subject advisors and circuit managers in the eight district offices, with a view to supporting schools so that principals, heads of departments (HODs) and teachers perform effectively and their performance results in the improved achievement and success of learners at all levels. Mathematics, science and languages subject advisors receive quarterly training and support on the Learning Programmes and work together with NECT curriculum coaches to provide effective support to schools.
The parental and community involvement component aims to: empower parents to support their children’s learning; promote volunteerism among parents and community members in supporting the activities of the school; and increase the use of community resources for the welfare and development of learners. The Parent involvement component produced a Parent-Community Engagement Framework with a number of easy to access, replicable guides and mini-modules.
The purpose of NECT interventions in learner welfare and development is to ensure that schools serve as nurturing environments for all learners to grow, develop and achieve, empowering learners to take responsibility for their learning and their lives. The learner welfare component has produced six learner development modules aimed at raising learners’ awareness of the importance of education and how they can play a greater role in education improvement.
Programme 2 currently focuses on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in education and is categorised into three initiatives:
The NECT has facilitated the formation of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on ICTs which is made up of made up of private and public senior officials. The purpose of the committee is to support the development of an ICT strategy at the Department of Basic Education (DBE), provide technical oversight support to the DBE and to other education initiatives such as Operation Phakisa Education Lab, which is located in the Presidency.
Initiative 2 is aimed at providing technical support to e-administration at the DBE with focus on SA-SAMS and the examinations system. The support is primarily in the area of planning the modernisation and revamp of the school administration system: defining the SA-SAMS User Requirement Specification (URS) and upgrading the SA-SAMS technical architecture. This will help improve the efficiency of the DBE’s core management information system and consequently the resource allocation to schools and districts.
The aim of the connectivity assessment is to identify which schools have acceptable connectivity for potential e-learning pilot initiates. Evaluation work has been undertaken to determine the minimum quantum and speed of connectivity required in order for a school to be defined as functionally “connected”. Assessments are currently being conducted in five districts: Bohlabela (Mpumalanga), Bojanala (North West), Mount Frere (Eastern Cape), uThungulu (KwaZulu-Natal) and Waterberg (Limpopo).
A number of initiatives have been introduced to contribute to testing and mainstreaming new ideas in the education sector, with a view to catalysing long-term improvements.
As part of developing and promoting a knowledge management agenda in the system, the NECT has initiated 3 learning cases. The first case study, produced in 2015, focuses on the national examination system and how it has showed improvements over the last 20 years. Whilst it highlights replicable lessons for public service improvement, the research identifies ways in which the examinations system itself can be further improved or preserved. The second case study focuses on learning and demonstrating the successes, innovations and challenges of the District Steering Committees (DSC) structure with a view to determining whether it can serve as a replicable model for other districts nationally. The third seeks to publicly share the lessons from the school referral system which was piloted in Bela-Bela, Waterberg with 3 government departments as well as universities and NGOs. The case seeks to demonstrate the pilot as an innovation that can be replicated nationally and to strengthen the implementation of the Policy on Screening, Identification, Assessment and Support (SIAS).
Following extensive national and international research as well an initial discussion with key funders and innovators, the NECT was mandated to take the lead in promoting and facilitating innovation in the education sector to achieve educational excellence, which is at the centre of South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP). The focus of the innovation unit is to support the development and testing of innovative solutions for large-scale projects with the aim of accelerating delivery of catalytic education methodologies that can be expanded and sustained.
Thus, the innovation unit will aim to:
Innovation clinics aimed at providing a platform to generate new ideas are currently being run across the country, through a cluster/region approach. Clinics have been held in 2016 focusing on generating new ideas around teacher professionalisation, youth development and literacy promotion. A stage gate model outlining the key steps that each idea should go through before a pilot and replication process is rolled out is being developed with lessons from similar initiatives.
A handbook for maximising the impact of corporate social investment (CSI) in mathematics and science interventions was developed with the intention of distributing the handbook nationally.
In 2014 the NECT convened two national dialogues and one provincial dialogue focusing on teacher professionalisation and school ethos.
Since then at least nine dialogues have been convened focusing on various topics as shown in the diagram below:
|1. Partnership Schools Dialogue (March 2015)||Platform created for interested stakeholders to openly discuss mechanics of the model|
|2. Reading/Parent involvement and development schools model/private schools (March 2015)||Consensus on the need to focus on literacy in early grades. Follow up Literacy networks.|
|3. Roundtable on promotion of teaching professionalisation (May 2015)||Follow up from the previous dialogue|
|4. SACE seminar on teacher professionalisation (June 2015)||SACE is improving its teacher certification policies and measures|
|5. Eastern Cape University Deans of Education (August 2015)||Support education improvement in the Eastern Cape and sharing of practical learning improvement strategies|
|6. Learner Safety Summit (December 2015)||Students, unions, government, SGBs committed to maintaining learner safety - declaration signed by all parties in this regard|
|7. Education NGO Leadership Summit (March 2016||Role of NGOs in implementing the NDP refreshed. Networked funders, corporates and NGOs|
|8. Vuwani crisis – local stakeholder engagement (May-August 2016)||Local stakeholders agreed on joint programme to help resume teaching and learning. R10 million worth of donations raised through crowd-funding programme. Distribution is above 50%|
|9. Four provincial roadshows||2000 Curriculum advisors, governance and management officials and parents involved to encourage all involved to increase curriculum coverage|