One of the highlights of Droogfontein Solar Power’s Socio Economic Development initiatives is a Reading Programme that has been implemented across ten schools, in conjunction with the Department of Education. This Reading Coach Programme has already been implemented in all the primary schools in Riverton, Ritchie and Barkley West. Training of the Reading Coaches commenced earlier this year and teachers have been allocated the Reading Coach resources.
The focus is to improve literacy and numeracy levels of grade 1 to 3 learners by providing scheduled reading sessions in vernacular (isiXhosa and Afrikaans). The Programme incorporates a number of elements, namely employment opportunities, training and resources. In addition to this, schools will receive a donation of books.
“Considering that the biggest challenge to education outcomes is the lack of literacy and numeracy skills, at the Early Childhood Development stage, as it limits learners potential as they progress higher up the education chain. This needs to be addressed so that children have the right skills to take mathematics and science through to Grade 12. For this reason Droogfontein has signed a 3 year agreement with the Department of Education to support this programme,” explained Marion Green-Thompson, Economic Development Manager for Droogfontein Solar Power.
The programme aims to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of primary school learners, through the introduction of 10 Reading Coaches, into the beneficiary schools. This in turn has provided jobs for 10 unemployed matriculants from the area who now receive a stipend each month and are being provided with work experience which should hopefully improve their opportunities to get jobs in the future or go to University to study towards an education diploma. These Coaches will run reading sessions with groups of up to 15 children at a time, although most of these groups are smaller so that each child gets individual attention.
The project is funded over a three year period and performance will be measured by the improvement of the Annual National Tests (ANA) written by the learners annually. Each participating school will get book grants over the three year period.
Droogfontein Solar Power is committed to helping communities through the implementation of education and health programmes with a focus on early childhood development, as part of a crèche support programme; numeracy and literacy interventions at primary school level; support for mathematics and science programmes at secondary school level; and scholarships for engineering-related studies at tertiary level.