May 2021.

Fundiswa Ngaka, is a full time Reading Coach at Kim Kgolo Primary School, in Kimberley, and a student after hours. She believes that her biggest impact is helping learners transition from Tswana to English, in the 4th Grade, which is often a difficult transition.

“I work with both Grade 4 and Grade 5 learners, but feel I make the biggest difference with Grade 4 learners. Our school teaches in Tswana up until Grade 3 and then in English from Grade 4, which is a huge challenge for the learners, so coaching them in reading at this stage is where I can make the most difference,” explained Ngaka.

Her journey started six years ago when she entered the Grade 4 classroom and she realised that the field of teaching was what she’d like to pursue. She is currently studying towards her Bachelor of Education Intermediate Phase degree, through UNISA, and hopes to graduate at the end of 2022. Once qualified she’d love to remain at Kim Kgolo Primary School, should a post be available to her.

Ngaka is one of two reading coaches at Kim Kgolo Primary, both tasked with supporting teachers, as they struggle to help each child on an individual level. They both believe that it isn’t just the role of teachers, parents need to be able to assist learners at home with homework too.

“We have some lovely resources from Nal’ibali as well as other reading resources from the Department of Education, which really helps. I would love it if parents could help their children read the books that they take home,” added Ngaka.

Fundiswa Ngaka is one of 30 reading coaches, in the Kimberley area, that forms part of the Reading Assistant Programme funded by Droogfontein Solar Power. She is also a beneficiary of the solar plant’s teaching bursary programme, which encourages Reading Coaches to study towards a formal teaching qualification.

Speaking about how her role as a Reading Coach has changed her life, Ngaka says, “It has made a massive difference. I love communicating and interacting with the learners and this role has encouraged me to read more myself – I even assist some of my young neighbours with their reading too”.

“The Reading Assistant Programme means that children are assisted individually or in small groups, according to their ability, paying particular attention to those who struggle,” explained Zuki Ndlela, Economic Development Officer at Droogfontein Solar Power.

This literacy programme is funded by Droogfontein Solar Power and supports the Department of Basic Education’s primary school literacy drive that focuses on reading improvement initiatives, quality teaching in home language literacy, English as a first additional language, reading clubs and even reading competitions.