Hello there, Hello Tutor!

Personalised learning is the future of education. With programmes like Via Afrika Tabtor Maths, we are seeing its benefits first-hand. But there are, of course, difficulties with personalised learning:  Each child cannot have their own dedicated teacher who crafts a learning plan for them (at least not in the traditional educational model). Technology, effectively combined with digital learning principles, could address the problems around personalised learning, and we are extremely excited to see South African companies take up the challenge of fixing education in innovative ways. One such a firebrand is Hello Tutor. Have a look at the video below to see what they are doing – and how they’re doing it! This visionary company brings together the power of technology and the community in a meaningful, accessible way – we simply love everything about them!   We caught up with James West, founder of Hello Tutor, to find out what the motivating factors behind Hello Tutor are. VA: James, why did you decide to start Hello Tutor? Hello Tutor aims to assist learners from all walks of life, but was developed specifically in response to the education crisis which exists in South Africa and other developing countries around the world. Education is fundamental to the health of a society and the significant difference between the quality of education received by privileged and under-privileged learners is something which puts a lot of people on the back foot early on in life. We hope, through Hello Tutor, to be able to bridge this gap using a medium which is becoming more and more available to everyone. VA: Where do you...

Bursary recipient announced at BCF event

Bursary: A word of hope for any aspiring student. It conjures ideas of hard work, and reaping the rewards of effort put in. Via Afrika is thrilled to announce that this past Friday, one such aspiring student’s dream came true. Jimmy Nevis’ Blue Collar Foundation has announced the first recipient of its new bursary programme. In partnership with Via Afrika, the foundation aims to provide educational opportunities for young South Africans by providing a learner from the matric class of 2015 with a bursary to help fund to further his or her education. Nevis’ brainchild and passion project, the Blue Collar Foundation, looks to inspire change and create opportunity for South Africa’s youth, allowing them to reach beyond the limits of their socio-economic backgrounds. The new partnership with Via Afrika focuses on the awarding of the first Jimmy Nevis Bursary to a learner who wishes to pursue an education in the Humanities. Explaining the decision to partner with Via Afrika, Nevis says: “For understandable reasons, throughout a child’s school-going years and particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the primary focus is to get them to pass matric and into a tertiary institution. This is seen as a path out of poverty and a track to a better future. The downside, however, is that this blind focus on that one track fails to account for what happens after you achieve it, or if you don’t achieve it. “If you do achieve this goal without the proper guidance that CareerCompass can provide, a tertiary experience can turn out to be a wasted opportunity studying towards a career you don’t enjoy or love.  Additionally, for the...

Via Afrika UNtombazi takes centre stage for Grade 11

The classic drama UNtombazi, compiled by A.T. Ndlovu and published by Via Afrika, has been approved by the DBE as a set work for Grade 11 isiZulu literature. The drama is based on the history of the Ndwandwe people. It talks about how Queen Ntombazi supported her son Zwide in leading the Ndwandwe people.  Even though some of Queen Ntombazi’s ways included witchcraft, she managed to help the Ndwandwe  become one of the most powerful nations among the Nguni tribes. In his introduction of the book, Ndlovu highlights some points about  the important role that women played in history. Queen Ntombazi was later killed by King Shaka Zulu. A.T. Ndlovu has written a couple of isiZulu books and is currently working as the Circuit Manager at Umkhanyakude District in KwaZulu Natal, North Coast. The book will be in schools  next year. UNtombazi was first published in 1978 written by A.H. Dladla. A.T Ndlovu compiled this edition, ensured its CAPS compliance, and implemented the use of current isiZulu orthography. On the right is an interview with A.T. Ndlovu in Isolezwe....

PenPal Schools and Via Afrika are walking to freedom

We are excited to announce that we have teamed up with online global learning community, PenPal Schools, to help students around the world work together to learn about a variety of topics, and each other. PenPal Schools connects over 70,000 students in more than 85 countries through curriculum-guided online exchanges. Classes around the world are paired, and each student is matched with a PenPal for a six week exchange. Via Afrika have developed a first course for PenPal Schools entitled Walking to Freedom, which introduces students to the concepts of prejudice, discrimination and racism, and tells the stories of civic leaders who dedicated their lives to freedom, justice and equality. Said Christina Watson, CEO of Via Afrika: “Via Afrika couldn’t be prouder to be partnering with PenPal Schools. This first initiative will allow students all around the world, to explore content detailing the injustices suffered by famous civil rights leaders – right here in South Africa and in the rest of the world; in recent times with our own Nelson Mandela, all the way back to the 15th century.” The course begins with an in-depth look at struggles with racism faced by the world’s indigenous peoples through the 15th to 18th centuries, after which students are taken through the non-violent activism of Mahatma Gandhi. The heroism of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Helen Joseph and Rosa Parks is covered too. The course concludes in the present day with students learning about champions of human rights fighting for change in the 21st century. By sharing their responses with a PenPal, students engage meaningfully with the content, discovering other cultures and exploring...