Bertha Centre releases review of SA educational innovations

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The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a specialised unit at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) in Cape Town, has launched the first South African Education Innovator’s Review, aimed at showcasing innovations in the education sector.

The Bertha Centre said the review looked at innovators that had proved their impact in addressing the key challenge of improving access to quality education for those that need it most.

It is based on the premise that the South African education system is underperforming, with more than half of grade four students unable to read for meaning and interpretation, and a third completely illiterate in any language. In secondary school, 80 per cent of grade nine pupils are achieving grade five level results in mathematics.

“The poor outcomes of our education system has driven a huge and promising response from South Africans to develop innovative models to improve both the quality and outcomes of the system,” said Dr Francois Bonnici, director of the Bertha Centre.

“We’ve uncovered what is being done by over 120 programmes to address the challenges in the education sector. This research was then taken deeper by identifying the components of these models that have impacted the system in order to share the learnings of the innovations in our publication.”

The review has seven chapters exploring various programmes from across the country adopting innovative approaches along the learner’s full journey. It takes in early childhood development (ECD), examines the acquisition of vital skills in literacy and numeracy, and maps the pathway that links what is learnt in the classroom to what is implemented in the workplace.

“This review shines a spotlight on the sometimes under-recognised role that frontline actors who interact directly with learners, school and communities can play, and on the hope that lies in their stories. We trust that readers will be inspired to support these organisations and embark on their own journey to support education in our country,” said Louise Albertyn and Camilla Swart, who co-authored the publication with Bonnici.

A free electronic version of the review is available on the Bertha Centre’s website, with those that prefer hard copies able to pick one up from the centre’s offices at the GSB, 9 Portswood Road, Green Point, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

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