Leonard Ncube in Lupane
LUPANE State University (LSU) has partnered the University of the Free State in South Africa on a programme aimed at improving pass rates in primary and secondary schools in Matabeleland North.
LSU, through its department of Educational Foundations, initiated the zero pass rate initiative to improve the academic performance of learners through the creation of a conducive learning environment and adopting learning strategies that address the needs of underperforming schools and pupils.
The programme is being piloted in Lupane district and targets underperforming learning institutions some of which have been recording zero percent pass rates over the years. The university organised an educational conference yesterday where local and South African education experts shared notes on how to implement the programme.
Guest speaker, Professor Dipane Hlalele, from the University of KwaZulu Natal said rural schools have an opportunity to perform better than their urban counterparts. “We need to come up with routine problem solving approaches and understand that rural is not the opposite of urban, but a continuation of human development.
“We should learn that learning doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Rural ecology means we find solutions together. Let’s have a spirit of ubuntu as that will not fail scientific studies,” said Prof Hlalele.
LSU Vice Chancellor, Prof Pardon Kuipa said the partnership was an opportunity to engage with rural education issues and experience learning ecology.
“I am hopeful that some of the outcomes of the conference will be identification of political, institutional, organisational and individual opportunities and constraints that rural people face in developing their capacity and accessing education and training services at all levels of education, “he said.
The conference theme is: “Sustainable Rural Learning Ecologies: Mapping the Research Agenda”.
The programme will involve identifying underperforming institutions and pupils basing on Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced level general examination results, as well as expert teachers who would facilitate coaching during school holidays.
The pupils will camp at a central school for holiday special learning with LSU co-ordinating the programme. Parents and other stakeholders will be approached to assist with resources.
The University of the Free State will also help in co-ordination while also facilitating upgrading of teachers who partake in the programme by helping them get Masters and PHD degrees.
LSU spokesperson, Mr Zwelithini Dlamini said the university took it upon itself to help monitor teaching and learning in selected schools to improve the education system after realising that most schools in the province were performing dismally .
He said LSU, being the only university in Matabeleland North, was concerned about the future of pupils who fail their examinations in school hence the need to help learning institutions improve pass rates and ultimately the lives of learners.
Representatives from fellow universities and colleges from across the country and officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education attended the conference. — @ncubeleon