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Zisukhanyo Schools Project. The drive to improve the achievement in Mathematics at Primary schools is at the forefront of the National Education Department, Provincial Education Departments and primary school priorities. The need for innovative solutions that produce measurable learner progress is understood as essential by all Education professionals. The Zisukhanyo Schools Project has been aiming to demonstrate that a structured and accountable Mathematics Programme; integrating classroom teaching, lessons delivered using technology, school management support, learner performance analysis and educator continuing professional development; can make the desired impact on Mathematics teaching and learning. The Zisukhanyo (meaning enlightens) Schools Project, in collaboration with the Western Cape Education Department, has been implemented at nineteen primary schools in the Metropole South Education District. The programme was initiated by an Irish charity, Protea Education Development Project (PEDP). PEDP is the ZSP owner. The primary funding for ZSP is from the Human Dignity Foundation (HDF). HDF is an independent, private foundation committed to responsible grant-making. HDF works to bring about positive change in the lives of people in Africa & Asia and to enable children & women to fulfil their rights. Green Shoots Education Services is a Non Profit Company based in Cape Town who, along with other local NGOs, implements the Zisukhanyo Schools Programme at the 19 participating primary schools.

Zisukhanyo Schools Project

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Background information on the Zisukhanyo Schools Project The diagram below shows the main components of the Project.

Staff e- literacy training

Improving learning & teaching through ICT

Computer Centre Assistant

Technical support

ICT Curriculum integration training

Feeding scheme

The Project had been implemented over three stages at the respective primary schools. Since inception in 2008, following costs have been covered for the life of the Project at each of the nineteen primary schools: o Providing the physical infrastructure and physical security features for the computer centres at the participating schools. o The IT equipment (one device per learner) to be supplied to the participating schools. o The telecommunications infrastructure, as provided by the telecommunications supplier of service (Telkom SA) o Internet and e-mail services o The insurance of the equipment in the computer centres, and additionally to bear the costs of a monitoring and surveillance service for the schools’ computer centres o The IT technical support services o Project management services o Delivery of educational ICT teacher-training programmes o The compensation for the Zisukhanyo IT Technicians (IT Learnership Programme) Zisukhanyo Schools Project

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o Nutrition programmes, agreed with the Peninsula School Feeding Association. o An evaluation study carried out on the impact of the technology

o In addition the programme has collaborated with the South African Medical Research Council and the Western Cape Education Department in the delivery, in some of the participating schools, of appropriate HIV/AIDS awareness-building programmes. These programmes have been co-funded jointly with the Medical Research Council.

Mathematics curriculum delivery and support model. The ZSP has adopted a targeted approach, focussing on the primary school Intersen phase Mathematics curriculum (Grades 4–6). The respective schools’ management needed to take the decision to prioritise that group of learners for the IT Mathematics lessons, so that they could be tracked throughout the life of the Project. Over the past five years 425 teachers have received training and in-school support on the use of ICT to complete their administrative tasks. The Mathematics educators at each of the school have been provided with intensive support in the use of ICT to enhance and compliment the delivery of the Mathematics curriculum. The ZSP facilitators

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support educators with curriculum, pedagogy and ICT training. This training is followed by a continuing professional development programme. The ZSP facilitators, in conjunction with WCED Curriculum Advisors, provide a structured programme of IT Mathematics activities that are aligned to the CAPS curriculum. Regular learner performance analysis is carried out using the data provided by the IT Mathematics activities.

Impact of the Zisukhanyo Schools Project An anonymous survey of teachers is one of the methods being used to evaluate the impact of the project on both teachers and learners. Teachers were asked: 

How has the ZSP IT Mathematics programme changed how you teach Mathematics?

How has the IT Mathematics Programme changed how you teach? Sample: 113 educators


It has increased the number of methods I use to teach Mathematical concepts


It has made teaching Mathematics more interesting for me

It has improved my subject knowledge

It has improved my confidence in teaching Mathematics

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What has been the biggest change in how YOU teach Mathematics? o “Using the IT Mathematics programme has allowed me to gain insight into the learning area across the grade as well as within my class and has been an excellent indicator as to where I should be as far as the curriculum is concerned as well as keeping the grade on 'track' with in the year. I have gained tremendous confidence in my teaching strategies and I can relay the work with greater ease.” o “Teaching Mathematics has become more interesting and enjoyable. I never loved teaching Mathematics in the past but now it has become something that I look forward to teach every day.” o I was never recognized as an individual who is good with numbers. The IT Mathematics Programme has drastically improved my methods for teaching this particular subject. It showed me different methods in tackling different concepts and made me more confident in teaching Mathematics.

Since 2008, through the three stages of the Zisukhanyo Schools Project, 7830 learners were exposed to the IT Mathematics Programme. Here are the teachers’ responses to the following questions: 

What improvements have you seen in your learners since they started IT Mathematics lessons?

What improvements have you seen in your learners since they started IT Mathematics lessons? In most learners

In about half the class

In a few learners (>10)

no change

59% Sample: 113 educators teaching 7956 learners at 15 schools


34% 24% 19%




Improvement in confidence to try new Mathematics questions/ concepts

More engaged in Mathematics

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What do you think has been the biggest impact of the IT Mathematics Programme on your learners? o “Most of them saw Mathematics as a very challenging learning area but through the IT Mathematics activities they have become more active and responsible for their own learning. They are not afraid to tackle needs concepts and just love coming to the lab and competing with their fellow classmates.” o “It has given them the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them without the overwhelming threat of red pen.” o “Their interest in Mathematics has increased. Their self-belief has improved because they have learned that success is sweet and know that they can achieve if they put their mind to it through concentration. Their general Mathematics knowledge and skills have also showed a positive upswing.”

The results from the 2012 WCED Systemic Tests for Grade 6 Mathematics tend to confirm the teachers’ conclusions on the impact of the Zisukhanyo Schools Project. 10 most improved ZSP schools : Change in Grade 6 Mathematics Systemic Assessment pass % from 2011 -2012 29.5

From a total of 19 schools involved in the Zisukhanyo Schools Project


23.7 21.5 Change in pass %


13 11

11.5 8.9



10 most improved Zisukhanyo Schools Project schools

Zisukhanyo Schools Project

WCED average change

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Teachers were asked “How they would sum up the impact of ZSP?” “I think it has been tremendously beneficial. It has allowed learners who are far more visual to be included in a sometimes incredibly intimidating learning area, and has allowed these children who often struggle to succeed. It is a huge advantage for the school to have the facilities and facilitators to help and often bridge gaps that some learners find challenging. As an educator it is refreshing to have another means of assessing Maths.” “ZSP has positively impacted the school. As a Principal, I have found that the data is very helpful. It clearly shows progress, improvement and areas of concern. The analysis has been useful for planning. Teachers were challenged by the results in the data and this forced them to reflect and prepare the learners. The learners enjoy Maths in the lab. It has also stimulated learners to improve as they monitor their Mental Maths scores.”

“ZSP has realised the potential impact of a technology on learning and teaching in a very positive and influential way. The school has benefitted from using the ZSP as a means of adding variety and diversifying the learning strategies we employ as part of our Learning & Teaching Support Material.”

Glen van Harte, Metropole South Education District Director, WCED comments on the impact of the Zisukhanyo Schools Project on this You Tube link.

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Project article  

A summary of the project to date

Project article  

A summary of the project to date