Summary of the Project
The Khanya Project is an initiative of the Western Cape Education Department. It was established in April 2001 to determine the contribution that technology could make towards addressing the increasing shortage of educator capacity in schools. With many skilled educators leaving the profession, fewer ones entering it, and AIDS already starting to take a significant toll amongst educators, it was necessary to explore alternatives. One of these alternatives is to use technology, already being used extensively in other disciplines, as an aid to augment teaching capacity.
In the Khanya Business Plan, approved by the Cabinet of the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, the business drivers of the project were given as follows:
1 Shortage of teaching capacity:
Both the continuous decrease in the number of adequately qualified educators (particularly in the learning areas of Mathematics and Science) and the reduction in the number of entrants to the education profession, require the WCED to harness technology in order to support and strengthen a system which is at risk. A need therefore exists, not to replace teachers with technology, but rather to assist them to increase their capacity through the use of technology.
2 Need for co-ordination of efforts:
The business sector is well aware of the problems in education and realises that unless they make a significant contribution, there will not be an adequately qualified workforce in the future. The business sector, as well as various NGOs, national and international donors and other stakeholders, is keen to make a contribution. In the past, these efforts were unco-ordinated and in most cases resulted in wasted investments. There is a clear indication from these bodies that they will only be willing to continue contributing if all efforts are co-ordinated properly. In order not to lose out on these significant financial contributions, it is important that the WCED assumes this responsibility to create a structure within which such co-ordination can take place.
3 Bridging the Digital Divide:
In some schools parents have contributed liberally to creating an environment in which technology is being integrated into the curriculum delivery process. However, in most schools parents cannot afford this. The result is that the digital gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' is forever widening. A concerted effort is needed to reverse this situation.
4 Preparing the Western Cape for the Knowledge Economy of the 21st Century:
In view of the vision of the province to become a 'leading learning region which successfully equips its people and businesses to acquire and apply knowledge effectively in a rapidly changing world' (White Paper: Preparing the Western Cape for the Knowledge Economy of the 21st Century, May 2001) it is important to use all available means, including technology, to achieve this goal.
2 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
In the Business Plan, the very ambitious goal of the project was described as:
By the start of the 2012 academic year, every educator in every school of the Western Cape will be empowered to use appropriate and available technology to deliver curriculum to each and every learner in the Western Cape.
This vast task should be seen in the context of:
- Only a few of the 1 570 public schools in the province had any computer technology available for use by the learners (typically those few schools serving affluent communities)
- Very few of the 27 000 educators were computer literate, and hardly any of them had ever used technology in the classroom
- Very few of the nearly one million learners had ever had the opportunity to see or touch a computer
It should be noted that the emphasis of the Khanya project is not on providing computer technology for the sake of making learners computer literate, but rather to use technology as a teaching aid, hence to improve curriculum delivery.
The following secondary objectives were set for the project:
- Increase educator capacity and effectiveness by means of technology
- Harness the power of technology to deliver curriculum
- Providing an opportunity for learners to benefit from a variety of learning styles
- Integrate appropriate and available technology into the curriculum delivery process as different technologies mature
- Use technology to assist all disabled learners to maximise learning
- Improve Senior Certificate and FETS results, as well as learner outcomes in all grades, in terms of number of passes and quality of results
- Increase the number of learners taking Mathematics and Science on the higher grade and coping successfully
- Increase the number of learners qualified and competent to enter tertiary education institutions after obtaining their Senior Certificates and FETS
- Improve numeracy and literacy in lower grades in order to build a stronger foundation for future matriculants
- Prepare all learners for the Information Age
- Narrow the digital divide
- Create a technology rich province
- Provide all educators and learners in the province with an e-mail address
3 ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE
In terms of tangible deliveries, Khanya has achieved the following to date (these figures are as at 3 August 2011 and are changing on a daily basis; for latest figures see Khanya website at www.khanya.co.za :
- 1 339 schools have been provided with technology facilities, typically computer laboratories, consisting of between 25 and 40 computers each (LAN networked and internet linked)
- A further 133 schools are in the process of infrastructure preparation for installation within the year
- A total of 46 088 PCs have been deployed in these schools
- 28 035 educators have received basic IT training and are receiving ongoing training through the Khanya process of using facilitators
- 905 464 learners are benefiting from using the technology on a daily basis
Khanya has been recognized for its innovative approach as follows:
- May 2004: Finalist in the prestigious Stockholm Challenge Award programme in the Education Sector (the only finalist from Africa in this sector)
- August 2004: Winner of the Standard Bank CPSSI Public Sector Innovation Awards, for innovation, in the Innovative Service Delivery Institutions category (2004)
- February 2005: Second runner-up, Project Master 2004, Electronic Government, Public Sector
- July 2005: Programme Manager of Khanya, Kobus van Wyk, recognized as ICT Personality of the Year (Western Cape)
- October 2005: Programme Manager of Khanya, Kobus van Wyk, honored by receiving the national ICT Social Responsibility Award from the Computer Society of South Africa, Gartner Group, IT Web and Gordon Institute
- Octover 2005: The Premier of the Western Cape gives a Silver Award to the Khanya Project in recognition of service excellence
- November 2005: Recognised by TT100 and the National Department of Science and Technology as one of the top 100 IT related organizations in the country and Finalist in the category Leader in Social Innovation
- October 2006: Finalist in two categories of Africa Achievers Awards
- November 2006: Winner of TT100 award in category "Leader in Empowerment"
- November 2006: The Premier of the Western Cape gives a Silver Award to the Khanya Project in recognition of service excellence (for the second year in a row)
- February 2007: Impumelelo Gold Award winner
- 2007: The Premier of the Western Cape gives a Bronze Award to the Khanya Project in recognition of service excellence
- November 2007: Winner CPSI Public Sector Innovation Awards
- November 2007: Finalist in African ICT Achievers' Awards
- 2007: Qualifier for TT100 Award
- 2008: Qualifier for TT100 Award
Over and above these tangible results, Khanya has also achieved the following:
- It has proved that the Western Cape Education Department is able to roll out technology to schools on a large scale for curriculum delivery purposes
- A methodology has been developed to assist schools in the developing world to move through the stages of infrastructure preparation, technology installation, training and support, maintenance and sustaining the facility. This methodology is fully documented and details can be obtained from the Khanya website
- Mathematics and literacy rates of learners participating in the programme have been improved
- Khanya has developed a unique model for sustainability which is based on the principle of partnerships, particularly with community and micro organizations, which is fully in harmony with the NEPAD principles (this is, perhaps, the greatest achievement of the project to date)
Core funding for the project is provided by the Provincial Government of the Western Cape and the following amounts were provided (in South African Rand):
2001/2002 Financial year: R 17 000 000
2002/2003 Financial year: R 29 000 000
2003/2004 Financial year: R 33 000 000
2004/2005 Financial year: R 35 000 000
2005/2006 Financial year: R 68 000 000
2006/2007 Financial year: R 77 000 000
2007/2008 Financial year: R 82 000 000
2008/2009 Financial year: R 93 000 000
2009/2010 Financial year: R 96 000 000
Total: R 530 000 000
Furthermore, donor funders have been approached and to date, upwards of
R20 000 000 has been donated by corporate and smaller donors in support of the project. As the project is proving successful and meeting and succeeding its objectives, more and more donors are willing to support the project and it is envisioned that in future, private donor funding will exceed public state funding.
A unique system has also been developed whereby local communities contribute to the establishment of technology facilities in schools, on the premise that education is a shared responsibility by the state, local community and parents. At present approximately 20% of all costs are carried by the community. In turn, the facilities are made available to communities to enhance adult learning and, in particular, computer literacy.
In addition to using new equipment, Khanya also deploys good, second-hand equipment, provided by corporate partners.
5 PROJECT EVALUATION
The Khanya Project took the bold step of issuing a tender for external evaluation. This was done for two reasons: firstly, to get an objective view of the successes and/or failures of the project and to ensure that international best practice is followed; secondly, to lend credibility to the project. This tender was awarded to a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Cape Town (UCT), who issues quarterly reports on the project. This evaluation has proved to be very useful in that it has pointed out many areas of improvement for the project.
6 PROJECT METHODOLOGY
The methodology developed by the Khanya team is based on international best practice (project management methodologies such as PRINCE and PMBOK were used as a basis and adapted to local needs). In brief, Khanya is a programme of projects, where the engagement with a specific school is viewed as a unique project (based on the premise that one size does not fit all, since schools are such diverse communities and have various levels of current resources). The project is divided into 2 phases:
Phase 1: Establishing the facility
During this phase a room is selected (in some cases it has to be constructed), security features are added, adequate electricity supplies are provided, sturdy floors and furnishings are installed and adequate ventilation is catered for. After this hardware and suitable educational software are installed and an internet connection is provided. During this phase the community is involved and trained to take care of sustainability aspects of the project in the future.
Phase 2: Establishing an e-school
During this phase educators are trained in the use of IT, as well as how to use IT for educational purposes. Throughout, the emphasis is not on using technology for the sake of technology, but rather to use it as an educational tool.
7 ASPECTS TO BE NOTED
The following aspects regarding the innovative role of Khanya should be noted:
1 Technological modernization
The use of computer technology in schools is indeed a move towards modernization of schools. In many schools serving remote and poor communities, the introduction of Khanya facilities removes, with one foul swoop, the divide between an ancient way of teaching and a most modern one where technology is employed optimally.
2 Greater effectiveness
Using technology makes the educator far more effective, particularly in cases where educators have to care for huge class groups of 70 or more learners. In cases where educators are under-qualified for the task, carefully selected educational software assists in making the teaching experience more effective.
3 Greater relevance
The use of technology and, in particular, resources on the internet make the teaching experience far more relevant. The internet suddenly opens the whole world to learners who, in some instances, have never travelled outside the confines of their villages. The use of these resources works very well with the new outcomes based educational paradigm in South Africa.
4 Greater quality of service
Since the focus of the Khanya project is on curriculum delivery, which is the major service rendered by an education department, it improves service delivery. Teaching and learning are improved in the classroom. It was exactly for this innovative use of technology that the Khanya Project won the Standard Bank CPSI award in the category Innovative Service Delivery Institutions.
5 Transformative changes within a large framework
The Khanya Project operates in the large framework of the province of the Western Cape, but what is achieved locally can be used as a model for the rest of the country, indeed, for the entire developing world. The transformative role of the project should also be noted: the huge divide between rich and poor is taken away in that the provision of technology to the poorest of poor schools brings their educational potential on a par with the more affluent ones. The scope of the project is large enough to demonstrate the possibility of transformational change in a large framework.
6 Renewal of government service delivery procedures
The rather old-fashioned method of 'talk and chalk' teaching is redressed by using technology as a medium to improve teaching. Learners are exposed to the best learning material available; material that they may have been deprived of in the past. Where the government may have failed in the past to deliver quality education to all, technology acts as an equalizing agent.
7 Wider access to services
Learners certainly have wider access to learning resources. In addition, as the computer facilities provided by Khanya are also available to the community, community members have wider access to information and other services that are currently available on-line. In the most basic use of the facilities, many adults are now taught, amongst other things, how to use a word-processor, develop their own CVs, and how to look for jobs online.
8 Enables service delivery to a wider population
Special efforts are made to involve previously disadvantaged groups, particularly women, and more specifically, rural women. These groups are included in programmes of literacy which further empower them.
9 Empowerment of communities
This aspect has been alluded to above. The Khanya Project addresses the empowerment of communities in different ways. In a very direct way, communities are involved in literacy, as well as ICT literacy programmes. Perhaps the most powerful way in which the project has assisted communities is in the way that they are involved, right from the outset, in the development of technology facilities. This empowers them to take ownership of the project and it ensures sustainability. This is a major departure from the previous beggar-bowl syndrome which is the scourge of the developing world.
10 Better interaction with the public
The emphasis of Khanya is on education, but the public, in the sense of parents, community members and other stakeholders, are encouraged to be involved. This leads to a far better interaction between educators, schools and other parties.
11 The streamlining of processes
The use of technology in schools streamlines processes in a number of ways:
- Educators are more efficient in performing mundane tasks such as the maintenance of mark sheets and exam results
- Assessment of tasks can be done electronically, hence freeing up educators to concentrate on actual teaching rather than having to spend hours and days on the marking of scripts
- Curriculum delivery is enhanced by the use of technology
- Resources such as lesson plans and learning material can be prepared by experienced educators and used by less experienced ones
12 Promotes professionalism
The use of technology in schools certainly promotes and enhances the professionalism of educators. Basic products such as Powerpoint presentations can be used as a regular feature in the classroom, hence improving the quality of presentation. Furthermore, the quality of teaching is improved dramatically by the use of computer technology.
13 Continuous support
One of the unique features of the Khanya project is that the school is not left to its own devices once the computer facility has been established and the educators trained. Rather, Khanya has a dedicated team of facilitators who visit the school on a regular (weekly) basis until such time as all the educators are completely comfortable and empowered to use the technology optimally. It is as a result of this continuous support that Khanya has succeeded where many similar projects have failed.
14 Widespread acceptance
Khanya is widely recognized as a successful project that has an enormous impact on the educators and learners of those schools where the project has an involvement. Other provinces in the country are regularly consulting with the project, and information about the project methodology is liberally shared with whomever may find it useful. The project team is also committed to assist any other educational agency in the entire developing world to adapt the Khanya methodology to their particular circumstances.