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In 2011, the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) introduced the “Gauteng Primary Literacy and Numeracy Strategy” (GPLMS). This successful intervention informed the design of the PILO’s Jika iMfundo campaign. In 2015, the GDE indicated that it wished to ‘mainstream’ the approach of the GPLMS into the work of the district officials supporting schools (subject advisers in particular).
PILO designed and implemented a change leadership programme within the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), aimed at improving curriculum management in Primary Schools from 2016 to 2021. The overall objectives of the programme were:
During the intervention, the participants and the officials indicated a desire for the unique identity of the programme to be captured in a name. After consultation, it was felt that Kha ri Ambe best captured the essence of the programme – ‘professional and supportive conversation about learning, based on evidence’.
The support given to the GDE by PILO has been extremely cost-efficient because the strong administrative and professional capability of the GDE meant that after initial extensive discussions about ‘curriculum coverage’ and learning, and the supportive and collaborative role of both subject advisers and circuit managers in curriculum management in schools, PILO’s contribution has primarily been in facilitating workshop design. The training of the school management teams was provided by GDE officials, with PILO monitoring and facilitating reflection.
HANLIE VAN ROOYEN, Kha Ri Ambe Coordinator
Between 2013 and 2014, the programme focused on improving learner performance in Mathematics, in English as First Additional Language (FAL), which is the language of teaching and learning after the Foundation phase, and in Setswana and Afrikaans as Home Languages in the Foundation phase.
After the initial success of the programme and between 2015 and 2016, the PILO intervention in JTG was focused on Teacher Development and School Management Team (School Management Teams) Development.
The Free State Programme was initially project funded by Kagiso Shanduka Trust (KST) with the aim of building institutional routines of teacher support in schools, and between schools and districts. This built on the KST ‘District Whole School Development Model’ (DWSDM).
The DWSD model aimed at transforming public school education based on a district-by-district approach across South Africa. The implementation of the programme commenced in 2014, in two Free State districts: Motheo and Fezile Dabi (www.kst.org.za/our-model/). As KST prepared to phase out this successful intervention, the Free State Department of Education requested that KST to assist with improving curriculum management across all schools in the two districts. PILO was requested to work with KST in this system change, and building on the DWSDM specifically the leadership and curriculum work in schools and the development of master teachers
The programme to improve learning outcomes was implemented in Motheo and Fezile Dabi between 2017 and 2021. During the programme PILO developed, together with the districts, a system wide change programme to provide district officials and school management teams with the required tools and training to enable professional, supportive, and productive collaboration on curriculum coverage based on evidence.
PILO and KST worked collaboratively to ensure that the instructional leadership work built on the foundations that had been laid by KST in classrooms and schools.
Between 2019 and 2020, Old Mutual provided additional funding to support the Curriculum Leadership Improvement Programme (CLIP) in Free State Primary schools by improving curriculum leadership and management in schools. Support was provided to School Management Teams, and Department Heads to become strong instructional leaders in their schools. The programme aimed to improve Department Heads’ support to teachers in their tasks of planning teaching to better cover the curriculum.
MS MOFOKENG, Principal
Bekezela Primary School, Sasolburg
PILO worked with the KwaZulu Natal Department and key stakeholders (Unions) in 2013 and 2014 to design an intervention which would respond the challenges experienced by teachers, school management teams, and department officials and provide a system wide change programme that would provide district officials, teachers and school management teams with the tools and training needed to have professional and supportive collaboration on evidence-based curriculum coverage so that problems are identified and solved, and learning outcomes improve across the system. SADTU worked with PILO so that design was informed by focus-group research and trialling of the approach in regional workshops.
Because this initiative is collaboratively owned and driven, with an understanding of how change often fails (Kotter), the initiative was driven as a campaign, Jika iMfundo, with its own logo and all activities and materials with unique and distinct branding.
Jika iMfundo is the campaign that allowed PILO to ‘test at scale’ its theory of change. The programme in KwaZulu Natal has moved through the following phases:
Jika iMfundo operates from Grade 1 to Grade 12, building routines and patterns of support within schools (between the teachers and the School Management Teams) among the schools and between schools and the district that will have a long-term and cumulative impact on learning outcomes. Key elements of the programme included:
Jika iMfundo works ‘within the system’ locating responsibility where it should reside. One of the distinguishing features of Jika iMfundo is its work across the different levels of the system (school, district, and province), to enable and support improvements in the instructional (teaching and learning) core of schooling. The work of change at the different levels of the system are coordinated and forms part of a coherent approach to systemic change aimed at improving curriculum coverage in schools.
Jika iMfundo is intended to be implemented at scale within the institutional and financial resources of the public education system. For this reason, all our targets in KwaZulu Natal are informed by the KZN DBE approach and view of the support necessary to bring about improved leadership and management of curriculum.
The independent evaluation results set out the following highlights in terms of outcomes:
KWAZI MSHENGU, KZN Education MEC
SADTU conference November 2019
In 2020 PILO was contracted by UNICEF to co-develop, with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), a framework for improving the implementation of the National Curriculum. The overall goal of the assignment is to produce a complete framework with monitoring tools to guide the monitoring of curriculum implementation for the basic education sector (all grades, all phases, all subjects).
Curriculum leadership and management sits at the heart of PILO’s education change model. The UNICEF/DBE programme is critical because the Framework for Curriculum Implementation (FCI) has the key strategic advantage that the DBE will be a key driver in the embedding of these practices. In this project, there is a national requirement to implement the change.
For the FCI to be successful, provinces need support. PILO’s model for improved curriculum coverage, tested in four provinces, is a model for systemic change at scale.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
PILO has set its success principles based on a deep understanding of what it will take to make sure that learners do better in South African schools. We will know that the FCI implementation framework is succeeding when:
This is a three-year partnership with the DBE (R60 million funded by the EU) to bring about systemic improvement of Literacy and Numeracy in the Foundation Phase.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) believes that the PILO model for curriculum improvement is solid and proven to build the capacity of the system to improve literacy and numeracy in the Foundation Phase. The DBE requested PILO to be its strategic partner in this programme based on PILO’s work in the District Improvement Programme of the NECT in KwaZulu Natal from 2014 where it has implemented a similar strategy in all primary schools.
The programme is being piloted in the districts of Ehlanzeni and Nkangala in the Mpumalanga province. The PILO model will be implemented through the provincial DBE in two districts and 588 schools. Several third-party service providers will be contracted by the DBE to implement the model. As the strategic implementation partner, PILO is working with the Mpumalanga province, districts, and the service providers to ensure that the model is implemented as intended so that impact will be adequately measurable.
The Zenex Foundation is the strategic monitoring and evaluation partner. PILO’s role as strategic implementation partner is to support the DBE to implement PILO’s proven change management methodology and to make available training materials, approaches, procedures, and programme management.