Good Work Foundation (GWF) uplifts rural communities through access to world-class education. Its digital learning centers are made up of academies that deliver basic literacy and career training to school-aged and adult students. Open Learning Academies focus on English literacy, math literacy, digital literacy, and life skills for school-aged students. Career-Training Academies provide vocational skills courses and digital literacy tuition to adult students. In all areas, and collaborating with strategic partners, GWF focuses on delivering digital curricula, state-of-the-art facilities, and quality tuition.
About 90% of the current adult students are recent school-leavers who use the existing 12-month course as a “second-chance” bridging year. Included in that year is: (1) the International Computer Driving License certificate, an internationally recognized end-user Microsoft Office Suite accreditation; (2) an Adult Basic Education and Training-aligned “English for Business” post-high school program developed in association with Anne van Zyl (former St. Stithians and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls headmistress); and (3) a leadership and life-skills program developed by GWF and supported by partners such as LifeCo UnLtd, Nedbank, and independent teachers, entrepreneurs, and volunteers. Once a foundation of English and digital literacy has been set, students are in the position to take advantage of the Career Academies that operate at a digital learning center (specific to the local economy where the digital learning center is located). Examples include the Hospitality Academy’s online, multimedia, and internationally recognized Lobster Ink program, which equips students with a thorough introduction to food and beverage management. The program also offers more specialized modules in wine, coffee, and front-of-house management. Students are also able to study further in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Academy. Along with an advanced Microsoft Office program, the academy offers A+ certification (computer technician) and N+ certification (network technologies, installation, and configuration).
For school-aged students, an Open Learning Academy has been established, allowing local primary schools to “outsource” their digital literacy (with a focus on math and English apps). These students have access to tablet computers, to fully licensed education-based applications, and — under the guidance of digital learning facilitators — for the first time, to technology that is focused on improving the “languages of access”: English and digital. The digital learning centers are positioned as educational and informational hubs that community members, learners, and teachers can draw on to empower and educate themselves using the latest technology. At the end of the year, young people should be more “employable,” but they should also be in a position to sit at a computer in any rural space and enroll in an online diploma or degree. For schoolchildren, the approach is to get them excited about learning, dramatically improve their math and English literacy using the latest education apps, and expand the horizons of rural students by giving them “access to the world.”GWF supplements the existing education model with a solution that allows adults&schoolchildren to learn the “languages of access”–English & digital.Getting children excited about learning; improving their English&Maths Literacy using latest education apps
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CEI approaches in actionDeliveryChains or Networks of schools/centersEnvironmentMath/numeracyEnglish language21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsArt & Music
Model details2003LiteracyInformation and Communications Technology (ICT)OtherLife OrientationEnvironmentMath/numeracyEnglish language21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsArt & MusicActiveLong-term projectMusteqFeature ITICDLCompTIAPearson Education Ltd.Microsoft
BeneficiariesOrphans and vulnerable childrenOtherRural school-leavers and rural primary school students
Students using the digital learning centers during school time do not pay for use of the facilities. Digital learning centers are located in rural areas. GWF works with orphan and vulnerable children projects, offering the digital learning centers to these children at no cost.
TechnologyComputerTablet or e-readerEnrichment or remediation resourcesLearning materials for studentsMusteqFeature ITICDLCompTIAMicrosoft
Scale44 digital learning centers
Adults: 20September, 2014
The program began in the rural Free State Town of Philippolis, initially offering computer training over six months. This offering extended to include compulsory English and life skills over the course of a year. Environmental studies were added. In 2011, the Madlala Digital Learning Centre launched as a pilot project. GWF and Madlala High School partnered with Africa Foundation to build a digital learning center of excellence. In 2012, T-Systems and GWF opened the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre. In October of the same year, this site saw the launch of the Open Learning Academy, offering classes after normal school hours and providing learners with access to excellence in technology, creativity, thinking, morality, and learning. Soon after, Open Learning was time-tabled into public-sector primary school schedules during school hours (children from satellite schools attend the "hub" once per week for digital learning). In May 2013, GWF began digital literacy education at preschools, starting at Londolozi. In May 2014, the doors to a brand new digital campus in the town of Philippolis opened. The new campus forms part of a broader vision to bring GWF's existing digital learning centers up to the level that has been established at Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, before exporting this innovative model to other rural areas in South Africa and beyond.
GWF has been approached by the Eastern Cape and Western Cape Education Departments to explore expansion to these two provinces, and another hub is planned for Mpumalanga. By the end of 2015, the additions to the Hazyview campus will be complete. GWF possesses a scalable and replicable model and would be open to looking at implementing partnerships to grow the number of digital learning centers in the country.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
Sustainability is assessed on the following:
1. Development and retention of strategic partnerships with South African corporations who benefit from an investment in education.
2. Growth over five years of the percentage of students who are paying full
3. Growth of relationships with suppliers of existing strategic partners, with a campus being able to deliver strategic development and training
Impact is monitored on the following criteria:
1. Number of adult students (per year) graduating with their ICDL and English certificates
2. Number of adult students who go on to specialize their studies in the ICT or Hospitality academies
3. Number of public-sector schoolchildren receiving one-on-one (i.e. one tablet:one student) digital, English, and math literacy at the campus per week
4. Metrics showing year-on-year academic performance comparisons of public-sector schoolchildren attending the campus
5. Number of teachers from rural public-sector primary school enrolled at the ICT Academy
Aligning to the government's development strategy:
While the "digital divide" is a worldwide problem, Good Work Foundation supports the South African government's 2030 vision — in particular, its commitment to "enhance the innovative capacity of the nation" by building a base of science, technology, innovation, and skilled human resources. Certainly, the campus academies look to grow skills and align them to employment opportunities within an area. However, the model for a campus also recognizes that rural talent is being lost because — at a basic level — school-leavers are not proficient in English and digital literacy, the languages of access.Standardized assessment performanceAbility to reach the poorGraduation or promotion ratesStudent attendanceYes