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Winning Teams lend support to Limpopo learners

21 November 2012 Mutual & Federal
Vuyo Lee: Executive for Brand, Customer and Transformation at Mutual & Federal

Vuyo Lee: Executive for Brand, Customer and Transformation at Mutual & Federal

Playing catch up in maths and science education has taken on a new meaning with the Winning Teams approach for preparing schoolchildren for Matric exams. Based on the concept of team sport, Winning Teams is a proven intervention in public secondary school

Denzil Hollis, project coordinator at Winning Teams says that the success of the Winning Teams formula lies in giving the learners ownership of their own learning through using a structured social engagement process allowing them to interact and learn from each other.

“The beauty of this methodology is that it makes learning exciting. The modern world is a very different place and technological advancements have completely transformed how we as a society interact, access and process information. So too has the modern learner evolved and you cannot expect learners of today to learn and reach their full potential using outdated and passive learning techniques,” he explains.

With massive successes having been achieved by Winning Teams nationwide,Mutual & Federal took a decision to sponsor the initiative in the 100 worst performing schools in the Capricorn district in Limpopo province.

Baseline tests conducted by Winning Teams on grade 12 learners at these schools indicate that many learners currently gain a core knowledge of only about 10% of their grade 10 and 11 prescribed maths and science syllabus. Taking into account that 50% the final Grade 12 exam is based on this foundational knowledge it is therefore unsurprising that there are such low matric pass rates in many rural schools.

“Research has proven that where important sections are skipped in a subject, whatever follows is unlikely to be understood no matter how diligent the learner is in grade 12. While teachers often shoulder the blame it is in fact an education system problem and we are in a sense setting our children up to fail,” says Hollis. “The baseline test also revealed additional strategic weaknesses in education at these schools. For instance, there is a low level of English proficiency, yet the learners have to write the exam in English.”

Hollis describes how through using the Winning Teams methodologies for the first time in their school careers the learners at these schools are fully engaged in the learning process and have a vested interest in succeeding. “Their destiny is literally in their own hands and putting in the extra time and effort could mean the difference between attaining a matric pass or not,” he says.

The Winning Team formula relies on teamwork with the learners being divided into teams based on their individual strengths and weaknesses displayed in the baseline tests, while the teacher plays a facilitating role. In recognising that the learners cannot catch up on 3 years’ worth of curriculum in one year, the initiative is run outside school hours and is made fun by running it as a game.

Vuyo Lee: Executive for Brand, Customer and Transformation at Mutual & Federal, an Old Mutual group company, explains that the initiative was selected because it delivered positive results through an entirely different method of teaching that is endorsed by teachers and the department of Education.

“We are also passionate about improving the Mathis and Science pass rates in our country, as this ultimately benefits the short-term insurance industry by increasing the skills base,” says Lee. “We recently visited one of the schools in Capricorn and were blown away not only by the overwhelming support from the school teachers and principals, but also by the eagerness and excitement with which the learners tackle the various study tasks. It is evident that these children have now been given hope and they are grasping it with both hands.”

“We are proud to be associated with this initiative, as it is making a real difference where it is most needed. It’s one game that everybody wins in,” she concludes.

The strategic CSI areas chosen by Mutual & Federal – selected for their impact on the short-term insurance industry - are education, crime prevention and youth rehabilitation, as well as agricultural socio-economic development. The short-term insurer also addresses social welfare as well as poverty relief, through staff volunteerism and donations.

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