School's staff get to further education

A WOODRIDGE College part-time teacher is affording the school's cleaning, gardening and maintenance staff – some of whom never got through primary school – a chance at an education through weekly adult basic education and training (ABET) classes offered at the school for free.

With the programme in its eighth week this year, the adult pupils are showing improvement in basic reading and writing, and will be entered into the Independent Examinations Board's (IEB) ABET exams – which tests pupils' basic understanding and knowledge – upon completion of each educational level.

The adult pupils, who could not finish their schooling for financial and other reasons, said the programme made them feel recognised and appreciated by Woodridge management.

The programme is headed by teacher Marianne Crane. It started two months ago and accommodates 15 men and women who form part of the school's non-teaching staff.

Crane said she started the classes after realising the dire need for adult education, as many staff were unable to complete their schooling when they were younger.

"The programme is important on a number of levels. It offers the staff a second chance at education and this is an opportunity to obtain nationally recognised qualifications as adults," Crane said.

With classes running every Wednesday for two hours, each student is placed on one of four levels, in line with the National Qualifications Framework. They start with level one and work their way up. Their final work is assessed by a facilitator each week.

"The programme is computer based, with students working on individual computers, using headphones. It is called Media Works and is used throughout South Africa in a wide variety of places of work," she said. "The students are doing well so far and we have had lots of positive feedback. They are motivated to come to class each week and seem to really enjoy it."

Facilitators and trained teachers Christina Maartens and Terry Olivier work with Crane on the programme.

"What these students have in common is their desire to learn and it is humbling and inspirational for us to see their eagerness," Crane said. "We absolutely love what we do. There is such a positive vibe in the lab each Wednesday and we hope to grow the project and reach the wider community in the future." - Chanice Koopman