Exciting news: last term we opened a new Nobalisa site consisting of four schools!!! This was enabled through the Social Employment Fund (SEF), a recently launched government employment scheme. We have partnered with Nal’ibali, another South African education organisation, and employed 65 new SEF staff across our Zithulele and Amajingqi sites. We view SEF as our primary vehicle for the future growth of the Nobalisa programme and are excited by what we’ve seen so far. The growth has energised our staff and has created opportunities for aspiring leaders to take their first steps as Nobalisa Mentors and School Team Leaders.
Most exciting has been the surprisingly fast uptake of the programme by the new SEF staff. With only two weeks of initial training and only a month in the classroom, our SEF Nobalisa are implementing the Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) programme 'with fidelity'...as the following quotes underline:
“The Coffee Bay Road Nobalisa has been implementing effective TARL lessons. This has been all due to the training and coaching they get from their leaders. The flexibility that we have installed into the team has helped them so much, to kindly receive the feedback they get from us the leaders and make the better use of it, that is why now they are confident and can lead group sessions independently” - Abenathi, SEF Team Leader.
“What the SEF project, together with what the Nobalisa programme is doing for schools is beyond measurable impact because the four schools we currently work with continue to validate how much our literacy intervention is a need in such schools. The TaRL approach caters for each child’s learning development and that is what our teachers love the most because they see the results during “normal lesson times” and when we are not there. Learners are now motivated to learn and are not shy about whether they are doing it right or not.” - Babalwa, Growth and Logistics Manager.
“The onboarding, content training and pedagogical training with our new staff is demonstrably effective in a remarkably short space of time: after 6 weeks in the classroom, I have seen pedagogical techniques such as turn and talk, strong voice etc… being implemented accurately. In my observations, I also saw that the lesson plans are carefully internalised and the activities and resources were used correctly. The Nobalisa leaders and coaches are providing excellent training and coaching to their new staff members allowing them to get up to speed quickly.” - Joanna, Head of Education.
We officially “launched” the SEF Nobalisa program in our partner schools during the month of October, with the purpose of ensuring schools, parents, and learners connect with Axium's goal and work as a collective in helping rural children succeed. The benefit of establishing an official launch is that we want our schools, learners and parents to serve as advocates through collaboration.
One of the highlights of these launch events was giving parents and School Governing Body members an opportunity to observe their children during a live TaRL lesson. This gave parents a platform to engage more with Axium staff and the content delivered in the classroom and share any feedback they had.
While it is still early days, we are tremendously excited by these indications that the programme is being effectively implemented and are looking forward to reviewing assessment data over the next 18 months that will give us evidence that might support further scale.