The Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport visits Ukhanyo

Earlier this week Anroux Marais, the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, visited Ukhanyo Primary School  at the invitation of Vince van der Bijl the project leader of the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club. and the school principal, Michael Thayali.

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The Minister first attended the Traditional Dance group practice session. Milli Firth, Masicorp MD, then took the Minister to the specialist English Lab sponsored by Masicorp and discussed the NGO’s academic support programme of the school.

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The Minister was entertained by a netball practice and then a PE class conducted by Nceba Jonas. The cricket net practice was in full swing with over 50 cricketers – both boys and girls. Girls cricket has been recently introduced at the school for the first time and there was an array of coaches for the minisiter to meet – headed by sport coordinator Teddy Nyali.

The Minister concluded her visit with a meeting at the Masicorp offices to discuss the possible ways the Western Cape Government can assist the school and the project with its sport and cultural affairs agenda.

The Launch of the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club

It was quite a day on Tuesday as Ukhanyo Primary school opened its doors to its neighbours, local NGOs and international guests as the MCC Masi 750 Sports Club was formally launched. The launch event saw the official opening of three state of the art astro-turf cricket nets, funded by a generous donation of 50,000 pounds from the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in London. The facility forms part of Masicorp’s ongoing commitment to improve the sports facilities at the school, following the installation of the all-weather sprint track at the school last year.

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Masicorp is lucky to have Cape Town born, former Natal and Middlesex bowler Vince van der Bijl to lead the project. The project has received international attention thanks to Vince’s tireless efforts in recent months. Speaking on the day on behalf of the MCC, CEO Derek Brewer mentioned that at a committee meeting in Mumbai last year Vince managed to bring cricket in Masiphumelele onto the agenda of a meeting to discuss the future of test cricket. Derek is seen here accepting a gift on behalf of Ukhanyo School, and we cannot thank him enough for making himself available by flying into Cape Town for just two days to be part of this event.

 

The launch event was extremely well attended and despite the inclement weather there was no danger that rain would stop play for the excited learners. The first place most visitors wanted to see was the nets themselves, which were being used for the first time since their construction. We must also thank our courageous photographers for bringing us these action pictures by bravely positioning their expensive camera lenses directly in the line of fire. Clearly there are already some big-hitting youngsters benefitting from the new facility.

 

For a full overview of the learners in action you can view the footage shown by SABC news HERE.

MCC 750 launch 4The school also opened up its learning labs to the many visitors, with computing, English, science and maths classes all part of the open day. The full range of extramural activities were on display ranging from a game of netball to the school choir that welcomed delegates to their seats. The guests seemed to particularly enjoy the young praise singer who welcomed school principal Michael Thyali as he stood to thank the visitors and the MCC for their kind award. Derek Brewer was impressed enough to note that Michael’s colourful jacket even outshone the traditional MCC Lords jackets.

 

IMG_6608The school’s violinists closed the event, but for the project itself there is still a long way to go. Vince’s aim is to attract 750 members to the club who will donate R100-200 on a monthly basis to ensure the sustainability of the project, and the expansion to provide further equipment and facilities at the school. The long-term plan is to appoint a full-time sports administrator at the school and assistant coaches for the remarkable Nceba Jonas, who is currently the sole PE instructor delivering lessons to over 1,800 learners. With help from Fish Hoek cricket club the coaching of a girl’s team has begun and we hope that the school will soon be able to participate in inter school league competitions.

Please consider helping the project by joining the MCC Masi 750 Sports club. Donations can be made via the secure credit card facility on the Masicorp website.

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Photo credits: Stephen Cruickshank and Louise de Waal

A Book Donation at the English Hub

We recently reported on the makeover at the English Hub in Ukhanyo Primary School.

The English Hub has now received an fantastic donation from Neil van Blerk of Time Out Creations. He and his team dropped off eleven boxes of brand new, plastic covered children’s books.

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This means that from next term the Hub will be able to start a library system where learners can borrow books and take them home to read. Here is Ukhanyo Primary school principal, Michael Tyhali, and Grade 3 learners enjoying the new reading materials.

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Thank you to Neil and his family for their incredibly generous gift. These books will be much loved and much used!

The English Hub at Ukhanyo Primary School

jcRegular readers of our blog will be aware of our English Lab Programme, which ran for five successful years at Ukhanyo Primary School. The programme was led by Jan O’Connor, with the help of many volunteers and school staff. We were desperately sad to say goodbye to Jan as she moved on to a new project in Jeffreys Bay just before Christmas, but that did not mean the end of our work in the English Lab.

The project is a teacher-centred, skills-transfer programme, which focused on the teaching staff at the school and how they can most effectively teach the learners English as a First Additional Language. We continue to provide the hub with activities for teachers and students to engage with. This now takes place in a warm, light, and spacious setting, thanks to a substantial refurbishment. We thank Neil and his skilful team at Time Out Creations who have done a wonderful job revamping the space and we are also very happy with our brand new curtains from A.C.G. Manufacturers. In addition the lab also has a new flooring and AV system.

ksWe also have a new team in place to continue the work that Jan and her team began. We now welcome Katherine Smith and her classroom assistant Dolly. Katherine and Dolly have started the year by focusing on developing relationships with the Grade 3 teachers and supporting them in teaching English. They are also developing learning materials and resources to use in the new English Hub, along with turning the space into a fun and engaging, print-rich language centre.

Initially, mornings are focused on providing support for the Grade 3 teachers who have consistently demonstrated enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. In time, the Hub will offer support to the teachers of other grades as well as supporting the long running MasiFunde reading project. This programme currently focuses on supporting 140 Grade 4 learners. Jane Futter and her team of volunteers work with small groups of struggling readers to improve their reading skills and thereby building their confidence.

In addition, in the second term the Hub will be open on specified days from the end of the school day until 16:00 for learners to participate in reading activities, art, music etc. This “After school” programme, will be facilitated by Dolly and will initially be open to eager Grade 5s and interested teachers.

At the time of writing we are just waiting for the new furniture to arrive, but as you can see this has not stopped the eager learners from getting involved. Much of the teaching equipment seen here has been provided thanks to our ongoing relationship with Cape Town based tour operator Absolut Tours through the Pack With A Purpose programme. In addition we also received a generous donation from UK sponsors for books and teaching materials in memory of a wife and mother.

Our thanks to everyone who has helped us to continue providing this support to Ukhanyo School – from our teaching volunteers to the tradesmen who have renovated the facility and of course the many generous donors that have made this project possible.

Ukhanyo School takes the Jaguar Primary School Challenge

Last week two teams of learners from Ukhanyo Primary School were invited to participate in the Jaguar Primary School Challenge. The teams joined learners from 30 other local schools at the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory for the race day. Masicorp was pleased to be able to assist by providing transport and outfits for the competing teams.

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Competing learners are organised into teams of four pupils to design a race car out of 160g/m² card, complete with wheels, body and even a mini driver. The aim is to design and manufacture a body shell to fit a standard chassis using template software before printing/cutting their designs onto card and then making their car ready to race.

Each team consisted of a team manager, manufacturing engineer, design engineer and graphic designer, who was responsible for the team’s identity and vehicle colour scheme. This was the area that Ukhanyo School excelled in, with a 10 out of 10 score awarded by the judges. The team logo’s designed by the learners are shown below.

pic1The teams were able to participate in the race day events, which included a series of races using the final version of the vehicles on a compressed air powered race track at the science centre. It was a hugely successful day out for the Ukhnayo learners who developed their team work skills as well as being introduced to digital manufacturing and computer aided design.

Well done to the Ukhnayo learners and their teachers for arranging participation in this exciting event.

2016 – A Great Year at the Maths Lab

project1The Maths lab at Ukhanyo School continues to produce extremely encouraging results. Following on from the practices developed last year, each day starts with a “morning dance”, and then learners work for 10 minutes on revision sheets that cover concepts taught over the course of the entire year, thus giving the children daily reminders of Maths skills.

The biggest challenge was to convince teachers to swap lengthy lectures for student drills, games, and practice activities. Hence, we established a weekly faculty meeting to discuss how students learn best and what activities produce the desired results.

Over the year, we watched the teachers adopt the new ideas about  Maths instruction – especially when they saw the effects that these “new strategies” had on the learners, the improvement of classroom management, (students no longer bored) and the impressive test scores – just look at this improvement:

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Masicorp will be showcasing the Maths Lab at the Horses for Causes race day at Kenilworth Racecourse on Feb 11th. Entry is free so why not co e along for some racing and support ourselves and the other NGO’s participating on the day. Further details are available here:

Free Computer Training at Masiphumelele Library

At the end of last year we reported on the success of the graduates of the advanced computer literacy class held at Masiphumelele library. This is a programme that we were able to offer thanks to an overseas donation from a personal donor in the United States. We are pleased to report that funds have been received to continue the programme in 2017.

Over 7500 people-hours of tuition were given in 2016. Basic classes, are taught by Nyameko Nzuzo 3 mornings each week and cater mainly for young adults from the community. Classes last for 2.5 hours, one person per computer. Nyameko has been operating a unique ‘open class’ approach, working with students at all levels on creative projects which cover all commonly used skills and techniques of Microsoft Office Applications. The main focus is on Word Processing and effective use of the Internet.

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Advanced classes take place two afternoons per week, and are run by Nyasha Sithole. This “certificated “course which is more formalised and challenging has gained a good reputation in the community as attendance has increased by almost 10%.

Students from both classes report better work opportunities after training with staff at the library. Many are now employed and utilising the skills they gained on the programme.

Children‘s classes are offered by Nyameko Nzuzo twice a week, and he has trained a group of youngsters in basic computer skills. The most dedicated students also received certificates at the graduation.

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Free internet access, with support is also available and over 11 385 free Internet sessions (45 minutes) were received in 2016

When the computers are not being used for training, the library operates a free ‘internet cafe’ style facility where community members may use the computers to produce CV’s, access to information about employment and training opportunities, use email, work on their studies and generally participate in the digital age. There are trained staff permanently present to assist community members to make the most of their internet sessions.

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