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The Learning Channel 
An Innovative Approach to Educating South Africa

Fikile Nkambulo

Driven by a passion to provide top quality curriculum based education to teachers and students across the country, The Learning Channel has for the past 3 years contributed substantially towards the educational growth and development of thousands of educators and learners around the country. Hemmed by a highly skilled team of creative technology experts and educators around the country, The Learning Channels' services are utilised free of charge by users all around the country. With it's vision to support a growing learning community by providing a multi-media, holistic education solution to South Africa, the organisation has put together and maintained various educational products and services, implementing an educational multi-media campaign that reaches thousands of parents, teachers and students across the country.

Support by the Liberty Foundation has helped create high - quality, curriculum specific educational content. Fully aware of pressures prevalent in everyday school life, the organisations simple yet effective multi-media campaign has created support structures utilising print, Internet, television and seminars. In consultation with the Department of Education, these methods ensure modern teaching methods and educational content that is always relevant to the current curriculum, using a qualified highly skilled team of creatives and the best of local educators.    

The first phase of the multi-media project brought highly respected educator William Smith to our television screens. The Liberty Learning Channel on SABC 3 established the first ever live curriculum focused television program - free to licensed TV owners. The program - also broadcast on TV Africa reaching seven other African countries - covers all subjects from Grades 8 to 12 including live phone-in broadcasts into classrooms across South Africa. That was just the beginning.

A number of free educational support sites were created, some currently being developed, and maintained by the learning Channel following specific guidelines. These include: Launched three months ago this site offers curriculum specific content and activities for learners in a range of high school subjects. The content is delivered in English and Afrikaans with the site averaging 56 000 monthly users, and its totally free! - This site will provide much needed support for teachers.
It will offer amongst other things OBE guidelines, teacher support    material access, lesson plans, automated test generators and marking memoranda. -This site,houses the bursary management system. Currently in its final testing stages the system gives students access to a database of bursaries available    from different companies. Companies will have access to a database of candidates to award their bursaries to.

In recognition of their cutting - edge pioneering achievements the organisation received a Silver Loerie in the Loerie Awards 2001 for in the Interactive Media Category. "This is quite an achievement for us considering that the site was launched four months ago", said Zanele Mtetwa, Marketing Manager for the Learning Channel. "It encourages our talented team to further develop sites providing an even wider range of educational support".

A sad reality is that not all educators and learners have access to computers and other equipment. Realising this, The Learning Channel formed an association with various print media houses to distribute weekly educational print supplements around the country. So far the supplements reach more than 10 000 students around the country, mainly in developing areas.

Another proud effort was the Grade 8 Multi-Media project developed in conjunction with the Department of Education. The Channel supplied 1000 under-resourced schools across the country with educational resources designed to support curriculum development in Grade 8. This involved the design and packaging of 600 000, 120 page full colour learner textbooks and 6000 teacher and learner video support material. The organisation has received a positive response from various schools with a growing demand from educators.  

Educator and learner seminars are held regularly around the country. These assist mainly matric students and educators in the fields of Maths and Science. Attendants can learn innovative revision methods, which also help make the learners aware of how prepared they actually are. One of these seminars is on from May 12 to August 26 2001 at the Wits Campus in Johannesburg. For details log onto on this and other seminars.

The Learning Channels commitment to effective but affordable education includes an ambition to reach every child in South Africa including the rest of the African continent. Companies are welcome to contribute to South Africa's future with strategic ventures that would contribute extensively towards building a strong learning and teaching community not only in South Africa but also to the rest of the continent.

 by Fikile Nkambule for The Learning Channel
Tel: 011 880 2567  Fax: 011 880 6771 E-mail:

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