Ethiopian education via SA TV

first_imgFaced with the daunting task of reaching millions of students scattered in a mostly rural nation twice the size of France, the Ethiopian government turned to two South African companies for help.The education of rural Ethiopian children has been greatly improved by the introduction of television-based teaching. (Image: The Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University Flickr)Brand South Africa ReporterFaced with the daunting task of reaching millions of students scattered in a mostly rural nation twice the size of France, the Ethiopian government turned to two South African companies for help.The assignment for Kagiso Educational TV and Sasani? Create extensive television-based curriculums to be taped in Johannesburg, and cobble together a distance-learning network linking 450 schools in the country, no matter how remote, in one of the least developed countries in the world.Part one of the assignment included producing the educational television programmes, for grades nine to 12. A second part included creating supporting material for both teachers and students to accompany all programmes, known as the Ethiopian Satellite Education Project.The initiative was supported by a US$80-million (R640-million) World Bank loan.The scope of what was required was enormous – and the fate of the educational future of third-largest country in Africa stood in the balance.  When the project began in 2004 Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education was requesting 2 978 individual programmes to be produced in 12 months.In response, Kagiso and Sesani created what they called “a television factory” in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, naming it “Memar TV” or “to learn,” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s main language.“It was a huge project and quite a feat to accomplish,” said Eileen Sandrock, managing director of Memar TV.The weekly requirements included 70 half-our programmes of educational television programming, accompanied by teacher and student guides. It required 60 researchers, scriptwriters and subject experts, and 80 full-time technical staff.  The programmes included graphics, studio presentations and visuals taped in both South Africa and Ethiopia.The project was aimed at alleviating the lack of enough skilled teachers, inadequate infrastructure and overcrowded classrooms in Ethiopia’s educational system.In the end, 450 schools were equipped with 8 000 plasma screens.The developers grappled with issues such as the possible marginalisation of teachers, the lack of understanding of English in a nation where teaching is in a local language until high school, and the passive nature of learning from a television screen.In the end, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education decided the advantages outweighed the minuses.English journalist Andrew Heavens recalls visiting the southern regions of Ethiopia in 2005 and coming upon a school“As we walked up to one of the outdoor classrooms, we heard the voice of a math teacher going into great detail about the angles of a parallelogram,” Heavens wrote.  “When we went in, we found the 60 or so students were all taking their lesson from a professor speaking through a state-of-the-art Samsung plasma video screen that would be way beyond the budget of many schools in the UK. The lesson was being beamed in from Addis via a huge satellite dish outside through a rack of Digital Video Broadcasting receivers.”The head teacher at the school told Heavens that there had been start-up problems that were later sorted.“Students had found it hard to keep up with the English used by the Addis-based teachers. But they soon got used to it and grades had improved by up to 45% over the period,” Heavens was told by the teacher.According to the Ethiopian Government, the new education system is “an important element of sweeping educational reform in Ethiopia, which has seen the construction of more schools in the past decade, a revision of curriculums incorporating more practical and relevant education, and improvements in teacher training.”Because of the new system, “greater numbers of teachers now receive additional English language training, and earn a higher wage in order to make the profession more attractive,” the country’s Ministry of Education says. “As a result, there has been a leap in child enrolments, from 3- to 9-million, and greater numbers of females attending classes in urban centres than ever before.”Rick Grantham, who created the educational programme for Memar as its managing director, wrote an assessment of the venture before departing to launch a new company.“The Ethiopian example has shown the benefit of developing solutions to meet base line requirements first, instead of concentrating on ICT/ multimedia solutions that cannot be sustained,” he said. “It is hoped that – as skills develop – Ethiopia’s video solution will be complemented by on-line computer interactivity, especially since the satellite link now in place can also be used for computers and on-line networks. As such, the Ethiopian experience should be seen as the first step in a more integrated education development plan.”Grantham believes that although distance learning cannot replace teachers, that “it does offer an ideal opportunity to access large numbers of learners, in different locations, at different times, with customised training solutions, quickly and cost-effectively.”The developers of the programme hope that similar projects would able to fill the gaping hole of educational needs in many other African countries.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

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South Africa’s World Cup legacy lives on: Jordaan

first_img12 June 2014 It has been four years since South Africa opened its doors to the world for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Now, Brazil is preparing to do the same – amid fierce criticism from some, both in Brazil and abroad, of both Fifa and the tournament it manages. Danny Jordaan, the man who headed up South Africa’s 2010 organising committee, and now president of the South African Football Association, speaks to Fifa.com about the legacy left by South Africa 2010 and why he thinks Brazil will benefit as hosts of football’s biggest event. Fifa.com: How does it feel being four years removed from South Africa 2010? Danny Jordaan: People say there are a few great moments in our history: the day Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, the day on which all of us went to vote for the first time in our country and the day of the opening ceremony, with the wonderful concert before the opening match. These are special moments and for us we will cherish them. Nelson Mandela came on the night of the final. It was a bitterly cold night, but he insisted to come because he wanted to embrace the best of human spirit and be part of debunking the myth that Africa would never have the capacity to deliver such a complex, complicated event like the World Cup. Fifa.com: There were questions about what was going to happen in South Africa after the World Cup. Can you tell us what legacy you have seen the World Cup leave in South Africa? Danny Jordaan: Legacy is determined during the bid stage. What is it that must be left behind as a benefit for your country after the event? Remember, the event lasts just 30 days and you cannot construct a long-term plan and determine its success or failure by what happens over those 30 days. We were clear about what we wanted to achieve. Our country had a struggle to change the perception of South Africa and the African continent in general. People refer to the concept of Afro-pessimism. To show the world that Africa has potential and capability and that it is not a hopeless continent as it was made out to be, we wanted to change the notion of an Afro-pessimist’s view of Africa. Africa is now a place for business, trade and investment. And this is what we want. But you have to break through the negative perceptions first. Perceptions, if they are unchallenged, become reality. And if you want the businesses of the world to consider coming to your country, then you have the responsibility to place your country’s name in the forefront of the minds of those who invest. And that’s what we wanted to do with the 2010 World Cup. Fifa.com: Would you agree that an investment in the World Cup is intended to be a long-term one cannot only be judged over the duration of the tournament itself? Danny Jordaan: For example, in preparation of the World Cup we built new airports in our country and invested in the Johannesburg OR Tambo International airport. As a consequence of our airport expansion programmes, we can have more aircraft landing. Before you can have more tourists in your country, you must first have an airport that can accommodate more aircraft landing. When we invested in airport expansion, it was not for 30 days of the World Cup. That would be a total misrepresentation. It’s part of tourism growth in our country. And we have see tremendous growth as a result. Ninety-five percent of World Cup tourists said, “We will come back to the country”. Ninety-eight percent of them said, “We will recommend to our friends, our family and others that they should come and visit South Africa”. You cannot buy those results with all of the money in the world – and we tried. We spent R400-million over a 10-year period on marketing. It didn’t work. The real-life experience of those who came to the World Cup and saw the country’s infrastructure and engaged with the South Africans is how you convince people to come to your country. Fifa.com: The media have claimed Fifa earned US$3-billion on South Africa 2010, while the host country has been left in $3-billion of debt. What is the reality of that claim? Danny Jordaan: There is no reality in that claim. It is simply false. We did not build any infrastructure for the World Cup based on loans. So, we have no outstanding loans as a consequence of the World Cup. South Africa and every other country incurred loans after 2008 and as a result of the global economic crisis, but it is not a result of the World Cup. As for Fifa’s profits, even if Fifa hosts the World Cup on the moon, the majority of that money comes from the television broadcast rights. And the companies who pay that have no presence in our country. So, it is a total misrepresentation. The revenues did not leave our country as it never entered our country. Ticketing is the other big source of revenue, which, in any case, is revenue that goes to the organising committee. Fifa.com: There have been criticisms about the stadiums that were built for South Africa 2010 and are now not being used. How would you respond to that? Danny Jordaan: We had 10 stadiums. Four were existing stadiums; we built five and upgraded one. Of those new stadiums, two of them have now received teams with Premier League status, in Nelspruit and Polokwane. It is important to have weekly use of the stadium to make sure it is commercially viable and those stadiums have those anchor-tenants, so I think they will be able to generate the revenue. The good thing is these are debt-free stadiums. As I have indicated before, we did not secure loans to build these stadiums. It was built with money provided through the budget process. And those who say that we have taken loans to build infrastructure must show us where. Fifa.com: You are aware there are some worries from the people of Brazil on the eve of the start of the World Cup. Do you understand their worries about the money spent for the World Cup? Danny Jordaan: I certainly understand that, particularly in developing countries. However, you cannot build a society that is focused only on building schools and houses. There must be recreation. You cannot build a society that has no possibility to create for the young generation in your country the opportunity to be whatever they want to be. And some of these kids dream to be the next Ronaldo, Pele or Neymar. And you must have the infrastructure and the stadiums in this case, so that they can live out this dream. But I think the balance always is that you must never use the money and redirect it from important social issues of health, housing and education. That is the responsibility of the government, to make sure that that balance is there. While we are concerned about addressing the social challenges, we must not use the platform that the World Cup creates for false arguments. Source: South African Football Associationlast_img read more

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Churn Is the Enemy

first_imgIn order for your company to grow the top line you have to win new accounts, sell more to your existing accounts, or raise your prices (a combination of the three is a really powerful recipe for growth).You also have to outrun your churn. You have to increase revenue faster than you are losing it. New revenue that is won at a slower pace than your churn means that your revenue declines. New revenue that comes in at the same pace you churn accounts means you are running to stand still.It’s not enough to win new accounts. It’s not enough to sell more to your existing clients. Raising prices can help grow your revenue and your profitability. But if you don’t retain the clients you’ve already acquired, then you are going to struggle to grow your business.There is no reason to go to all the trouble to win new accounts only to treat them with the same apathy and neglect that causes the churn.Churn is the enemy. Churn means that you can’t even start making progress towards your goals until you make up the clients that you’ve lost, regardless of the reason. There is no reason to start from behind the starting line.last_img read more

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