UNESCO-supported training on information literacy for rural teachers from South Africa
The Departments of Informatics and Information Science of the University of Pretoria have organized training on information literacy at Kgoro primary school, located in Zithobeni township, South Africa. Funded by UNESCO, the training aims to provide teachers with basic skills in ICT and information literacy.
The training, which started last month, is taking place over eight Saturdays and will end up with the certification ceremony planned for 13 August. It is certified by the Continuing Education Trust at the University of Pretoria.
The Zithobeni community is disadvantaged in terms of social and economic life. Most people stay in informal settlements and are unemployed, which makes it difficult for parents to pay school fees and to help their children with school matters. Kgoro school has an enrolment of 1215 pupils, 27 teachers and eight administrative staff.
Apart from empowering teachers from the Zithobeni community, the training will also test some models of UNESCO's Draft Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Curriculum in order to subsequently adapt it for the needs of rural communities. The teachers from Zithobeni will be the first community in South Africa to work with UNESCO's MIL Curriculum, which is not yet available to a large public.
The training will, first of all, enable teachers to make an effective use of the Internet, to easily find and deal with information related to their teaching subjects. A particular focus will be made on the ethical aspects of the Internet. The trainees will learn how to use the full potential of information available on the Internet for non-teaching tasks, such as supporting children affected by HIV and AIDS - an increasingly important duty for South African teachers. Many other ways, in which the Internet can be explored to deal with personal information problems, will also be covered by the training.
"We hope that this training initiative will be the start of an ongoing partnership between the University of Pretoria and the community of Zithobeni, where information and communication technologies could be more and more used for sustainable development," says Kirstin Krauss, a PhD student from the Department of Informatics, who has piloted the previous UNESCO-funded ICT training project in deep rural Kwa Zulu Natal.