2000 Visit
>> Back To Moshoeshoe Primary School

In 2000, for the second consecutive year, SAWW placed two teacher mentor volunteers, Jasminie Singh and Jennifer Walcott, with Moshoeshoe Junior Primary School.  Here follows their report.

Jennifer Walcott (Canada), Denise Pillay (South Africa), and  Jasminie Singh (Canada) during the Mentoring Program in South Africa 

The children reading on a warm Winter's day.

2000. Moshoeshoe is located in Daveyton, a township outside of Benoni; about thirty minutes drive from Johannesburg in Gauteng Province. 

Moshoeshoe is forty-five years old and enjoys a sound reputation as a school with discipline and good teaching. The school has some 1322 pupils enrolled from Grades One to Seven and about 32 teachers (including volunteers).  The school is an English medium school and the students are expected to receive instruction in English for all subjects except Sesotho. 

There are four blocks of classrooms that are all airy.   The students on a daily basis clean the grounds and rooms, which impacts on their learning time in the classroom.  There is evidence of some disrepair in broken windows and malfunctioning lights. 

Although it is winter there is no heating in the classrooms other than space heaters so that learners are sometimes uncomfortable. 

The pupils live in the surrounding township and many are from homes where parents are currently unemployed.  The students are required to pay minimum fees for supplies on a yearly basis.  The fees are difficult to collect because of high unemployment.  The national figure for unemployment is nearly 40%.

When we arrived on July 19, a new principal had just been appointed.  The previous principal, Mrs. Windy Gabashane, left the school in January to take up a post with the District Office of the Gauteng Department of Education. 

The new principal, Mrs. Denise Pillay, began on July 17.  An acting principal had held the position between January and July. We found that the school was prepared for our visit.

Mrs. Pillay and Mrs. Gabashane introduced us to the staff and school.  Mrs. Gabashane and her husband hosted us during our three- week stay.

After visiting classes and speaking with teachers during the first three days, we determined that the best use of our skills would be to focus on language and literacy. 

Jasminie would be working with Foundation Years (Grades One to Three), while Jennifer would work primarily with Grades Six and Seven English language teachers. 
General Observations and Follow up to Moshoeshoe Mentoring.
Teachers at Moshoeshoe work under difficult conditions even though the school is relatively well resourced.  Classes are large and teachers teach a full timetable with little time for planning and sharing during the instructional school day, especially at the primary level.  The teaching takes place in English, but the practice is to transfer between English and first language quite frequently which makes English language acquisition quite slow.  Methods for balancing reading, writing, speaking and listening need to be enhanced; as well, teachers need help with planning for remedial and extension activities. Our picture (right) shows Grade 2 students reading on a warm winter day. 

Thank you to the Canadian organizers from SAWW, as well as, our hosts, staff, teachers, students and their families in South Africa.  You have welcomed us into your country, school, homes and hearts.  We feel we are part of your South African family.

Jasminie Singh and
Jennifer Walcott