The festival offered a range of fun-filled learning activities in which participants were able to explore and engage in spelling bees, reading, robotics, planting, board games and interact with an insect display for their development.
Festival organisers and UKZN lecturers Dr Angela James and Dr Blanche Ndlovu responded to the call by the Department of Basic Education for learners to engage in Sciences and Technology education with learning done in a fun way. James and Ndlovu believe it is important for UKZN to work with local schools on a programme where learners can learn and grow in a different and fun way.
‘The Festival is important for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to push the drive on the Adopt-A-School programme where teachers and learners will share knowledge in a safe learning space,’ said James. ‘This drive is for learners to understand spaces like HEIs that are accessible for everyone. We have a responsibility for the community engagement endeavour of the University to be met and become mutually beneficial for all. The theme takes into account the issues of literacy development amongst learners.’
The Adopt-A-School programme also aims to develop a framework through which private partners can assist the Department of Basic Education with informal assistance in teaching and learning with the involvement of other stakeholders.
‘We aim to enhance the learning experiences of learners in a different space, like a university, to engage with them on appropriate information and skills enhancement and to encourage them to attend universities in the future,’ said Ndlovu. ‘We hope to increase the number of schools we can work with while educating on Literacies, Science and Technology. We will be responding to a variety of calls such as reading, mathematics teaching and technology, but also making our university spaces visible to communities.’
Grade 2 teacher at Marianridge Primary School in Pinetown, Miss Kaylene Fared found the festival to be informative and educational for her learners. ‘This Festival gave me the necessary skills to make my learning activities more accessible and fun for my learners. It encourages teachers to think out of the box when it comes to teaching.’
Grade 3 teacher at Phoenix Heights Primary School Mrs Raksha Ramnath saw the festival as a source of inspiration for teachers. ‘Reading is really important at foundation phase as it broadens learners’ abilities to write and builds their vocabulary. It’s great to know that UKZN is taking education seriously, especially in the context of teacher and learner development.’
The Festival was in partnership with and sponsored by the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME); KZN Department of Education; eThekwini Municipality; the Science and Technology Education Centre at UKZN; the School of Social Sciences, Umkhumbane Schools Project; 2020Vision; the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, and the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
UKZN education students and festival coordinators Ms Phakamile Mazibuko and Mr Sandile Mnyandu were commended for their interaction with the learners on the day.