SADTU MEDIA ALERT – UNION TAKES CODING AND ROBOTICS TO THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED AND BLIND

The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) is making inclusive learning and teaching a reality. SADTU, as part of the Teacher Union Collaboration (TUC) programme with other unions in education to complement the Department of Basic Education in training teachers on skills for a changing world, has partnered with Bona Africa to train teachers teaching visually impaired and blind learners in coding and robots.

This unplugged coding and robotics training has been extended to the visually impaired and blind  following the successful training of almost 16 000 teachers in mainstream schools in 2022. SADTU, through its Curtis Nkondo Professional Development Institute and Ubuntu Africa are training teachers from schools for the visually impaired across all nine provinces in a series of 16 workshops in the month of September with the aim of reaching 600 teachers.

Workshops have already been conducted in some special schools in the Free State, KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape provinces and these were fully embraced by visually impaired teachers as well. The teachers provided valuable lessons for the Institute as they provided insight on their needs for a successful professional development. This showed that learning is a two-way process.

Apart from reaching out to the teachers who are normally marginalised in professional development initiatives, this training will have a positive impact on the visually impaired and blind learners as it will open the world of opportunities and create a positive impact in shaping their world and future.

Explaining SADTU’s interest in shifting the coding and robotics training to capacitate teachers from schools for the visually impaired, SADTU General Secretary Mugwena Maluleke said the move was  motivated by the Union’s commitment towards the promotion of our inclusive agenda by  ensuring  the development of an education system which is fully accessible to all, is equal and is of quality.

“SADTU and the Institute, through this training, will ensure that these teachers and learners are not left behind in the teaching and learning of the skills for a changing world. We will make every effort, more especially with the strengthened curriculum, to ensure that all learners benefit from innovation,” SADTU General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke said.

Bona Africa ( a collaboration between Tangible Africa and Bona uBuntu) is providing the content for the training.  The teachers are provided with training and supporting materials  that are fully accessible to  the blind. They will use these to implement coding at school level.  For the blind learners their kit includes tokens that are tactile and available in braille. Tangible Africa has worked with SADTU since the training of teachers from mainstream schools. The organisation has also partnered with various teacher unions in South Africa to train teachers in coding.

Its founder and Head of Department and Associate Professor at the Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department, Professor Jean Greyling said that the organisation was committed to bridging the digital divide by making coding more inclusive to visually impaired youth across South Africa.

To showcase this training, SADTU and Bona Africa are inviting the media to a workshop to see the training first hand. 

This will take place as follows:

Date     : Thursday, 14 September 2023

Venue  : Birchwood Hotel, Oliver Tambo Conference Centre, Boksburg

Time    : 09: 00 – 15:00 (Special Press Briefing 11h30-12h10)

People that will be present: Teachers being trained on the day.

                                                   SADTU Vice President (Education) – Faseega Solomon

                                                   Tangible Africa founder – Jean Greyling

                                                   Bona uBuntu Coordinator – Robyn Fick

                                                  Tangible Africa trainers

                                                  Blind learner – Masibulele Naki  

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT: Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi:  082 719 5157