South African children widen their horizons through regular connections with Rosmini College
Toward the end of 2017 the Rosmini College Over the Back Fence project started forging a collaborative partnership with seventeen schools (Braemar Schools) located in the rural hinterland of the Province of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. These primary and secondary schools are all keen to embrace our connection through technology.
"Our wish is to turn around the education in South Africa by modelling good practices with the infusion of global experience" reported Smah Diamin, Circuit Manager who oversees these schools.
Diamin said that one of their schools which "is a deep rural school with no resources and was damaged by storms with no chances of being repaired any time soon... against all odds obtained 100% Pass rate in their Matriculation Results. The school is serving learners from very poor background with no exposure at all to better life." By enabling these connections the project gives the student hope and desire to explore and achieve more.
Rosmini students and teachers have met with students and teachers across most of the Braemar schools. Communication has been very difficult because of the lack of internet, but as was expressed by other Over the Back Fence project teachers from India, Bangladesh and the Cook Islands, "patience will pay off", as it has for us now enjoying the access we are starting to take for granted. Geoff tries to connect the Rosmini students, and students teachers and principals from some of the OtBF school teachers, including teachers from South Korea, into the NZ evening conversations in order to encourage thinking about what is possible, thinking globally.
During term 4, some of the South African schools joined the Our School: Our Community student newspaper trial. That project was very successful and will be provide a great platform for the students to share their written work, photographs and videos with other students around the world. The Braemar schools showed the other schools across the six countries represented in the trial that indeed life in rural South Africa is so different from our own.
Our collaborative partnership will continue to grow to create opportunities to explore the world and develop better communication and collaboration skills. Diamin said that the "partnership... also goes a long way in motivating our teachers to give off their best."