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Isome Interview Report 1

Country Case Study: South Africa


Interview Report
Rashauna Isome
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Introduction

The incorporation of technology can be a pivotal move in education. Schools across the

globe are including more and more technology into their curriculum, Technology incorporation,

motivates learners to develop their own skills and to construct their own solutions in order to

solve everyday problems, (Nokwali 2015). The purpose of this report was to correspond with

South African educators, specialists, and professionals to investigate how technology is

integrated into curriculums.

Interview Questions

1. Please provide details about professional development.

Do educators get professional development choices?

Is professional development scheduled weekly, monthly, quarterly, or as needed?

Is professional development led by educators or administrators?

What portion of the budget is allotted for professional development?

Is professional development planned by educators or administrators?

2. Please provide details about technology integration?

What kind of technologies are currently being used?

How are new technologies chosen?

Is there an integration timetable?

How does professional development align with technology integration?


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I chose these interview questions to gain a glimpse into what role professional development

plays in the incorporation of new technologies.

Strategy Used

In an effort to conduct an interview, I utilized e-mail, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The Cape

Town Ministry of Education website has several contacts and I emailed several. I also

participate in an educational Twitter chat, #satchat, on Saturday morning, so I reached out to an

educator from South Africa and also sent direct messages to @Teach SA. While I was awaiting

responses, I discovered from a fellow student that LinkedIn was a viable source to interact with

professionals from other countries. I sent several requests and received one acceptance, to which

I forwarded my interview questions. All those leads proved to be dead ends. While reading a

sample assignment from a previous class, I discovered that the student also had chosen South

Africa. I came across the name Nic Spaull and after visiting his website, I found that he has

compiled dozens of interviews from some of South Africas leading education academics,

policy makers, and activists. These Q&A session is the basis of my interview report.

Interview Sources

Dr. Nic Spaull

He is currently a Thomas J Alexander Fellow at the OECD and part of RESEP, Research on

Socio-Economic Policy, who recently released a synthesis report entitled A Society Divided:

How Unequal Education Quality Limits Social Mobility in South Africa He maintains a blog

where he shares his thoughts and reflections on relevant topics and is a highly recommended

voice on education in South Africa by the Centre for Education Innovation. He recently
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completed a series of interviews with some of South Africas leading education academics,

policy-makers, and activists.

Andrew Einhorn

He founded Numeric in October 2011 when he set up his first Khan Academy pilot program in

Makhaza, Khayelitsha.

I chose the 2015 Q&A with Andrew Einhorn, founder of Numeric, www.numeric.org. In his

interview, he discusses bringing Khan Academy to South African students.

Interview questions asked by Dr. Spaull

1. Why did you decide to go into education and how did you get where you are?

2. What does your average week look like?

3. While Im sure youve read many books and articles in your career, if you had to pick

two or three that have been especially influential for you which two or three would they

be and why?

4. Who do you think are the current two or three most influential/eminent thinkers in your

field and why?

5. What do you think is the most under-researched area in South African education?

6. What is the best advice youve been given?

7. If you ended up sitting next to the Minister of Education on a plane and she asked you

what you think are the three biggest challenges facing South African education today,

what would you say?


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8. If you werent in education what do you think you would be doing?

9. You founded the organization Numeric in 2011 can you give us some background

information on the organization and discuss its aims, plans and approach?

10. Three years after founding Numeric I imagine you are in a different space now than you

were then, what are the lessons that you have learnt and what advice would you give to

yourself 3 years ago?

11. What is the most frustrating and most rewarding thing about your job?

12. What would you say are the three major difficulties faced by civil-society organizations

in South Africa?

13. What would you most like to see change in the South African education system?

Findings and Reflection

There are several takeaways from Mr. Einhorns interview, but none more pervasive, in

my opinion, than the idea that teachers need to be trained. Training teachers was mentioned four

times during his interview. In fact, as a response to the question, What do you think is the most

under-researched area in South African education, his response was ...it does surprise me that

there isnt a bigger lobby to up the ante in the teacher training space. (2015).

I was surprised that he did not mention that they needed more educators to the country, but

instead asserted that they just need more training to be effective. When Mr. Einhorn first brought

Khan Academy to South Africa, he ...hope (d) that technology could be used to educate children

in the absence of a (competent) teacher. (2015). He realized that teachers are critical to the

success of the children. Students need trained coaches. When asked, If you ended up sitting

next to the Minister of Education on a plane and she asked you what you think are the three
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biggest challenges facing South African education today, what would you say? His response

was:

Teacher Training

Teacher Training

Teacher Training. (2015)

The revelation that teacher training is a pertinent issue in South Africa resonated with me

because in my own backyard, the issue of professional development is just as important.

Countries that are vastly different have a commonality in education.


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References

Nokwali, M.P. & Mammen, K. J., & Maphosa, C. (2015) . How is Technology Education

Implemented in South African Schools? Views from Technology Education Learners. Int

J Edu Sci, 8(3), Retrieved from http://www.krepublishers.com/02-Journals/IJES/IJES-08-

0-000-15-Web/IJES-08-3-000-15-Abst-PDF/IJES-8-3-563-15-466-Mammen-K-J/IJES-8-

3-563-15-466-Mammen-K-J-Tx[14].pdf

Spaull, N. (2014). Nic Spaull Website. Retrieved from http://nicspaull.com/

https://nicspaull.com/2015/01/31/qa-with-andrew-einhorn-numeric/