Fun'ulwazi - Be Curious
There are currently two SERI Libraries. They are currently based in two Schools...
Fun’ulwazi is a Saturday School programme for talented learners from Khayelitsha schools that
enable them to reach the academic standards required for later acceptance into the COSAT programme.
From 2012 there will be three Fun’ulwazi initiatives:
- A Maths, English, Robotics and IT programme for Grade 7s [at COSAT]
- A Maths, English, Robotics and IT programme for Grade 9s [at COSAT]
- A Maths and English programme for Grade 8s and 9s [At Sakumlandela Combined School, Site B]
Fun’ulwazi, sponsored by Murray and Roberts, is a Saturday/Vacation enrichment programme targeting high achievers in Mathematics and Science who are currently in Grades 8 and 9 at Khayelitsha secondary schools other than COSAT. In addition to developing Mathematics, Science and English language skills, the programme nurtures the learners’ interest in Science and Technology by exposing them to a variety of extracurricular topics, including computer programming through Robotics, Electronics, Geology, Marine Biology, Archaeology and Astronomy. The programmes curriculum also includes excursions to places of scientific and educational interest. In essence, the Fun’ulwazi programme prepares learners for acceptance into COSAT in Grade 10. The idea is that the COSAT staff do not have to spend as much time on remedial work during the Grade 10 year. Instead, they can forge ahead with the Grade 10 curriculum. [SERIs appreciation of the generosity of the Golden Arrow Foundation must be mentioned at this point. Golden Arrow provides the transport to and from COSAT for the Fun’ulwazi learners.]
SERI, in 2008, expanded its Fun’ulwazi operation to include Saturday classes in English and Maths at two Khayelitsha junior secondary schools, Sakumlandela in Site B and Sivile in Site C, for 50 of each schools most talented Grade 8s and 9s. These interventions also included assistance in the setting-up of viable libraries in both schools. Unfortunately, SERI had to withdraw its support of Sivile at the beginning of 2011, because the school was becoming increasingly dysfunctional and was no longer able to fulfil its role in the partnership with SERI. On the other hand, SERIs partnership with Sakumlandela Combined School remains strong.
From 2012, SERI will initiate a Fun’ulwazi Saturday School programme at COSAT for Grade 7s. This will take place in Terms 2 and 3. COSAT, in 2011, took the first step towards becoming a secondary school by admitting two classes of grade 8s, and in 2012, this number will increase to four. Because the education in local primary schools is generally of an extremely low standard, it is necessary to introduce a preparatory programme for potential COSAT learners. This will have the additional function of providing a meaningful method of selection. It is critical that COSAT gives places to only those learners with mathematical ability because all learners at COSAT are required to take Mathematics as a matric subject. Maths Literacy is not an option.
Robotics Vacation School
This programme takes place on three days during the September school holidays and is
a continuation of the Robotics Saturday School Course. Learners design, build and programme their NXT Lego sets
with the purpose of carrying out a number of set challenges. At the end of this week,
two teams of four are selected to participate in the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Robotics Competition.
For several years, the two Fun’ulwazi teams have performed with distinction at this competition. The SERI library at COSAT is full of intriguing yellow trophies [made from Lego] that are testaments to their success!
The Saturday School
At the end of each year, talented Grade 7s are nominated by their primary schools to participate
in Fun’ulwazi. Fifty learners are selected to join the programme based on their academic performance
in Mathematics, Science and English, as well as on their leadership potential.
One hundred learners (50 Grade 8s and 50 Grade 9s) from 19 Khayelitsha secondary schools attend Fun’ulwazi every
Saturday during term time for two years. Fun’ulwazi classes are held at
COSAT where all the necessary facilities, such as science laboratories, computer rooms and classrooms,
are available. Learners are provided with transport to and from COSAT, as well as a light lunch.
All lessons are an hour long, except for Robotics, which is two hours long. Assessment is carried out for each subject area and includes both normative assessment (during learning activities) and summative assessment (class tests). Learners are also required to submit their school mid-year and end-of-year reports. All Fu’nulwazi teachers are dedicated learning-area specialists.
Fun’ulwazi Maths: Lessons focus on developing Mathematics thinking skills. This is achieved by using in-house resources, developed for SERI by Dr Pete van Jaarsveld.
Fun’ulwazi English: English lessons develop basic grammar, sentence structure and comprehension skills. This is achieved through the study of text and through oral drill and written exercises.
Fun’ulwazi Basic Computing: This introductory course covers the following: The Windows operating system, word processing (Microsoft Word) and spreadsheets (Microsoft Excel.)
Fun’ulwazi Science: Science at Fun’ulwazi emphasises hands-on, practical activities. Topics covered include: electronics, magnetism, the introductory Chemistry, gases, astronomy, density and pressure.
Fun’ulwazi Robotics: During Robotics classes, learners discover how to design, build and programme NXT Lego. They use these skills to carry out simple set tasks. SERI and COSAT place a great deal of emphasis on Robotics for younger learners, as it has been found to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. It also encourages learners to see a process through to its completion, and that there should be no half-measures. If your programme contains a mistake, you will not be able to perform the task, a very useful lesson in avoiding mediocrity.
The Weekend Leadership Camp
This is held for Grade 9s at the Disa Kloof facility in Betty’s Bay, a site ideally located, as both the beach and mountain are within easy walking distance. As well as participating in exercises promoting leadership and self-affirmation, learners can experience both the fynbos and the wonders of the Cape coastline. The Grade 9s learn to identify the four main components of fynbos: erica, proteaceae, restios and irises, and they begin to appreciate their personal role in preserving this endangered environment. The learners also participate in a beach walk, where they are introduced to life in the rock pools and to the threats impacting on the sustainability of ocean life.