J.P. Morgan targets improved learning standards in SA

U.S.-owned financial services firm J.P. Morgan is looking to improve standards of education in South Africa through a new philanthropic programme that focuses on building teacher effectiveness and strengthening classroom and school management.

The School Capacity and Innovation Program (SCIP), a $7.5 million public private partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the ELMA Foundation, a private foundation, and J.P. Morgan, will be formally launched in the coming weeks.

HumanIPO last week touched on South Africa’s education system, and observers welcomed J.P. Morgan’s move.

The company will partner with the South African government on an initiative to address educational problems using a computerised system to track student performance and creation of digital content.

The first three years of the programme’s five-year implementation phase will see it aim to reach approximately 2 million students (nearly 20 percent of the country’s entire student population) and nearly 70,000 teachers (approximately one-third of the teaching corps) across South Africa.

The South African government has identified improving the quality of education as a national priority through its national reform strategy, Delivery Agreement and the Action Plan to 2014: “Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025”, which outlines specific actions to build teacher effectiveness and strengthen classroom and school management.

Working alongside the national government, the SCIP has been developed in partnership with the South African Department of Basic Education.

The programme will also initially work with three South African organisations including the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa’s national social science council, and two local non-profit organisations: siyaJabula siyaKhula and the Mindset Network.

All the involved organisations jointly help develop a computerised assessment system to track student performance, create digital content for teacher development and help with hands-on literacy training for small groups of students.

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