My life began in a small village in the province of the
Eastern Cape in South Africa. The village is called Mvezo. I
have many fond memories of Mvezo, Qunu and other places
I lived in as a youth. Among these memories is the good
education that I had.
We should not underestimate the power of education in
creating a just world. Too many children of Africa are
denied schooling. When they do attend school, it is often at
schools that do not stimulate them and bring out their full
potential. Too many children in Mvezo and many far off
rural areas in our country do not become confident readers
and writers; indeed, they are denied the creativity that in
turn denies the world the boldness of their ideas. ”
FOUNDING STATEMENT OF THE NELSON MANDELA INSTITUTE, 2006
All children in South Africa learn to read and write with meaning and work confidently with numbers by the end of primary schooling.
To develop tools, knowledge and practices to create quality primary schooling, working in long term partnerships with rural schools and communities.
To challenge current patterns of research and development – patterns that too often stand at a distance from the realities of rural and poor communities.
To contribute to quality public education across Africa, deeply rooted in the experience of Mandela’s home province, the Eastern Cape.
2. AREAS OF WORK
The organisation focuses on the following five areas of work:
- TEACHER DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT: To develop and support teachers serving rural children and their communities. This includes initial teacher education and in-service teacher education. This includes coursework (formal and informal) and classroom-based instructional support.
- CURRICULUM DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT: To design, develop and field test teaching and learning resources to improve teaching and learning in rural and poor classrooms.
- COMMUNITY MOBILISATION: To work with communities, parents and children to improve the educational success of children, both inside and outside of the classroom.
- APPLIED RESEARCH: To build effective teaching tools and contribute to knowledge and theory through applied research, with an emphasis on research embedded in classrooms and communities.
- DIALOGUE, POLICY ADVICE AND ADVOCACY: To inform public and policy debates in education toward the realisation of quality education for all children.
WHAT WE DO
1. FOCUS AREAS
The organisation currently has three focus areas:
- EARLY GRADE BILINGUAL LITERACY: Working to ensure that all children learn to read and write with meaning in the primary phase of learning.
- EARLY GRADE BILINGUAL MATHEMATICS: Working to ensure that all children learn to work fluently with numbers in the primary phase of learning.
- COMMUNITY LITERACY: Working to build a strong literacy culture within schools and communities, and empowering parents to support their children’s educational success.
3. NICHE AREA
One of the fundamental “problems behind the problem” facing primary schooling in African language settings is the lack of focus on the language resources of children and teachers.
For a range of historical reasons, there has been limited educational work focused on language resources within African language settings. As such, there has been too little understanding of building early learning and literacy through an African language, while at the same time building English language skills.
Over the past ten years, the NMI has systematically developed expertise and experience at the interface of African language resources, early learning and literacy, with an emphasis on literacy and mathematics in African language dominant settings.