We were interested in understanding more about the education centres that exist where teachers can access resources to help them with lesson planning and materials for use in lessons.
There was to be an event at the Ekuphileni Primary School ( which is a little outside Durban) to officially launch their library. The Senior Manager for Library Services and Education Centres was going to be there so this was a great opportunity to meet with her and see another school in action.
We arrived and parked up on what is usually the school netball court.
I did find myself wondering how much time they spend retrieving the ball from down the hillside when the court is actually in use.
The school was better equipped and maintained than some others that we have seen but is built on a fairly steep hill which gives a lot of topographical challenges.
Round the back of one of the classrooms they had a large pile of car tyres that had been donated to them …
….which were being used around the site to build retaining walls, such as here where they are building a play area behind the new reception classroom…
… they are also used for decoration at the edges of their flower beds whose plants are donated by local nurseries. They don't help however to do anything for the problem of rain damage on a steeply sloping path.
In our meeting we learnt more about the 60 education centres that there are across the KwaZulu Natal province and how they can help to support teachers as well as individual learners and provide services to the broader community.
From the school we headed back into Durban to visit the KwaNdengezi Education Centre
As you can possibly tell from the photo this centre is based on a converted house. It was initially set up through collaboration between the local community and the Pinetown branch of the Rotary Club. We met the centre manager who gave us an overview of the impressive range of services that they provide from such a small site. They help to support the 9 schools in the local township providing access to books and a few computers ( though they lack any internet connectivity). Non fiction books are in a small library in the main building and fiction can be found in a "wendy house" in the grounds. As well as the centre staff they have a range of volunteers from the community who come in and assist.
They also have 3 converted shipping containers in the grounds which provide classroom space
To put it mildly they are not an optimal shape for teaching and I suspect liable to get rather hot but a good example of improvising and making good with what resources that can obtain.
It is very humbling to look round places such as this and hear them talk about the great things they are doing to support learning, working with what they have. I don't think we heard a single complaint about lack of facilities or resources during our visit just a clear vision of what they were doing and plans for how this could be built on in the future.