FS’s Internet Broadcast Project wins 4th international award

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SELLWANE KHAKHAU

The Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) has brought yet another international award to the University of the Free State (UFS).

The project, which broadcasts more than 10 school subjects to more than 50 000 grade 8 to 12 learners across the province, has won second place in the 2015 Commonwealth Education Good Practice Awards. The awards were held last month in the Bahamas.

IBP expressed immense joy for the accomplishment as their project was chosen from 89 entrees by 20 countries.

Project Manager at UFS’s ICT innovation in school education unit (ICTSE), Sarietjie Musgrave, says the achievement marks the 4th international award that the project has won in the last three years.

She says the aim of the project is to provide quality education to all Free State learners, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds.

“We cover the entire curriculum. So, if learners do not have access to a quality teacher, they can have access to one via the broadcast. We broadcast five hours a day,three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. We also broadcast 8 hours a day during holidays,” she said.

She added that teachers from across the province facilitate free lessons on more than 10 school subjects to more than 70 centres across 42 towns in the province.

The subjects include Accounting, Physical Science, Life Science, and Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy, to name a few.

Musgrave further explained that the lessons are broadcast live from the UFS South Campus by teachers via Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Internet Access.

“Although we broadcast live, each school decides when and how they will watch the videos. This varies on different subjects that schools offer. The videos can also be accessed even after the live broadcast,” she said.

Meanwhile, in April this year, the project also won student scholarships to the value of more than R25 thousand.

According to Musgrave, the money will be used to pay tertiary registration fees for some of the students next year. The project also walked away with another award for innovation in pedagogy (education) last year, while in 2013 it had won one for rapid deployment.

The project is collaborative efforts by the university and the provincial education department. The lessons are open for any grade 8 to 12 learner in the province. Interested people may contact the office at 051-505-1297. They will be directed to a nearby school.

sellwane@centralmediagroup.co.za