by Nicola Honey

MOTHER TONGUE EDUCATION

Enthusiastic response to maths translations

Xhosa learners benefit
Learning in your mother tongue

ClickMaths has afforded Xhosa school children from grade R – 12 access to maths lessons, not only in English but also in their mother tongue, free on the internet.

The first set of full translations in isiXhosa were recently launched and already the site has had more than 20 000 views from interested learners, primarily in the Eastern Cape area.

ClickMaths founders, Adrian Cox and Pratik Pokharel say this is just the beginning and feel confident that maths competency will improve significantly if learners can access lessons in their mother tongue.

“With the critical teacher shortage in the country, the videos also provide teachers with a powerful tool to better evaluate where students are struggling and succeeding in the classroom. The online platform frees up some of the time that teachers spend on administrative tasks, allowing them to maximise the teaching time spent with students. They are also able to monitor the progress and support the learning of students remotely.”

The maths lessons are provided by Khan Academy a non-profit that provides free online materials and resources to support personalised education for learners of all ages.

Monique Baars, ClickMaths Director, said the second set of translations in Zulu were progressing well with a group of translators from Soweto and surrounds. She confirmed 120 of the video lessons had already been completed. “We are managing to translate about 20 lessons a week currently and are hoping to complete the series by mid 2015 at the latest,” says Baars.

Part of the remarkable success of ClickMaths is that its achievements have been done without any tax-payer funding. Former mining executive Miklos Salamon is funding the current Zulu translations.

The long term vision of the project is to translate the syllabus into all the official languages. “We are now looking for private funders to assist with the cost of the balance of the translations. There has been a big demand for Afrikaans translations and this will probably be next,” says Dave Marsh, a private backer involved in the translations.

Volunteers are also being sought to translate not just the lessons, but the full site of Khan Academy itself, which includes problem questions, into Xhosa and Zulu, as well as funders for translations into other official languages. More information can be found at http://www.clickmaths.org.

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