The ISIPHETHU SOTHUKELA Project has demonstrated that initiating a choir in schools of impoverished areas can effect a 40% improvement in English Literacy. This project focuses on leadership development of principals and empowerment of teachers through mentorship, to upgrade Maths, Science and English teaching of learners already well-disciplined through choir participation. The Siyacula ("We Sing") Music Festival celebrates progress annually in a joint concert with project partners
A dire shortage of skilled teachers in primary schools of rural areas of South Africa is worsened by the lack of libraries. The National Curriculum has also excluded Music and Art in this phase of education. These negative factors combine to deliver many a learner to high school with English literacy skills of an 8-9 year old. All academic learning then suffers, because of the inability to read at appropriate rate and comprehension. A path out of poverty through education soon slips away....
This project has selected 6 rural, impoverished schools to demonstrate that participating in a choir can improve discipline, encourage teamwork and enhance literacy of 600+ primary school learners. Measurable tools include school reports, comparative analysis with non-choir participants and testing. With local partners Champagne Valley Trust and Drakensberg Boys Choir School, four annual workshops provide Principal Leadership Development and Teacher Empowerment in the same 6 schools.
The project will continue to motivate for official inclusion of Music codes in the National Curriculum (to the Department of Education), supplying measurable improvements in educational outcomes and increased graduation rates in 6 rural villages. Leadership development of Principals will provide whole school improvement for 6 schools An academic climate of excellence can be achieved through constructive and impacting Teacher Empowerment programs in English, Music, Mathematics and Science.