KEY FOCUS AREAS IN EDUCATION
BRIDGE works in a number of major focus areas in education which serve as levers for systems-wide change. These are:
School Leadership: Effective leadership is the foundation for successful learning in schools, with the school principal playing a central role as a change agent. BRIDGE supports and capacitates school principals in their roles as instructional leaders in order to improve school functionality and enable productive teaching and learning.
Teacher Development: The teacher is the main catalyst for developing confident and competent learners. Key to growing and supporting an effective teaching force in our country is understanding the challenges teachers face as well as their capacities, roles and responsibilities. BRIDGE believes that a focus on teacher development, both pre-service and in-service, is essential for long term impact on the system.
Early Childhood Development (ECD): ECD is central to a child’s development: it lays the groundwork for successful learning, which in turn helps children progress confidently into formal schooling. By facilitating interaction between government, training providers and implementers, BRIDGE supports coordination and collaboration to increase quality and impact in this vital sector.
Learner Support: South African learners face numerous challenges, and therefore require a diverse range of interventions. BRIDGE facilitates learner support by helping map various forms of provision and sharing important lessons in relation to a range of topics and programmes.
Cross-cutting Themes: Certain factors (such as the role of Information Communication Technology) are relevant to different areas and stages of education. BRIDGE sees this focus area as vital, because cross-cutting factors can influence professional practice, affect learners, and shape learning contexts.
SUPPORT FOR THE FOCUS AREAS THROUGH COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE
BRIDGE convenes communities of practice (CoPs) in these focus areas to help increase professional understanding, knowledge and skills. Communities of practice provide opportunities to share professional practices, policy insights, and tools and resources: networking through sharing often leads to collaborative partnerships between CoP participants. This in turn helps improve the reach and scope of many interventions.
BRIDGE runs over twenty different CoPs both nationally and provincially. While most CoPs fall naturally into specific focus areas, some cut across different sectors. The Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) CoP, for example, addresses M&E approaches and tools that could relate to projects in any of the four focus areas; and, while the Maths and Science CoP falls under Learner Support, many of the debates on these subjects spill over into other focus areas. Another example is Information Communication Technology (ICT). Advances in ICT have dramatically changed the learning and teaching process; the many dimensions to using technology in education play out in all subject disciplines and stages of the education process, making this field a theme across all our focus areas.
BRIDGE also partners with a range of organisations to run communities of practice in the context of specific interventions.
To find out more about BRIDGE communities of practice and what they do, go to COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE on the main menu and read the overview. Then you can link to and explore whichever focus areas and communities of practice interest you.