It sought to offer an authentic and effective content that contributed to change. SABC used all languages and tried to embrace all cultures. It used interactive means, with guests on radio, and also offered groundbreaking content that was not seen anywhere on television.
The SABC believed in inclusive programming and tried at all times to cater for its rural audiences, who might not have access to all media platforms. SABC content further took into consideration issues of gender and people living with disabilities. She said although the SABC used differently-abled persons in production of its content, it needed to do more in this regard.
Ms Makhetha said the SABC’s Education Unit provided excellent educational content on two television channels and twelve public broadcast service stations. The content was focused on the education curriculum, and programming that supported nation building and development. SABC Education was offered through multi-media, not only through radio and TV, including the websites, print, new media and outreach.
The SABC fulfilled the functions of informing, entertaining and educating. The Association for Development of Education in Africa had honored the SABC by visiting, and expressing appreciation at the model the SABC was using in education.
Ms Makhetha noted that recognition of the need for diversity and independence guided the content, strategy and editorial policies. This was a public service targeted to all citizens. Educational material needed to be accessible on all available platforms, including satellite cable and broadband networks. Despite its best efforts, the Education Unit could not always fit all content to all platforms. However, the Unit produced content that helped develop national culture, identity, language and heritage, thus enriching lives and enriching minds.
Recently, the Unit had been moving to producing content in line with the changing media consumption. The educational content would no longer only be on radio and television, but it would also be made available on digital media. The Unit would support the Department of Basic Education in making South Africa literate, with a focus on literacy and numeracy from Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Foundation phases. This would ensure solid results for grade 12 in the future.
The SABC worked with different stakeholders to build a democratic South Africa and to enable everybody to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). SABC Education was well placed to develop an emerging society that was emotionally and intellectually balanced, and would participate fully in the global village. The Unit relied on feedback from the ordinary population, and would always research new content. SABC also worked with specialists on content development and at all times encouraged multilingualism. The SABC advocated positive role modeling.
The advantage of the outreach platform was that it extended content beyond the broadcast platforms, and this was very effective in getting closer to the rural people and understanding their needs. The numerous platforms allowed for deepening of the educational content and extended its shelf life. Outreach helped the SABC to forge strategic partnerships and brought audiences to the broadcast platforms. The poorly-performing schools in rural areas always approached the SABC to request specific content that they might not otherwise have at their disposal.
Ms Makhetha said the SABC had researched how best it could assist government on the road to 2014. SABC had identified nine themed focal areas, which included literacy and numeracy skills, mathematics and science, agriculture and environment, economics and finance, heritage and the arts, health and well-being, civic and democratic society, and leadership and management. Any other themes that were not aligned to the curriculum were broadcast on the other pillars.
Both pillars sought to align to government initiatives and sub-categories were divided according to themes. Unemployment fell in the leadership and management category. Corruption fell under promotion of values and ethics. Addressing crumbling infrastructure fell under ownership of public assets. Promoting a resource intensive economy fell under promoting business opportunities. She cited an example of a programme like Shift on SABC1, where experts offered advice on finding employment to young people.
Key to the success of programmes was thorough research. The Unit encouraged research, and despite financial challenges, it would follow up to ascertain the impact of programmes. It would also sustain communication with partners and communities, and promoted advocacy through dialogue and pushing of boundaries It tried to integrate messages across genres and platforms. Lastly, it would engage with experts and audiences
Ms Makhetha said the Foundation phase of education was critical, because it could lead to a good quality product at matric, and stressed that it was in these early phases that young children established how to read, write, count and calculate. Programmes earmarked for this purpose were Takalani Sesame, and Rivoningo Vuwani, but she stressed that this education was not offered as it would be in the classroom, but through enjoyable programmes. After the Annual National Assessment (ANA) results of last year, it had been decided to focus, in 2012, on ECD and the Foundation Phase, to improve results, and it would partner with DBE to provide a TV quiz show, to prepare the grade 3 classes of 2012 for their 2013 ANA. Each year, SABC Education focused on a different grade, to make the interventions worthwhile.
Intermediate Phase TV programmes included Wise Up, I-spelling and Edukite. At senior phase there were progrmmes like Matric Uploaded, FET vocational, Toms, and 48 Hours, where learners were exposed to the field of their choice for 48 hours. Higher learning programmes included Open University, which provided additional study material for students at degree level. Adult education programmes included Khetha, Le rena re a Kgona, Our Moments, and It's For Life. The Unit also offered programmes that sought to motivate educators and develop their professional capabilities, and included programmes such as My teacher made me, Mother of All Professions, Each one Teach one, and First time Teachers. There were also the provincially funded radio slots.
Ms Makhetha identified literacy levels and socio-economic levels as challenges. When educational content was exposed to commercialisation, that had a potential to compromise education values. There were also challenges around lack of skills in both education and media. There was a general lack of TV and radio slots to reach audiences during the day.
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