Township ‘Centre of Excellence’ in South Africa will be funded by British Couple

June 30, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Alan and Hilary Davies, who run a publishing company in Chester, have been working together to help thousands of children and adults worldwide to read, write and spell in English using a program called THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading And Spelling Skills). In South Africa alone, the Davies have personally donated £40k to train lecturers, student teachers and teachers of the deaf and, in October, they will train the staff at Masibambane College, a school in the Orange Farm Township, south of Soweto.

Masibambane College is located in one of the poorest and fastest growing squatter camp communities in South Africa. After recently visiting the school Alan and Hilary, impressed by the dedicated, hardworking staff, saw that Masibambane could become a “Centre of Excellence” for the region. Along with supplying a full range of teaching support materials and resources for more than 600 children, they will present two days of training and a further two days of support, including a day of demonstration lessons.
Masibambane is a Zulu word that embraces the idea of holding hands and building together. Many of the school buildings have been funded by the city of Vienna, but more needs to be done in guiding the school to achieve a high standard in reading and spelling English.

Darryl Geffen, the headmaster of Masibambane College said, “This gift will make a tremendous difference to the school. We have lots of different national languages and I know that the teaching of THRASS will make a significant difference to the learning of English in the region. As a country we have some major issues to tackle, including poverty and Aids. I believe that, if South Africa is to grow and deal with these issues, our children must be able to confidently communicate with the rest of the world.”
In June, lecturers and 130 student teachers at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, attended a two day training course in THRASS and, in March, 80 teachers received free training and resources at Fulton School for the Deaf in KwaZulu-Natal.

Alan Davies, a chartered educational psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, is recognized as a world expert in the teaching of phonics and has been invited by OFSTED on two occasions to speak about his concerns over the teaching of phonics in the National Literacy Strategy (NLS).