South Africa Educational Study Program
The Skidmore Educational Study Program in South Africa is designed to expose our college students to the history, culture, geography and education system of South Africa. The experience will encourage students to think globally, and will provide them with a powerful non-Western cultural experience. During this educational study abroad program, Skidmore students will meet South African primary teachers and their students through structured school and classroom visits.
These experiences give Skidmore students the opportunity to learn about the South African school system through scheduled classes with teachers and direct field experiences observing classroom teaching. School visits and observations will demonstrate teacher roles, school organizational patterns, philosophical differences in public and private schools, and help students gain an understanding of South African primary school curriculum and assessment, and the role of language and literacy in a diverse population.
Observations in Schools:
We will observe, interview and discuss the following component cultures of South Africa within each setting that we observe and there will be differences depending on the area, the people, and whether the school is operated by a privately or by the government.
The Student Dimension
How many days per year do students attend school, how many years are mandatory, how long is the school day, and what subject areas do the students study? What is the dress code? What is the status of student behavior in the schools and what options are available to teachers to deal with discipline problems? How are students grouped for instruction? What assessment tools are used to evaluate students and what happens to students who do not meet academic standards? How are families involved in the school? What fees are charged for attendance in public and private schools? What do students need to apply to a university?
The Teacher Dimension
What is the typical day for a teacher? How many days each year do teachers work and do teachers need to hold second jobs during the school year or in the summer? How do teachers allocate their time for direct instruction, planning, supervising students in lunch or study halls, meeting with faculty or department heads, and involvement in after school activities? How do salaries and the status of teachers compare with those of other occupations? How is a teacher's salary determined?
What are the educational requirements for becoming a teacher? How are teacher's evaluated? What type of relationship does the teacher have with students, parents, colleagues, and administration? How many students are in a typical class? How are students' special needs met? How are teaching vacancies filled?
The Principal Dimension
How are principals selected? What role does the principal fulfill in regards to teacher selection, evaluation of staff, budget development, school schedule, and curriculum development. What is the salary range? What educational requirements are required?
The Governmental Dimension
What role does local, regional and national government take in regards to education? Are there local school boards? How is education financed (private as well as government)? Is there a national curricula or national goals, and, if so explain? Do families have many choices regarding the schools their children will attend? What are some of the current trends or issues concerning education?
The Societal Dimension
What kinds of supports are available for families in need of services?
What kinds of connections are schools making to the community and
How does the general public view education in South Africa?
For additional information about the journey contact:
Director of the Study Program in South Africa
Phone: (518) 580-5472 Fax (518) 580-5146