The Programme for Improvement of Learning Outcomes (PILO) is an organisation aiming to develop a methodology for change in the schooling system in South Africa. In two districts in KwaZulu Natal, the KZN Department of Education (funded by the National Education Collaboration Trust) is implementing the Jika iMfundo campaign supported by PILO. The focus of the initiative is coverage of the CAPS curriculum in Languages and Maths from Grades 1-12; and Science from Grades 8-12, and is implemented in all schools in the two districts. Dr Tony Lelliott, the Project Manager introduces the research.
In January 2017, Saide was commissioned to manage a research project focusing on PILO’s work in KZN. An Advisory Committee was set up, and the members helped to develop lines of enquiry for the research. An open call was made to educational researchers and proposals were received in February. Five projects were selected for implementation, consisting of educational researchers based at the Universities of Zululand, KwaZulu Natal and Witwatersrand. The research projects examine such areas as school curriculum management, district capacity, how teachers work with curriculum coverage, and how teachers are supported in their schools by school management teams.
In July, the researchers presented their initial findings at a workshop at Saide. The research is currently being written up, and will comprise chapters in an edited book complemented by chapters on the PILO model and curriculum coverage. The book will be published in 2018 under an open licence, and the findings disseminated at an event being planned for researchers, district officials and other interested parties. It is hoped that the research findings will be valuable for other initiatives for school improvement elsewhere in South Africa, and beyond.