01 November 2006

16-18 Nov 2006: SAHA/RLF Workshop

SAHA and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation are planning an upcoming Workshop focusing on approaches to "Outreach" utilised by heritage, archival, museum and education practitioners in South Africa. The workshop will be held in Johannesburg from November 16-18, 2006 .

We are requesting 15 minute presentations from institutions that focus on one or two outreach initiatives and include description of how the initiative was initially conceptualized, any challenges that may have affected the initiative during development and how the initiative was ultimately be implemented. Contact Sam Jacob at sfj@saha.org.za for more information.

Struggles for Justice Programme pilots "SAHA in the Classroom" project.

With the introduction of Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) and a revision of the curriculum, there have been a number of shifts in the approach to history teaching in South African schools. The focus has shifted from rote-learning of a set of facts to a problem-solving approach based on the analysis of a range of different sources and interpretations of the events of the past. However, the transition from the idealism of this approach to the practical implementation of a source-based study of history has not been without problems. A large number of schools are under-resourced and do not have access to well-equipped libraries and the Internet. Many teachers are labouring with old textbooks that do not make use of the new approaches, or no textbooks at all. And many teachers have not been trained in teaching with primary sources.

In 2003, the Department of Education introduced a National History Examination that included sections that require interpretation of primary sources, and has made the study of South African history from 1976 to 1994 compulsory. For many teachers, this increased their difficulties in teaching history. Firstly, they were not well-versed in this new approach, and secondly, there was very little source-based material available on this period. The sources that are available in textbooks are limited and are often repeated in the different textbooks despite a wide variety of sources available on the 1976 to 1994 period.

The South African History Archive (SAHA) is in a unique position to fill this gap. By making this rich source material available to schools, SAHA will be bringing a previously hidden history to life and into the communities that most need it. SAHA is currently piloting source booklets and associated teachers guides designed to assist teachers and students prepare for the National History Examination. These booklets feature source material with specific questions relating to the source material, following the format of the National Examination. These booklets cover the period 1976 to 1994, of which there is a currently a dearth of materials.

Interested teachers should contact Contact Sam Jacob at sfj@saha.org.za for more information.