Pick n Pay seems to be steaming ahead on a road flanked by laurels. The end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 have seen this iconic South African brand win the Pica for Best Customer Magazine (Fresh Living); World's Top Retailer; South Africa's Coolest Grocery Retailer for the fourth year running in The Sunday Times Generation Next Awards, and now the supermarket chain has been given another double thumbs up: this time by South Africa's teachers.
HDI Youth Marketeers helped Pick n Pay set up the Pick n Pay School Club in 2003 to create much-needed teaching material for teachers and schools. The Club still does the same thing, but now, with five to 10 partners annually, it creates teacher guides; learner worksheets; posters; competition entry kits; year planners and nutritional guideline booklets for over 50,000 educators and 1,4-million learners in over 1,840 South African schools: all of them being brand-funded. This makes the programme the largest independent educational material provider to schools in South Africa.
While it sounds like a great initiative that would clearly attract interest and support, much of the programme's positive aura was anecdotal and inferred from the thousands of projects and school competition entries received each year. So, in mid-2008, Pick n Pay commissioned independent research to confirm what they saw as the programme's innate value. And after a rigorous qualitative and quantitative study that interviewed over 200 teachers and ended in November 2008, Pick n Pay School Club got an A+. When compared with other educational programmes in South Africa, the Pick n Pay School Club was voted the most excellent amongst teachers in terms of quality and relevance to the schools' current needs as all material is curriculum-aligned and tailored separately for high schools, primary schools and combined schools .
Teachers, many of whom now have very few teaching aids to help inspire, guide and enthuse their learners, other than their chalk and a blackboard, expressed delight at Pick n Pay School Club and rated its material the best educational support available to schools. But much more well-to-do schools also responded extremely positively to the programme.
On a scale of 1-5, The Pick n Pay School Club's material was rated 4.04 versus 2.59 for content supplied by the Department and 2.32 for content made available through other independent programmes.
The look, feel and quality of the way the content is packaged and presented was rated even higher at 4.51. Also, gratifyingly, the longevity of the material was reinforced as teachers said they found even previous years' content also highly useful.
A team of researchers and teachers have ensured that the resource material in the Pick n Pay School Club programme is relevant to the educational curriculum and is pitched at the right level so that it is challenging, but not too difficult. This seems to be pretty on the mark, with most schools (76%) feeling that the material was pitched at the right level.
Primary schools rated the health and hygiene content very highly and high schools rated the 5-a-Day plan as the most useful, followed by hygiene and design/product innovation.
Teachers feel the programme makes a real difference in not only the school lives of the children, but their lives at home. “Children are learning the importance of hygiene and good habits that will see them well into adulthood. As a teacher, I love the posters and teaching materials the most as they teach these good habits,” says Mr Sibisi from Unified Public School.
With the material covering business studies, learners gained an understanding of the workings of commerce and enterprise. Taking their cue from the positive response, teachers have asked for material that will bring an even deeper understanding of how businesses operate. “We would like to see more material on the sponsors that includes information about their type of business, how they got started, their history in South Africa and how they operate as this will be instrumental in the education of our learners, particularly those in High School who are thinking about what type of career they'd like to pursue,” says Mrs Roth of IR Griffith Primary School.
In 2008 and 2009, Pick n Pay, as the naming rights and founder sponsor, again led the charge in funding the school kits, and other key partners on the programme were Dettol, Nedbank, Eskom, Proudly South African, Scott's Emulsion, Aquafresh, Munroe Shock Absorbers and Lucky Star.
Another well-received bonus of the Pick n Pay School Club is that it allows learners the chance to compete for up to R160,000-worth of prizes. The competition component of School Club got a rating of 4.18 in primary schools (again on a scale of 1-5) as these create great opportunities for children to extend themselves. This and the ability to express themselves and have fun, are cited in the research as the main reasons schools enter competitions.
The Pick n Pay School Club material is developed for the enrichment of all. All schools are welcome to photocopy or reproduce any of the content contained in the educational material and distribute it for any educational purpose. The material is also freely available to download on www.schoolclub.co.za. The Pick and Pay School Club is managed on behalf of Pick n Pay by HDI Youth Marketeers
For more information, contact Caryn Sabbagha (Project Coordinator) on 011 706 6016 or e-mail her: .
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