Independent Newspapers in KwaZulu-Natal have come to the aid of learners whose education programme was derailed by the recent teachers' strikes.
The newspaper company, in co-operation with the national Department of Education, is producing 175 000 education supplements which are inserted twice a week into the English-language afternoon daily, the Daily News, and the Zulu-language morning title, Isolezwe.
On Mondays the inserts, called Study Mates, cater for Grade 1 to Grade 7 learners and on Thursdays for Grade 8 to Grade 11 learners.
Spearheaded by the National Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, the Department of Education approached Independent Newspapers after it was realized how seriously the strikes were affecting learning throughout the country.
The national authorities invested funds to produce material to assist children complete this year's syllabus. The material, in the form of Study Mates, contains lessons missed in the second term as well as lectures from the third term. The first copies were distributed on July 1 and will be continued for 17 weeks.
Feedback from all parties is that the teacher bodies and parents are finding the material useful in the catch-up plans.