IMPLEMENTATION OF A CHESS PROGRAMME IN A SPECTRUM OF SCHOOLS IN SOUTH AFRICA TO ADDRESS ANALYTICAL LOGIC DEVELOPMENT AND PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN
University of Pretoria (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Over the past two years a chess project has been launched in some schools in South Africa to address improved learning in school subjects, particularly mathematics and science.
In 2011 the project implementation phase was started in areas remote from the central hub of operations in Pretoria. Over 7000 children were brought into the system, known as Moves for Life. In addition 200 teachers were trained to become on-site trainers, in some fifty schools.
Trainers travelled to various schools to initiate the process. Some of these schools are hundreds of kilometres from Pretoria which presents challenging logistics scenarios.
A deliberate attempt was made to access schools in far rural areas in which the basic infrastructure such as electricity may not exist. Such schools have been correlated against other schools in the programme which compare to the best schools in the world in terms of infrastructure, and quality of staff and support systems.
An interesting finding in the case of the unsophisticated rural schools has been that it is necessary to spend some time with parents and staff to gain genuine support from the parent group. Initially parents indicated support but were later found to be somewhat reluctant because they did not fully understand how a chess programme would support the educational experience of their children.
A year ago President Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa became Patron of the project. Presidential support has been a significant factor in gaining early acceptance in a number of rural schools in which the very traditional approach to the standard curriculum was seen as paramount. The early success of the project has also resulted in the 13th World Chess Champion, Grand Master Garry Kasparov forming a joint venture with Moves for Life. A Kasparov Chess Foundation: Africa has been formed which is working in collaboration with Moves for Life to propagate the South African programme to other African countries. A visit by GM Kasparov to a few schools gained useful media coverage which enhanced corporate attention to the objectives.
Keywords: Chess, school, South Africa, logic, mathematics, science.