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South Africans Learn Economics in Jackson

By Daniel Cherry | Published 07 Mar 2011 12:10pm | comments

A group of educators from South Africa is in the Jackson metro area as part of an international project aimed at teaching economics. MPB’s Daniel Cherry takes a look at how they plan to use their lessons back home.

The Economics International program is an effort by the U.S. Department of Education to instruct educators from developing free enterprise systems how to teach economics. As part of the program 11 South African educators and administrators spent the weekend at schools in the Jackson area. One stop was Chastain Middle School to sit in on Londra Hunter’s 7th grade economics class. Hunter says it doesn’t matter if it’s Jackson or Johannesburg…anyone can learn economic principals.

“Showing that financial literacy is important. Everyone needs to know and understand how money works, how these principals are applied, how their daily lives are affected by these decisions that a lot of people think they need to know nothing about or that doesn’t apply.”

The Mississippi Council on Economic Education chose teachers in the area excelling in economic and financial education to demonstrate their interactive lessons with middle and high school students. Ria del Jager is one of the South African educators…she says she’s most impressed with the tools teachers have at their disposal.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement in South Africa of course, but because we’ve been trained through the people in America we know the style, wonderful interactive worksheets and material that that we’ve got here and implement it in South Africa.”

Many educators in South Africa are tasked with coming up with all their own classroom materials from scratch, which is something the group wants to have changed. While here they are also looking at some colleges in the area. Mzwakhe Skhosana says there is a lack of vocational training in South Africa.

“Maybe facilitate some kind of collaboration between Mississippi State and our province or even our country as well in terms of vocational training because we’re very impressed with what we actually see.”

The National Council of Economic Education out of New York chose the Mississippi council at Milsaps College out of more than 200 university based centers across the country. 

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