About the Vula Project
The Vula Programme is a division of The Hiltonian Society NPC, the legal entity which owns and operates Hilton College, a well-known independent boys’ secondary school in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
A brief history
The Vula Programme at Hilton College was started in 2001 as The Hiltonian Society’s response to under-resourced schools and disadvantaged communities close to the college. The programme is based in the school’s Centre for Innovation, which was newly constructed at the time.
Initially the programme did not have clearly defined focus areas, but instead tried its hand at meeting several community needs, including adult basic literacy, entrepreneurial development, computer proficiency, and teaching Maths and Science to learners from local schools.
In 2004, we began to focus on the Maths and Science needs of schools in the greater Midlands area. To reinforce our offering, we provided teaching software and resources as well as training in teaching methodologies best suited to these resources.
We began with a single staff member, who managed the programme and created opportunities for Hilton College academic staff to teach maths and science teachers.
Over the years the staff complement has grown, and it now consists of five staff members, in addition to a pool of outside specialists who provide additional expertise when needed.
Teachers participating in the programme are provided residential in-service training and are accommodated in the Vula Lodges, each of which has 12 twin-bedded en-suite rooms.
Each Maths teacher is given a laptop which they take back to their school after completion of their time at the Vula Mathematics Academy. More than 30 Science teachers use laptops on loan from the programme. Science teaching equipment is also loaned to schools within geographic cluster groups in township and rural communities.
Since 2001, approximately 500 Maths teachers and 300 Science teachers have been directly touched by the programme. Many have remained in touch with us – for ten or more years. More than 40 000 learners have attended Vula events since 2001, while the numbers of indirect beneficiaries (learners benefitting from improved Maths and Science teaching) must be exceedingly more.
The Vula Programme is viewed by many as the pre-eminent organisation of its type in the region, having a proud track record of providing relevant, meaningful, and cost-effective educational interventions and development opportunities for its beneficiaries.
With the capacity to accommodate more teachers, we are positioned for greater impact, which is a privilege and a joy.