News

Disadvantaged School Gets Computer Centre

6 September 2004
The special relationship between a university rector and a high school principal today resulted in an impoverished school opening a computer centre fitted with 32 computers linked by a network and with access to the internet.

The Kayamandi informal settlement is one of the poorest suburbs of Stellenbosch outside Cape Town. Most of the residents live in shacks; structures that are put together with any material that provide shelter from the hot summers and cold wet winters.

The poverty of the neighborhood is evident in the Kayamandi High School that lacks the facilities to which most schools in have free access. The level of unemployment amongst parents is so high that they even struggle to pay basic school fees.

Poverty culminates in other undesirable conditions such as crime, malnutrition and the spreading of infectious diseases. These factors have an impact on school attendance and discipline amongst the learners.

But, with the help of the University of Stellenbosch, the school officialy opened its computer centre today. Although about 60% of the teachers are not computer literate, the IT staff of Stellenbosch University started training teachers since March this year in basic computer skills.

This will be followed by skills to use e-mail, internet and office software. Selected staff members will also be trained to do hardware set-up and solve technical problems.

The Department of Conservation Ecology currently runs a program to prepare learners for tertiary education that includes computer proficiency. They targeted 20 grade 11 learners who have the potential to go to a university. The learners are trained to use computer programs to gain access to a wide spectrum of information e.g. their school subjects, careers and available bursaries.

The school was established in 1940 offering schooling for grades 1-8. Denied from educational resources in the apartheid era, the school only offered grade 12 from 1993 when it was established as a secondary school. The school has 1,352 students and 41 educators.

Said Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore: "I am very proud that this community can join hands and share and build one another.

"The special relationship between the rector Prof Chris Brink and the Principal Mr Maphelo Ntshanga, is an example to all of us. This partnership between the school and the university is an attempt in helping to grow and share the Cape.

"Some of the central values of iKapa Elihlumayo, of commitment, of sharing and building, are captured in this community."

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi: 082 577 6551, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689
Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

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