Digital learning centre opens new doors for pupils

"With computers we can go anywhere we want … it's like touching the world," said Grade 10 learner Belta Dombeni.

She spoke to the Mail & Guardian at the launch of the Hazyview digital learning centre in Tshabalala village on Friday. The centre is the brainchild of the nongovernmental organisation, Good Work Foundation, and aims to provide skills, via computer courses as well as lessons from teachers, in information technology, tourism, English and health care.

Sixteen-year old Dombeni first used a computer last year. "Our families don't know computers but they are proud that we know how to use them," she said.

Coming from a disadvantaged background, life is tough for Dombeni but "before the foundation helped me, it was just bad".

She said using computers at the centre, which has already started teaching, was "taking my life to another level".

"You can research anything you want. Sometimes when you ask too many questions people will get irritated with you but the internet never gets irritated."

The facility, whose construction was funded by a R3.7-million donation from information and communication technology company T-Systems, can accommodate 300 learners at one time, has 51 computers, two computer rooms, two classrooms and wireless internet connectivity.

In keeping with the African tradition that a tree is a place to meet and discuss important matters, learners can also gather under a digital tree of knowledge, which features power points, a sound system, and a USB connection to a terabyte of learning material.

Using technology such as smart screens, as well as the skills of retired teachers, among other resources, the centre aims to offer learning opportunities to anyone who wants them.

The big divide exists between people who have access to information and people who don't, said national planning commission chairperson, Trevor Manuel, speaking at the launch.

"This is a place where information is brought down [to people] … [They said] we don't want charity. Give us the link and we will do the rest."

He told attendees: "People are going to come from all over the country to see this place."

Performing for attendees, pupils shared what the foundation meant to them.

"You elevate our minds, you mould our brains, you sharpen our characters, you awaken our spirits. Angelic and charitable is what you are… You are marvellous," said Grade 10 pupil Holani Mhlongo.

In a world of instant information the challenge is to match "untapped emerging human potential in rural South Africa with the possibilities of the digital world", the foundation's chairperson Dave Varty said.

As problems associated with the delivery of textbooks and the shortage of skilled teachers become more pressing, South Africa will see that a "digital space can take those problems away", said the foundation's chief executive officer Kate Groch.

Using computers to learn "must become the new normal … It is unacceptable that depending on where you are born you either have a chance or you don't", she said.

The opportunities presented by computers meant "there is no difference whether you are in a classroom in Tshabalala or a classroom in New York".

Advertisting

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand

Lekwa municipality won’t answer questions about why children died in...

Three children are dead. More than a dozen homes have been gutted by fires in the past six months. And, as...
Advertising

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.