Published in Vukani, Thursday 02nd April 2015
More than 100 pupils from various schools who completed their first and second year of computer training, organised by the South African Education and Environmental Project(SAEP) and ADT Teach, received their certificates at a ceremony held at Sophumelela High School, in Samora Machel, on Friday March 27.
The Grade 10 to 12 pupils from Sophumelela, Zisukhanyo and Intsebenziswano High School have been attending computer training after school, on weekends and during school holidays.
The programme is designed to bridge the gap between pupils who attended former model c schools and their township counter parts. The programme has been in existence since 2009. Trainer Nqobani Nkala said although most township schools had computer laboratories, there were often no teachers available to teach pupils.
He said they designed training accredited by the Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA). Pupils were taught how to create email addresses, how to do presentations and do internet searches and, most importantly, to effectively use the computers.
“These are things pupils from townships struggle with when they reach universities and spend most of their time trying to catch up. This puts more strain on them. We are bridging that gap,” said Mr Nkala.
Mzimasi Hoho, principal at Sophumelela High School, praised the programme. He said the schools were privileged to have partnered with the company. “This programme helps put value in our pupils and has changed them for the better. Pupils who attended the training don’t just learn computers skill, they learn to dream big despite the challenges they face in their communities.
“We thank the facilitators for what they are doing for our pupils. We hope they continue with what they do here at other schools as well,” said Mr Hoho.
Grade 12 pupil at Zisukhanyo, Vuyolwethu Silolo said until she started the programme in 2013 she had never used a computer.”I knew that at some point I would have to be able to use a computer as I plan to further my studies after matric, but my parents couldn’t afford to pay for computer classes. When the opportunity for the programme came, I grabbed it and gave it my all, now I can use a computer. Reality is, we live in a technological world and we all need to be able to use a computer so I would urge other pupils to take the opportunity and attend the programme,” said Vuyolwethu.
Another pupil from Intsebenziswano, Mamela Siyongwana, said the programme didn’t just offer computer training but skills that help pupils make the most of their lives. She said although it was a challenge for pupils to get to the training during heavy winter rains, in the end it was worth it. “Some pupils are already using their skills to make pocket money by helping to type CVs and documents for other people. I would urge other pupils to join the programme to keep busy after school and during holidays; this way you will be less likely to join gangs or do crime and instead get to do something that will help you a great deal in future,” said Mamela.
Parent Nombini Mate said the programme helps to keep youngsters off the streets. She said her son who is doing Grade 11 is so busy with his studies and the computer programme that he doesn’t have time for friends who were a bad influence. “He loves doing computer work, when he is at home he often tells me of all the things one can do on a computer. I’m sure by the time he gets to university he will be able to use a computer and excel,” said the proud mother.