On Monday the 23rd of January, the Village Scribe Association visited the District Office of the ECDoE at Lady Frere. We met with Chulekazi Bula (District Office Director) and several other curriculum and technical staff. We wanted to find out whether awareNet, with its co-curricular and (ICT) literacy focus, would be of interest to the leadership of such a rural district. The officials at the department were very positive about the possibilities presented by awareNet. They highlighted aspects like improving motivation, energy for learning and use of the ICT labs, while preserving security and maintinging an educational focus. We were very impressed how the team of officials each brought up alternative worries or benefits and formulated their own reasons why the programme would work in the schools of the region.
The VSA has a plan to supply these schools with training, which involves hiring additional staff living nearby. Unfortunately, the funding for this programme is unclear, although there are several possible avenues, including via the Vodacom Regional Teacher Training Centre which is being opened in 2012 at Lady Frere, as well as private funding from England. The ECDoE officials voiced their impatience at having to wait and were determined to build a “nucleus of users” in advance of any other efforts, as a pilot. Possibilities for sustainability of the project include further options – more news around this area will surely follow in the next months.
We look forward to collaborating with the ECDoE in this beautiful and mountainous part of the Eastern Cape.