Realizing the growing digital divide among schools in Grahamstown, this year awarenet secured funding for a teachers training program for ICT educational support and gave impetus to launching a School Cooperation Project in April 2019.
The awarenet-based School Cooperation Project is rolling out to assist teachers with gaining basic knowledge and skills in ICT, and thereby leverage teachers academic programs for educational activities for their learners, and enhance educational work using computer and digital devices. Many teachers are unfamiliar with computer technology and need basic skills training; using the keyboard and mouse to navigating desktop icons, using and applying software program appropriately and building confidence in working with technology. School teachers at senior and primary schools have had challenges with accessing computer based skills training, and this project aims to work with teachers on a regular basis to build their skill set and ability to engage with computers and online educational program. The project kickstarted with the appointment of two new staff members, Daksha Naran as project coordinator and Zintle Vambe as project intern, with two local schools participating, namely Nombulelo and Archie Mbolekwa.
Even though many schools have been allocated computer laboratories with personal computers, these facilities have been redundant for several years. In many cases computer labs have been gathering dust and have remained unused and donated tablets have been locked away and have not been accessible to learners. This is because many schools on the east side of Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) have a host of ICT related challenges ranging from; no trained ICT staff in schools to drive the ICT educational programs, inadequate support and time allocation for teachers to gain knowledge and basic skills for ICT, financial support to secure the monthly ICT based resources such as internet connectivity, structural challenges with implementing and maintaining ICT programs.
Together with the School Cooperation Project and a newly implemented DoE project, which employs ICT interns to refurbish the computer laboratories at schools.