New computer lab brings development to a rural KZN school

Life at Sigidisabathembu Primary School at Ilenge-Majuqule village near Harrysmith in KwaZulu-Natal will never be the same, following the handover of a high-tech computer laboratory that is set to improve teaching and learning at the school.
Situated in a poverty-stricken village, with limited access to electricity, proper roads and sanitation, the school today boasts an internet-enabled computer laboratory equipped with 30 desktops, a multimedia printer, external hard drives, and a projector benefitting 156 learners.
The donated equipment includes nine laptops that have been provided to the school’s six teachers and 19 tablets for use by Grade R learners. The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, together with Deputy Minister, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi, visited the school today, to officially handover the computer lab.
For the first time, the learners and their teachers have access to computer-based learning and teaching programmes providing curricular for all subjects from Grades R – 7 and includes free access to the encyclopaedia, textbooks, workbooks and search engines such as Google and Wikipedia.
This through a Youth into Science of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) developed to expand access to science and technology to younger generations in the rural areas.
Coming straight from the World Economic Forum (WEF) which ended in Durban yesterday, Minister Pandor, expressed excitement at the initiative’s ability to bring development to a rural school.
“Coming from the WEF, we feel privileged to bring this facility here that will improve access to science and technology to the community,” said the Minister who at the three-day summit called for increased investment in science and technology, to turn around the lives of many ordinary people in South Africa and the continent.
“Without science we cannot have change. We are not able to address the range of difficulties that we face as a continent. Through science we will discover means of controlling HIV, we will address the difficult diseases which kill hundreds of thousands of Africans on the continent. But we have to invest in research, science institutions and we have to utilise the solutions that come out of that research. Science has the answer for many challenges in our societies,” the Minister told delegates at the 27th WEF Summit.
The Minister also expressed contentment that the six teachers here were also receiving training on how to use the computer-programmes. “We should not deny our parents to also be technology-literate,” said the Minister.
The Minister added that government had learned from experience to offer well-designed teacher development programmes as well to ensure both learners and teachers were on par.
Principal Ms Nozipho Mdunge beamed with joy and gratitude, recalling how the school had developed from when it was only two shacks with no windows and doors when she joined 19 years ago. For all this Ms Mdunge expressed gratitude to the Department, the hard-working teachers, willing learners and the school’s governing body.
“Today, I am a very happy and proud person that we can now teach our learners with ease. I am walking with my head high up because of the supportive community here,” she said.
Grade 7 learners Thalente Shabalala and Anele Sithole said it was now no longer necessary for the community to commute for over an hour to town when they needed to use a computer.

Issued by the Department of Science and Technology
For more information, contact: Lunga Ngqengelele on 082 566 0446


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