E-Reader programme started in Durban to boost a culture of reading

2013-11-06 00:00

THE process of learning and teaching will go digital for the youth and community in Durban through the introduction of an e-reader programme, which uses information and communication technology (ICT) to boost a culture of reading.

The ICT Centre in Umbilo — the first in KwaZulu-Natal — provides books and reading material already loaded on tablet devices, for people to access information via the Internet.

The tablets are loaded with e-books in the genres of African literature, history, business/entrepreneurship and fiction, among others.

They will be updated with reading material every six months to ensure that visitors have constant access to new content. Some of the textbooks and novels are aligned with the school curriculum, and are used as a means to assist pupils with how to speak and write.

Cheyenne Jones and La-Shay Ramdhin, both 19 years old and who matriculated at Newlands East Secondary last year, said they had benefited from using the centre.

“We didn’t have this facility in our school. I came here about a month ago and already my interest in following an IT-related field has been piqued,” said Jones.

Ramdhin said this was also another way to build up her CV and she hoped it would create better opportunities.

“We hope to continue with this process. Once we’ve received basic ICT skills, we get exposed to entrepreneurship as well.

“We look forward to where this leads us and hopefully it has better opportunities”.

Sipho Nkosi from the Department of Education said they were happy with getting “this lifetime investment”.

The technological devices would go a long way in improving the education system, said Nkosi.

The intiative was started last year in April by Read A Book SA and Vodacom.

Founder of Read A Book SA Tebogo Ditshego said, according to the South African Development Council, only 15% of South Africans have access to a nearby library. He said they were using social networking sites Twitter and Facebook to encourage youth to read at least one book a month and share their experiences.

Vodacom head of Development Foundation Mthobeli Tengimfene said they worked with the Department of Education to “guide us as to whether or not what we are providing is relevant to the people’s needs”.

He said their role was to facilitate the intiative, but the community needed to take charge.

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