iPads for Heroes

By admin
18 May 2015

iPads are helping these children become heroes – just like their teacher

JUDGING from the letter 18-year-old Sichumile Dumalisile wrote to nominate her teacher as a teacher For Change, it’s clear Bongiwe Sokutu never sits still.

Teacher For Change Bongiwe Sokutu lends a hand as her learners try out their new iPads.  From left are Lutho Tsengiwe, Sichumile Dumalisile, Esihle Qangule, Yamkele Jele and Thembekile Somzana. Teacher For Change Bongiwe Sokutu lends a hand as her learners try out their new iPads. From left are Lutho Tsengiwe, Sichumile Dumalisile, Esihle Qangule, Yamkele Jele and Thembekile Somzana.
This Grade 10 to 12 English teacher not only runs an environmental club in charge of clean-up programmes and a garden project at Holy Cross High School in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, she also started a debate team for the school. Debating has helped shy pupils come out of their shell, with some students attending overseas debating competitions as far abroad as Romania and Jamaica.
'The passion and drive which Ms Sokutu has for this school and the learners are evident in the way she tackles her day-to-day operations.'

The debate team were also instrumental in helping the school win money, which Bongiwe then spent on creating a library in what was once a tuck shop. In addition, she’s inspired and supported learners to invest time in the Zingisa rehab centre, which caters for disabled people, the aged and people living with HIV/Aids.

“The word hero used to sound too magical to be applied to a human being,” Sichumile says. “Well, that was obviously before I met Miss Sokutu. It was when I met her that I realised a hero uses two hands and feet like myself, but it takes someone who knows how to use their voice and heart too.”

And now, thanks to General Motors, the students will receive an iPad lab from iSchoolAfrica. The lab contains 20 iPad Minis as well as a MacBook Pro laptop, a projector and an iTunes budget. The school also received an iPad Mini for Bongiwe to use, training, membership of the iSchoolAfrica iPad community and textbooks worth R80 000 from Oxford University Press. And the school will also become part of the Oxford Focus School project, ensuring ongoing support for the school from the publisher.

“The passion and drive which Ms Sokutu has for this school and the learners are evident in the way she tackles her day-to-day operations,” GMSA PR officer Thanusha Pillay says. “We hope that by lending a helping hand to Holy Cross High School, we’re able to significantly improve the educational journey of these learners.” Miss Sokutu was extremely excited when she heard they’d won the iPads. “I knew that the iPads would help us enrich the education of our learners and would allow the teachers to use technology to further our skills,” she says. And that it has.

In fact Bongiwe says the learners were so inspired by the experience of taking pictures and being able to research topics they suggested starting a school magazine, something they’ve never had until now. The main subjects they use the iPads for are maths, life orientation and physical science. The textbooks from Oxford University Press were used for grades 8 to 10, while some of the books were placed in the library so learners could use them.

“Some learners are avid readers and having these books in the library has enhanced their language skills,” Bongiwe says.

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