New education centre grows in popularity

2015-07-22 06:01
PHOTO: tania sandberg

Siyakha Educational Centre trainer and acting centre manager, Gerrit van der Westhuizen with a student, Umadevi Moonilal at the leadership academy.

PHOTO: tania sandberg Siyakha Educational Centre trainer and acting centre manager, Gerrit van der Westhuizen with a student, Umadevi Moonilal at the leadership academy.

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SINCE Siyakha Learning Lab opened its doors four months ago, hundreds of people of all ages have upskilled in information technology and other essential employment skills. The popularity of the free learning centre is evident from a growing waiting list to attend courses.

“It has been an eye opener to see how hungry the community is for learning. It has been inspirational to see how dedicated course attendees are, not missing any classes and arriving on time,” trainer and acting centre manager, Gerrit van der Westhuizen says.

The educational centre consists of four areas - the “Think Tank”, a training centre offering various free courses, an educational centre where anyone can use the centre’s facilities which includes text books and computer “hives” and i-pad “trees” connected to the internet to conduct self-study and a study bar where visitors can use their own devices.

“This is really our part of giving back to the community, by improving and building on their skills,” said Van der Westhuizen.

The courses are run over five weeks and consist of either a morning session from 9am to 12pm or an afternoon session from 1pm to 4pm, Monday to Thursday. On Fridays there are no scheduled classes, enabling students to do revision and get one-on-one training. Attendees write exams and are issued with attendance certificates. They are also issued with a so-called “passport” which shows their attendance and are signed daily by trainers.

“It has been so motivating to see the dedicated students. One of them has health challenges which prevent him from working and he has used the opportunity to upskill himself, attending every day,” said Van der Westhuizen.

The first course is an introduction to computers and includes hardware, software, MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint, Facebook basics and e-mail.

“It is really important as a free facility to keep our standards high,” Van der Westhuizen added.

The centre is currently running a course on leadership based on how to act as a leader in the workplace and addresses leadership styles. In August, the centre is hosting their ‘Welcome to English’ course. To attend, simply register with the Siyakha Learning Lab in Galleria. They will add your name to a list. A proficiency test will determine whether one would attend the basic or the more advanced class.

All the computers are loaded with educational software, curriculum-based for all school grades which covers a variety of subjects including maths, English and Afrikaans. The centre can also accommodate a class of pupils at a time

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