Facilitating growth

By admin
22 October 2012

Cellular network Vodacom believes in creating opportunities.

Digital literacy is becoming increasingly important and without a PC and internet access it’s easy to fall behind in today’s world.

That’s why cellular network Vodacom, in partnership with the department of basic education, is transforming lives with Vodacom Mobile Education, which forms part of the Connect for Good project, aimed at establishing communication and information technology centres in disadvantaged communities.

Each centre has 50 computers with software from Microsoft, Cisco and Mindset networked to 200 surrounding schools, as well as a study space with a library and a career-guidance service. The centres also train educators to modernise their classrooms with the use of mobile technology and the internet. About 80 teachers in each province are being selected for a special programme aimed at improving maths and science teaching. These teachers are provided with laptops with unlimited internet usage, multimedia projectors and interactive whiteboards.

The centres are open for free to the community and have given many a second chance and renewed hope. Gugulethu Mahlangu (19) began using the eMalahleni centre in Witbank, Mpumalanga, this year and now spends most of her time there. She wasn’t happy with her matric results last year and knew she wouldn’t get into a good university based on her performance.

She needed to improve her maths and science marks. “I wasn’t at a bad school and I’m not a bad student but I think I needed more effective teaching,” she says. Determined to improve her results, she decided to take a gap year to work towards studying biochemistry. Since February Gugulethu’s been catching a bus every weekday at 6:30 am to arrive an hour later for a day of studying.

She can’t stress enough her gratitude towards the centre that’s enabled her to follow her dream. “It’s made a huge difference. I don’t know how I’d have done this otherwise.” She has daily access to digital classrooms and the internet in the computer room, receiving tutoring and attending classes every day. She especially likes the well-equipped science centre.

Exams are coming up in November and there’s still a lot of work to do but Gugulethu is confident she’ll reap the rewards of the effort she’s put in over the past few months and gain admission to university. In the future she’d like to start a school to help others.

That’s precisely what Vodacom had in mind with its corporate social investment project Vodacom Mobile Education: creating growth points of education where the opportunity one person receives can be turned into opportunities for others. More than 70 per cent of SA’s schools don’t have access to PCs or the internet. This means thousands of children have never sent an e-mail or looked up information online. With projects such as Vodacom Mobile Education, Vodacom wants to give young people a fighting chance in life, empowering them and unlocking their potential – especially in remote parts of the country.

The youth are SA’s future and it’s important to prepare them for the challenges of a digital world. It’s vital youngsters are familiar with technologies that will form the backbone of key aspects of their lives. Vodacom’s efforts are the beginning of something special and essential to the growth and prosperity of South Africa.

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