A group of 135 community members who successfully completed a Computer Literacy Training programme at the University of the Free State (UFS) is ready to impart knowledge to society to advance development.
They received certificates at a graduation event held at the UFS on 1 November. The members originate from Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu.
The programme aims at improving technology skills in communities. Candidates receive basic training over nine weeks on advanced features of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. In the second semester they attend classes every Friday in one of the UFS’s computer laboratories.
The UFS works are joined an eight-year partnership with the Mangaung Concerned Residents (MCR) who select and recommend individuals for training. The South African Red Cross Society has also been providing volunteer training since 2018.
The UFS provides free transportation for the participants.
Rouxan Fouche, lecturer at the Department of Computer Science and Informatics, said training forms part of the Information Technology Service Learning module, taken by second-year students.
“It provides them with an opportunity to share knowledge and learn to work with different people in society.”
Andile Mooketsi of MCR said they worked with local community radio Motheo FM and used social media to recruit people committed to upskilling themselves.
“The importance of computer literacy and its impact in the successful application for work is often overlooked.”
Some community members who completed the courses have found employment in the private and public sector.
“We learned quite a lot. No other university or college could offer a computer course for free,” said Rethabile Ramosoeu.
“Training has put seed in our hands. It is up to us to plan and reap the rewards,” said Thabo Tolk.
Claudia Mangwegape, SA Red Cross Free State branch manager, encouraged participants to be positive and apply for jobs with their certificates.