Five years ago, IT Entrepreneur ,Shermar Stuart matriculated from Bechet High School. He recently returned to his old high school to set up a data-less streaming device for pupils to pick up educational content on the school grounds and catch up what they missed during lockdown.
First in line are Bechet’s 240 matrics who have missed out on so much work this year due to lockdown. The rest of the grades will follow.“All that a pupil need is a device that could be a phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. They do not need data, any internet connection, or even a sim card.This makes our solution extremely practical, cost-effective, and useful,” said Stuart.
Stuart’s business partner, Andile Mchunu who hails from Escourt , highlighted the difference online access had made in his life: “It doesn’t make you less smart, if you don’t have access to information. Access is just such a privilege. You need money to have access and we’re removing that obstacle,” said the Wits University graduate.
Monique Mukendi ,Bechet High Matriculant said access to online information on the school grounds would help her with research for assignments as there was often no data at home for her to do so.“It’s very motivating,” said the 17-year-old who hopes to study IT followed by tourism after school.
Laiken Starkey, another Bechet High Matriculant said the programme would help her catch up on much of the work she had missed. Stuart hopes to extend the project to other schools without the advantage of wi-fi hotspots and whose pupils don’t always have data at home.
Principal Abbie Dalton, who once taught Stuart, said his idea filled a desperate need.“We, generally, service the poorest of the poor. Many pupils do not even have phones, and we try to find old devices for them. A large percentage asks for an exemption from school fees.Many teachers cover the gap, providing lunch and helping with transport. Thank God for the people who are willing to assist,” said Dalton.