Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Education And Training Tech

Get Ahead College, Komani, launches 4iR Classroom

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An exciting world of drones, 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence has opened up for the  high school  students and teachers at the Get Ahead College in Komani, Eastern Cape, with the  establishment of a 4iR STREAM Laboratory at their campus.   The 21st Century science  and technology centre, a project of STEM education specialist, Sakhikamva Foundation, sponsored by Software AG, brings the Grade 8-12 learners and their educators into  a unique community  of practice to develop creative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
 
STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Aeronautics and Mathematics) education  focuses on the development of essential skills and knowledge, by enabling children  to enjoy hands-on experience with the technologies that are currently re-shaping our world. It’s an important  priority  for education  in South Africa, where some children still matriculate  without ever getting their hands on a computer. 
Kholiwe Makhohliso, Country Managing Director for Software AG South Africa says,
Community and skills development form a big part of our commitment to transformation goals.It is a commitment that is deeply rooted in uplifting communities and bringing access to  technology and tools for the enhancement of skills aimed at South Africa’s youth. This has led  us to fund initiatives that put meaningful  ideas into action; directly improve the well-being of  our communities and set examples for the future.  We believe that access to 4iR skills is a necessity and no one should be left behind. To this end, we have chosen to partner with Sakhikamva Foundation  to establish innovation labs  and 4iR classrooms in previously disadvantaged  communities.” 
Sakhikamva Foundation is a non-profit organisation which has touched the lives of more than  130 000 children  through its range of STREAM enrichment programmes, including connecting  SA schools to science projects underway on the International Space Station.  
When it comes to educating the youth for the 4iR, which features world-changing technologies  that are fundamentally disrupting the work that humans do, South Africa faces critical challenges.  Many schools lack access to basic technology; teachers are not taught how  to develop 4iR  skills in the classroom; Internet access is far from universal and still costs  too much, and schools in rural and low income communities  remain disproportionately cut off from the resources they need for 4iR teaching and learning. 
 
Outgoing Executive Director of Get Ahead Schools, Mariette Visser says, “Schools have to prepare  students for the fastchanging world of work.  The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not in  the future; it is here now. 
Get Ahead is fortunate to have makerspace rooms in both our  primary  schools where our students can tinker and develop design mindsets in a playful manner.  Now our College students will have the benefit of a 4iR STREAM laboratory which will expose  them to robotics and coding for the first time.”  
Vicki Du Preez, the newly appointed  Head adds:  “Confidence in 21st Century skills will allow our students to take calculated risks and be  resilient when they get into the workplace. We want to thank our sponsors  for bringing this kind of technology to Get Ahead and the community of Komani. 
Teachers and learners will be excited and intrigued with the 4iR laboratory, and in this year 
of COVID-19, this is exactly what they need to enjoy school again.”Get Ahead’s   invigorating STREAM  Laboratory is powered by the innovative Gamma education platform and includes  tablets and drones as well as AI, robotics and app-making kits.   
Founder of  Sakhikamva Foundation, forensic scientist and pilot, Fatima Jakoet says,“With the opening of this STREAM Laboratory, we are delighted to welcome Get Ahead College  into our family where curiosity and wonder are highly prized.  Teachers will be trained in STREAM  philosophy and teaching methodologies, and learners will enter into a fascinating  new world during their Technology classes and through after-school activities.  
This is a fantastic new space for real 21st Century skills development in Komani is a strong, 4iR learning centre, fully equipped with tech and connectivity, to empower learners to develop  as the leaders, innovators, change agents and problem-solvers in their community.” 

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