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 Centuryscience and technology centre, a project of STEM education specialist, SakhikamvaFoundation, sponsored by Software AG, brings the Grade 8-12 learners and their educatorsinto a unique community of practice to develop creative, critical thinking and problem-solvingskills.
STREAM (Science,Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Aeronautics and Mathematics)education focuses on the development of essential skills and knowledge, by enablingchildren to enjoy hands-on experience with the technologies that are currently re-shapingour world. It’s animportant priority for education in South Africa, where some children stillmatriculate without ever getting their hands on a computer.
KholiweMakhohliso, Country Managing Director for Software AG South Africa says,
“Community and skills development form a big part of our commitment to transformationgoals.It is a commitment that is deeply rooted in uplifting communities and bringing accessto technology and tools for the enhancement of skills aimed at South Africa’s youth. This hasled us to fund initiatives that put meaningful ideas into action; directly improve the well-beingof our communities and set examples for the future. We believe that access to 4iR skills is anecessity 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 previouslydisadvantaged communities.”
Sakhikamva Foundation is a non-profit organisation which has touched the lives of morethan 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-changingtechnologies that are fundamentally disrupting the work that humans do, South Africa facescritical challenges. Many schools lack access to basic technology; teachers are not taughthow 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 disproportionatelycut off from the resources they need for 4iR teaching and learning.
Outgoing Executive Director of Get Ahead Schools, Mariette Visser says, “Schools have toprepare students for the fast–changing world of work. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is notin 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 mind–sets in a playful manner. Now our College students will have the benefit of a 4iR STREAM laboratory whichwill expose them to robotics and coding for the first time.”
Vicki Du Preez, the newlyappointed Head adds: “Confidence in 21stCentury skills will allow our students to take calculated risks and be resilient when they get into the workplace. We want to thank oursponsors 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 Gammaeducation platform and includes tablets and drones as well as AI, robotics and app-makingkits.
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 betrained in STREAM philosophy and teaching methodologies, and learners will enter into afascinating new world during their Technology classes and through after-school activities.
This is a fantastic new space for real 21st Century skills development in Komaniis a strong,4iR learning centre, fully equipped with tech and connectivity, to empower learners todevelop as the leaders, innovators, change agents and problem-solvers in their community.”
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