Learners who attend rural schools in South Africa often do not have access to technology and thus do not know how to use a computer effectively. However a new initiative is working to change that reality in rural Eastern Cape through a thriving, innovative mobile technology teaching programme.
School pupils and community members in Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo district villages are embracing the Ubuntu Renaissance Global (Urglobal) programme founded by Luleka Mkuzo. With the help of the SAB Foundation, Urglobal received 21 new laptops, Juno Coding Keys, a drone, Google Assistant software and virtual reality headsets.
Mkuzo’s Mobile Rural Technology Park first started in schools where she taught pupils how to use laptops and tablets. The initiative grew bigger, when older community members, seeing the benefits, volunteered to assist with the programme in each community.
Now Mkuzo works with pupils and adult members of these communities on how to navigate digital devices.Urglobal has worked with schools in the two districts, including Bushulas Junior Secondary School (JSS), Luphilisweni JSS, Mndela JSS, Arise JSS, Sijadu Senior Primary School (SPS), Mbenya SPS, Mfundambini SPS and Kubha SPS.
After resigning from her full-time job in the mining industry in 2016, Mkuzo, whose passion lies in rural development, approached principals, governing bodies, community members and traditional leaders who expressed that technology was a problem.
“We all want to take part in the 4th Industrial Revolution. Inclusion is the word of the day. Schools and communities were not resourced with technological devices to carry out educational teachings or for recreational purposes. Our people didn’t have access to the basic technology. The way in which the world is going has shown how much of a necessity it is to be able to navigate virtual devices,” said Mkuzo.
The programme has been a positive mental and confidence booster to learners and the adults who’ve been part of the programme. The principal of Bushulas JSS, Matanzima Lutseke confirmed that the programme began in 2017 at the school with grade 7 and 8 pupils.
“The grade 7 class had 37 learners, now it has 99, while the grade 9 class had 40 and now it has 124,”. The mobile technology programme has been extremely helpful and allowed our pupils to be technologically savvy,” said Lutseke