Government, universities and the IT industry last week collaborated to implement internet access in KZN schools.
Ebrahim Asmal, senior lecturer and the project leader at DUT has initiated a project to prepare KZN schools for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). DUT’s vision is to have 6000 schools in KZN to be internet ready by 2020.
In phase one of the pilot project, South Coast Madressa Primary School in Clairwood, was the first school to receive a sponsorship of a router to enable internet access.
The KZN Department of Education’s Dr Thami Nkabinde from Maths, Science and Technology wing, responsible for the implementation of e-learning in schools, said, “We are mplementing a project called coding and robotics in public schools. We are thankful for the sponsorship to South Coast Madressa. The router will enable the school to have internet access to implement the coding and robotics subjects. We are grateful to DUT for training the teachers.“ said Nkabinde.
Nkabinde said that the department’s vision for 4IR is teaching for all, with no community or pupil left behind.
“As a country we are struggling with technology. With 4IR we need to leapfrog and start at an earlier age to make sure technology is for all, “ added Nkabinde.
Durban based Renric Business Solutions, in partnership with their distributor Pinnacle, sponsored the router to South Coast Madressa.
Farah Sayed, sales manager of Pinnacle said, “We are happy to be supporting our partner Renric Business Solutions. This is a first of the sponsorships to uplift the community and we look forward to partnering with Renric on more of these projects.”
Altaf Hoosen, the principal of South Coast Madressa Primary School expressed his joy about receiving the sponsorship.
He said the staff and pupils are thrilled.
” Clairwood is a poor suburb. I am delighted that my school has got the pilot project off the ground. Having internet access is a big step forward for my pupils, ” said Hoosen.
Professor Sibusiso Moyo, deputy vice chancellor: research, innovation and engagement at DUT said the collaboration between DUT, the KZN Department of Education and the IT industry, is making a big difference at poor schools.
“Currently we are relying heavily on government to supply the IT needs of schools and delivery is slow. I was shocked to learn that the school does not have access to internet. Now, 64 pupils have access to the internet. It is a big achievement but a small number. We should be doing more,” she said.
Moyo added that DUT and the KZN Department of Education are working together to find solutions to the challenges of data costs and access to the internet.
“We can achieve more if universities, business, communities and schools work together” concluded Moyo.