Tech skills boost for high school pupils

An Athlone high school is part of a pilot programme that will see a tech training company provide free computer lessons to Grade 8 pupils.

The programme is set to start at Ned Dorman High School next week after being launched there on Wednesday November 8. It’s a partnership between the company and the Athlone SAPS Youth Desk’s Soar Movement, a community-based organisation helping the youth.

Athlone police station spokeswoman, Sergeant Zita Norman, said knowing how to use a computer was an important skill and it was hoped the training would have a ripple effect with the pupils passing their skills onto family and friends.

“Many parents can’t afford this programme, which will be given for free at schools,” she said, adding that they hoped to roll the programme out to more Cape Flats schools with computer labs. “We want to give them the same platform that affluent schools have. Children on the Cape Flats don’t have many opportunities.”

A representative from the tech company, Claire Youngman, said Ned Doman High School was piloting the initiative in the province, and 180 licences for the computer program that will be used to train the pupils had been granted to the school. Earlier this year, the company launched the initiative at schools in Johannesburg and gave 700 licences to pupils there.

An e-payment company was funding the initiative, she said.

“There are over 40 000 tech jobs available daily and we want our youth to be able to get these jobs. We want them to be able to take these subjects in Grade 10. Many of them don’t know how to use technology and can’t apply it. You can go anywhere in the world with IT. There is a huge lack of skills in youth today.”

Ned Doman High School principal, Gwynne Philander, said the initiative would help pupils to become “tech aware” on laptops and computers.

“All parents do not have the capacity and means to have computer access at home. The school dearly wishes for all its learners to acquire these IT skills. The programme is a systematic attempt to enrich the scope of learner knowledge and skills. Every child that gets to complete or engage with a programme such as this one, becomes empowered beyond where they were before they started.

“While this concept is obvious, it is exactly what education is – a systematic process of empowerment that extends the insight and knowledge of the world and the worlds within our world,” he said.

For more information, click on TechWays.Online or call Claire Youngman on 082 793 9908.