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Computers for Education

With Computer Aid International we have participated in sending more than 2500 PCs to Southern Africa.

Southern African schools, colleges and Universities need PCs with Pentium I or 486 processors and which are equipped to handle MSWindows, at least Windows 3.x. If children do not have access to this modern technology, the past inequalities will simply continue.

So far we have shipped PCs which have been shared between Medunsa and its outreach projects, University of Fort Hare, University of Transkei, East London College, Rhodes University Department of Journalism for use by its students, community journalists in training and high school pupils in the GRAB project. Each of these institutions has agreed to use the computers for people in the surrounding communities as well as for their own students.

K.E.R.I.C., Khayelitsha Education and Resource Information Centre and Yomalela Primary School in Khayelitsha are two of our Western cape projects. many others have received computers from us through the Western Cape Schools Network, and the PC Bank Project of Rotary International and other partners.

Inanda Seminary, motto: “Shine where you are,” has been rebuilt by the graduates of the school. Nelson Mandela was their Patron. He was able to get South African businesses, led by SAPPI, to pay most of the costs.

Community H.E.A.R.T. has already supplied PCs to Inanda Seminary and as our contribution to reconstruction will provide another 22 PCs donated by City of London School in the UK.

Many schools do not yet have electricity supplied to them. That limits where PCs can be placed. More important is the lack of technicological backup to install and maintain the hardware, and to sort out software problems. It is for this reason that we work with established institutions which can provide the backup and training, one of which is Computer Aid International.

Community H.E.A.R.T. has been working very closely with schools in South Africa to find out how we can help. One of the projects that has evolved is the Prudens High School Project. The project involves Prudens High School and 4 other high schools in Tladi, Soweto. The aim is to set up a special facility in each school, Prudens with a computer suite, the others having a language, library, maths and science or an arts facility. The facilities will be accessed by pupils, teachers in all the schools and the local community.

Teachers from all the schools will also be trained in using the facilities. Already the computer suite has the 40 computers up and running and some teachers have already been trained. Teachers from each school will also help train their fellow teachers. The project so far has been extremely successful and we hope we will be able to set up similar projects in other areas of South Africa.

The initial cost of the project is the equipment, for example the computers and the transportation. Buying reconditioned computers from Computer Aid has kept project costs to a minimum. The costs associated with the running of the project are also covered by Community H.E.A.R.T.. The project requires a teacher/computer expert to keep it going, Meshack Motlhathudi is carrying out this function and we pay living expenses to allow him to do this which is part of the running costs.

This is an important project for the young people in South Africa to allow all of them to compete on a level playing field. We need donations to ensure we can keep the project going and hopefully start similar projects with other groups of schools in other areas of South Africa.