CELD’s most ambitious project was bringing lap top computers to Zanempucuko Senior Secondary School in Ilitha township outside of King William’s Town, South Africa. The project was brought to a successful conclusion thanks to the leadership of Principle Mabi and the dedication and hard work of Tom Boyce and Joe Varozza of the Los Gatos Rotary Club with the support of Johan Mollentze and Malcolm Campbell of the King William’s Town Rotary Club. Ndumi Gola, a former member of CELD’s Board of Directors provided general oversight. The leadership of Sikiti Siyabonga, the project leader at the school, was indispensable as was support from Binqela the other computer teacher at the school. We also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Intel Corporation and the Rotary International Foundation for making the lap tops available.
This project brings e-learning to a neglected rural area of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. As one of the teachers said, you can try and explain to someone what a volcano is, but when they can actually see one it makes a tremendous difference in the learning experience.
When we visited the school in 2008, many of the students seemed insecure in their ability to compete at the next level of education. On a return visit in November 2011, every student we talked with directly expressed the goal of attending some of the top universities in the country when they graduate.
There is universal agreement that the computers have had a profound effect on teachers and students. The enrollment in the school increased from 660 in 2012 to 900 in 2014, in part because of the computers; students are enrolling that should be enrolling in schools further away. In addition, attendance is up because students are more interested in and motivated to study.
Teachers at the school have been empowered by the availability of computers. More of them have received training and can now use the computers (14 out of the 21 teachers at the school). Administrative work has been simplified and gets done faster. Communications have been improved through the use of e-mail. Several teachers have gotten their own computers to have at home. Because of access to the internet, course content has been upgraded and expanded.
For students, the impact has been equally profound. Course content has been improved so they are getting a better education. More students are graduating. More students are qualifying for the universities. More are applying to the universities. Applications are easier to fill out because they can be done on-line. Exams are taken on-line. Students are generally better prepared for life after matriculation. They are better qualified for employment because of their computer skills.
These computers have literally opened horizons for learners, and teachers, that they never considered before. Thank you for your support of this important project.
Excited learners with their new computers at Zanempucuko Senior secondary school in Illitha township