The Deputy Minister of Telecommunications amp Postal Services, Hon. Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize along with one of the department’s delivery arms, Sentech today launched a computer laboratory at Radipeu Primary Farm School, at Malekgere in Vanderbijlpark.
Amongst the key guests, the launch that was also attended by the acting local district municipality mayor Khulu Malindi, parents and community members.
The Deputy Minister’s address was anchored around the International World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Sunday. This will be celebrated on Sunday, 17 May under the theme: “Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of innovation”
The 17th of May every year marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. This year, 2015, marks the 150th anniversary of the International Telecommunication Union.
Speaking during the event, Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize told the very excited learners that any road to success started with education and encouraged them to aspire to being future scientists, engineers and leaders in the telecommunications sector. Further to this, the Deputy Minister pointed out that the computer laboratory brought with it new opportunities for the children and also new learning methods.
A total of 20 laptops, WAN access equipment, air conditioner, and a mobile trolley for the laptops were donated to the school by Sentech as part the Department’s Schools Connectivity Project that aims to ensure that all educational institutions in the country are connected. Prof. Mkhize gave a history of how the project of schools connectivity started after the 2010 soccer world cup. The project was started as the 2010 World Cup Legacy Project and to this date it is still continuing.
“We are raising our glasses high with the world and embrace the endless possibilities that broadband connectivity brings”, the Deputy Minister who was overpowered by joy said.
The purpose of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
Prof. Mkhize said government has made a commitment to expand, modernise and increase the affordability of information and communications infrastructure and electronic communication services, including broadband and digital broadcasting.
“A response to this commitment is the “South Africa Connect”, which is our Broadband Policy and Strategy, adopted by cabinet in December 2013″ she said.
Mr. Kopano Thage from Sentech said that Prof Mkhize had made a call to them for the school to be connected, a project that they had taken on without looking back.
Thage explained that prior to connecting the classroom they had started with the refurbishment of the classroom that was going to be used as a lab.
“We want to ensure that underserviced areas are connected,” he said.
For Sentech to deliver on the Deputy Minister’s request, the company had to work with a private sector company called Avante.
Shaun Hathrill, from Avante said that the company is responsible for the installation of i-Labs, a model that they use in other countries like Kenya and Tanzania where they have seen effective results.
Malindi said that they were very happy for the donation as it was going to empower the pupils.
He also urged both the teachers and the parents to look after the new laptops.
“They are now everyone’s responsibility and we have to make sure that they remain secure,” he said.
The acting school Principal Nandi Motloung said they were very grateful for the donation.
The school is a no fee (section 21) public school with a total of 295 registered learners from Grade R up to Grade seven. With the challenge of having only nine teachers, the school also have other critical challenges that include water and sanitation.
Issued by: Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services
Source : South African Government