_: The Honourable Premier of Mpumalanga province
The Honourable MEC of Mpumalanga Department of Education
The Executive Mayor of the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality
The representative from the Mnisi Traditional Council
The Chairpersons of SOEs
The School Principal and the Chairperson of the SGB
The parents and the children – Avuxeni!
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today to celebrate with you the launch of the computer lab here at Mahlale Senior Secondary School
I am told that Mahlale has 542 girl learners. I am happy about this because it constitutes 50% of the school population. I am biased about girl learners because this month we are celebrating the huge contribution that was and is still played by women in the building of our nation.
Therefore, it is important for me to know that girls are taking education seriously and are empowered to be amongst the future leaders of our country.
On behalf of the Department of Communications (DoC), I wish to express our gratitude to the Ministry and the Department of Basic Education both at National and Provincial government for agreeing to partner with us and provide Information and Communications Technology (ICT) resources to ensure that our young people and community at large, are exposed to new technologies.
I would like to acknowledge the great support that has been provided by IT Master, and its Executive Director, Mr Stanton Pillay, who provided Local Area Network (LAN) and Internet connectivity to the school.
I would also like to thank INTEL Corporation, and its Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr Thabani Khupe, who provided training to the teachers for them to be able to integrate ICT into their teaching and learning. To me this is the complete package, because I don’t want a situation where computers are given to a school, and become “white elephants”, because teachers are not in a position to use them, and are unable to access the Internet.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to also acknowledge the Managing Director of community organisation, Mbhayimbhayi Trading, Mr. Pardon Ndlovu, who worked tirelessly with the school to facilitate this process of the school acquiring these computers. I am told he is a young man from the local community- your efforts are commendable and appreciated. We need more young leaders like yourself who don’t sit back and wait for government to provide, but take the initiative and work with us to improve the lives of our communities.
Today the DoC is handing over to the school 20 networked computers and 11 teachers trained in computer skills.
The recently published National Development Plan indicates that in 2012, 17% of South Africa’s population is able to access Internet. This is a firm indication of the growth in the number of people using ICTs. Young people embrace ICTs using new media.
We all know as we are gathered here that social media has revolutionised the way we communicate and this represents potential for growth and social cohesion.
Today our department also launches its social media pages and I urge you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (The Facebook account URL is http://www.facebook.com/DOCZA1, and the Twitter username is CommunicationsZA and the Twitter handle, @DocZA1).
As a parent and a teacher at heart, let me take this time and talk about the consequences of the abuse of technology. This may expose children to inappropriate information; it may cause cyber-bullying and the sms lingo may rob you of the knowledge of spelling and proper use of language.
In other words exercise caution when you do use these technologies and do not abuse them. However, the benefits, outweigh the challenges, so take it up and run with it, for the sky is the limit!
The DoC perceives young people as active advocates for the utilisation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and essential to the building of an inclusive Information Society. South Africa needs skilled people in mathematics and science and technology, and I believe that Mahlale Senior Secondary School through the donation of these computers, will produce the skills needed.
This initiative will encourage and assist our learners to do their best in their studies and also give them the courage and motivation to love subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
These computers will serve as education resources in addition to the text books used in the classroom. The educators will also begin to realise that technology provides an opportunity to bring innovation and creativity to the different subjects that they teach. This means that computers will play an important role alongside traditional approaches to teaching.
I have invited the ICT companies to come and demonstrate to the learners the number of opportunities that are there in the ICT sector. This will complement the careers in the Tourism sector which are mostly popular in the area. We now have careers such as e-Tourism, a combination of Tourism and ICTs. Please visit the exhibition stands as there is much to learn.
When I met with Hosi Mnisi, I made a commitment that I will add to this donation by setting up computer labs in two additional schools namely, Paulos Ngobeni Higher Primary School and Mhlangana High School. They will also receive a set of computers in due course.
It is important that all of us, Community leaders, parents and teachers, encourage our children to take advantage of technology. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that these computers are used efficiently and effectively. You are now connected to the rest of the world.
Apart from the educational benefit, these computers will also benefit the community as they can be used to obtain information about government services, type CVs, apply for jobs online and send e-mails. Please make good use of the opportunity that the DoC and its partners have presented to you through the donation of these computers.
Therefore, the security of this equipment is not the responsibility of Mahlale Principal and teachers only, but the entire community. SGB yi fanele ku va mahlo natindleve ta xikolo.
I will also have an opportunity to interact with the members of the community to hear how can we all work together to uplift Bushbuckridge.
As you are aware, government cannot work alone, and I sincerely appreciate the support given by the Business Sector to support the Department of Communications’ initiatives.
I would therefore like to thank the Department of Basic Education, IT Master, Intel SA, my staff at the Department of Communications, Mpumalanga Provincial Government, Ehlanzeni District Municipality, Bushbuckridge Local Municipality, and all the people who have made this event a success. Working together we are doing more for the people of South Africa.