Telkom and the Department of Basic Education today announced a pledge by the telecoms company to allocate funds towards ICT, maths and science education in a number of South African schools.
The Telkom Foundation pledged R200 million over the next five years to contribute towards improving the quality of teaching and learning in two provinces, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, in Port Elizabeth and Tshwane West respectively.
The programme kicked off in Tshwane West where five schools (NM Tsuene High in Ga-Rankuwa, Ruabohlale High and Seageng High in Soshanguve, Winterveldt High and MH Baloyi High in Winterveldt), received high-tech infrastructure as part of the company’s Connected Schools Programme (CSP).
The CSP is a three-phased programme that aims to assist high school pupils to improve their performance, in the subjects of maths, science and English. The programme identifies, develops and supports pupils to ensure they are aptly prepared for employment in ICT related careers.
Each of the five schools will receive upgrades to meet the 21st century look and feel with new furniture and a computer lab each for 50 users. About 943 pupils and 60 teachers will receive two-in-one tablets and 60 laptops, which are loaded with educational content.
Telkom also announced a Supplementary Programme to support Grade eight pupils through to matric to improve the quality of their passes. R130 million will be allocated towards this. The programme aims to benefit 3 000 pupils in total in year one with 934 pupils taking part.
“It has been made very clear that we have a significant skills gap in South Africa, as well as a lack of connectivity in certain areas. While the focus on subjects such as Maths and Science at a school level has increased, this has not been supported by actual large-scale investment. We are changing that. Through this type of investment, we are training learners and teachers, equipping schools and supporting the Department of Basic Education by creating environments which encourage growth and development,” said Telkom’s Group CEO, Sipho Maseko.
“The continuous and valued contribution by Telkom to assist the department in placing key ICT devices in the hands of our teachers and learners, has the potential to break the digital divide and indeed assist us in improving the ICT professional development of all teachers involved,” said Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga.