Telecommunications giant Telkom has pledged R200-million over the next five years towards a scalable three-phased strategy to deploy educational programmes in high schools in disadvantaged communities.
Through the group’s Connected Schools Programme (CSP) and Supplementary Teaching Programme, Telkom’s investment aims to contribute towards improving the quality of teaching and learning, with a specific focus on mathematics, science and English, preparing students for a potential career in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
“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 mathematics and science at a school level has increased, this has not been supported by actual large-scale investment,” says group CEO Sipho Maseko.
Telkom plans to equip schools with the required ICT equipment, starting with communities in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
As part of the CSP, five Tshwane West high schools, namely NM Tsuene High in Ga-Rankuwa, Ruabohlale High and Seageng High in Soshangue, Winterveldt High and MH Baloyi High in Winterveldt, will be equipped with high-technology infrastructure.
Each of the five schools will receive upgrades of new furniture and a computer lab for 50 users, while 943 learners and 60 teachers will receive 2-in-1 tablets and 60 laptops, preloaded with educational content.
The technology will be protected by 24-hour security.
Roll-out of the donation across schools in Port Elizabeth will follow in due course, with a phase roll-out planned for the rest of the country.
The programme is targeting about 2 700 learners and 120 teachers in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape over a five-year period.
Telkom’s Supplementary Teaching Programme, aimed at helping Grade 8 to Grade 12 learners improve the quality of their marks, will absorb some R130-million of the R200-million investment.
The Supplementary Teaching Programme focuses on the training of teachers and learners, taking into account psychosocial elements and aiming to sustain the learners’ performance through support and understanding of the effect their home environment can have on their academic performance and life skills.