Donated computers to change learners’ lives

Saturday, August 23, 2014

By More Matshediso

Nelspruit – For the first time in his life, 15-year-old Mbongeni Ngomani will be able to log on to a computer when he gets to his school on Monday.

Mbongeni is one of 678 learners at Phatfwa Secondary School in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga who will benefit from 15 computers donated to the school by Land Bank.

Speaking to SAnews on Friday as Deputy Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams handed over the computers, Mbongeni said having access to the technology will assist the school in improving learner’s computer skills.

“I am feeling good about our school receiving these computers because my performance in technology and other subjects is going to improve,” he said.

The Grade 8 learner lives with his grandmother while his parents and two siblings live in Clau-clau, in Ehlanzeni. “My parents do not work, we depend on social grants to survive at home.”

The school’s principal, Phillip Mabuza, said learners will now master basic computer skills, as most of them, like Mbongeni, have never used a computer before.

“Our learners will not struggle much when they go to tertiary institutions,” he said.

Most of the learners come from impoverished backgrounds and they need resources to keep up with the education system.

Mabuza said Phatfwa Secondary School already had computer literate teachers who would be able to teach learners basic computer skills, although in the future he would need a teacher who specialises in computer systems as a subject.

He was excited to add to the facilities already at the school aimed at ensuring learners were well-rounded individuals like the sports grounds and school hall.

The handover of the computers formed part of the Deputy Minister’s Imbizo programme to the province and celebration of Women’s Month.

Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams encouraged the girl children at the school to carry forward the legacy left by the women of 1956, who marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the apartheid pass laws.

She said young girls needed to understand what the Women’s Charter was about and try to apply it to their current situations.

“Our government today is faced with new challenges of women and children abuse… you too [girls] should help us fight and win the battle against abuse. You should keep away from underage drinking because most men take advantage of girls who are intoxicated,” said the Deputy Minister.

She encouraged learners to focus on their education so that they can improve their living conditions.

Corporate Social Investment Specialist at Land Bank, Queen Mutheiwana, said Land Bank had donated the computers in support of government’s National Development Plan, which prioritises quality education, amongst other things.

Mutheiwana said the donation would ensure learners who were historically disadvantaged were on the same par as their peers in the cities.

“Learners at Phatfwa are from the rural areas, and they are far from everything. We gave them the computers to make it easy for them to access information related to their studies, and do research on universities,” said Mutheiwana.

Also as part of commemorating Women’s Month, the Deputy Minister handed over 20 Open View HD television set installations at women-led households in Mbonisweni.

Marketing Manager of Open View HD, Shalamar Zandamela, said the satellite and decoder did not require owners to pay monthly instalments once installed.

“The benefit of this decoder is that once you’ve paid for the installation, which costs between R850 and R1600, you can have access to over 18 television channels, including SABC and etv plus.”

She said the channels showed local and international content to allow consumers to stay abreast of the happenings in their communities and around the world.

She said there were also educational programmes that will help learners get more information about their school work.

“During school holidays, learners will be able to revise their work and improve their grades,” she added. - SAnews.gov.za

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