Mitsol appointed by African Bank to assist in the implementation of their CSI project the “ILEMBE SCHOOL CONNECTIVITY PROJECT”. Mitsol’s involvement included the design and implementation of the wireless infrastructure to connect 20 schools in outlying areas back to the nearest Mitsol pop. Mitsol continues to support and provide Internet breakout for the project, which is expect to eventually reach 238 schools.
A total of 150 computers to the value of R1 million were donated by Africa bank to the KZN Department of Education . Receiving the gift of life at the official handing-over ceremony was the MEC for Education, Mr ES Mchunu on behalf of 20 schools in the ILembe District. The Ilembe School Connectivity Project is worth R3.4 million, which is solely sponsored by African Bank.
Mr Angus Herselman, Corporate Social Investment Executive of African Bank handed over the computers to the MEC, at a ceremony held at the GTM Training Facility in Tongaat Industrial Park.
The primary purpose of this project was to empower school principals, school management teams, educators and learners in disadvantaged schools, to work towards closing the digital divide. This project would empower users to access the internet, improve the resource material used to teach and to enable them to communicate freely within the school and with the outside world via the internet. The intention was to supply computers and wireless internet connectivity into 20 schools including the training and development of the schools’ management team and teachers in the care/use of the computers and access to the internet. For example, instead of driving to a school to drop off a letter schools cannow email the documents to improve quality service delivery.
A total of 100 school staff, five per school in groups of 10s attended intensive training programs during the 2012 winter school holidays on how to use, look after, and how to use open source software similar to Microsoft Office and how to access the internet.
One educator per school went through intensive technical training to provide on-site support at the school. A full time Project Co-ordinator Mr Nathan Wit will be visiting the schools on a daily basis to ensure the project continues to operate and offer on-site support.
Many of the children have never been exposed to ICT nor have they experienced the benefits that the Internet brings to Education. Ilembe District has extended the design of the network which would then make it possible for IDM to wirelessly connect 20 schools. This will allow each school to receive free broadband and an equipped Internet Kiosk. This would enable the Principal, Staff and pupils to communicate with the outside world through email and in addition to connect to the Internet in order to gain access to a vast array of learning and research material.
African Bank together with Mitsol have connected the following 20 Schools via Wireless to the Internet:
Aldinville Primary, Ashram Primary, Dawnview Primary, Dr B.W Vilakazi, Enkukwini Primary, Glenhills Primary, Glenhills Secondary, Groutville Secondary, Lloyds Primary, Maguyane Primary, Mbekamuzi Primary, Melville Primary, R. Padayache Primary, R. Roopsingh Primary, Shakaskraal SA Primary, Stanger Primary, Stanger South Secondary, Thembeni Primary, Tinley Manor Primary, Zilungisele Primary
The project has been implemented in the KwaDukuza Municipality, Ilembe District, KwaZulu Natal. The large majority of funding for this particular project was sponsored by African Bank Development Trust in partnership with Enterprise Ilembe, Mitsol and GTM Training – all of whom contributed to the Project.
Mr Angus Herselman said that the main objective of the project was to bring better teaching resources to the 20 schools. The wish is to connect 238 schools with computers in the ILembe district.
The MEC in his address mentioned six challenges that faced the Department. One of them being to equip our classrooms with vital resources that will assist to deliver quality education.
He also expressed his appreciation and was pleased to be part of this important event. He said, “this partnership will make sense for the future of all South African children”.
“I am inspired by the loving gesture of African Bank to come on board to assist the Department of Education, I do not feel alone in the struggle to provide quality education and learning in the classrooms”, said the MEC. “We are always looking for other organizations to join us in our work. Afrisun have recently partnered with us to provide mobile libraries to four schools. Some of the projects we are involved specifically related to education are the following African Bank Development Trust projects.” said Ms Sue Hall, Project Manager of African Bank.
Partners in the project are: MEC for Education, Mr ES Mchunu, Department of Education, His Worship the Mayor, Councilor, Mr Sibusiso Welcome Mdabe, ILembe District Municipality, Enterprise Ilembe and Mitsol, Mr Angus Herselman, Corporate Social Investment Executive of African Bank, GTM Training and Ms Sue Hall, Project Manager for African Bank