An innovative mobile technology teaching programme is inspiring young and old in the rural Eastern Cape.
School pupils and community members in Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo district villages are embracing the Ubuntu Renaissance Global (Urglobal) programme founded by Luleka Mkuzo, DispatchLIVE reports.
The programme is not just a platform for education but provides access to virtual resources.
Mkuzo’s Mobile Rural Technology Park first started in schools where she taught pupils how to use laptops and tablets.
The initiative grew when older community members, seeing the benefits, began to show interest.
Now Mkuzo works with pupils and adult members of these communities on how to navigate digital devices.
Urglobal has worked with schools in the two districts, including Bushulas Junior Secondary School (JSS), Luphilisweni JSS, Mndela JSS, Arise JSS, Sijadu Senior Primary School (SPS), Mbenya SPS, Mfundambini SPS and Kubha SPS.
Mkuzo, who was born in Kubha, travels to each school with the devices.
The schools are in the rural villages of Kwatshuze, Luphilisweni, Kubha, Kwamphetshwa and Envis.
Volunteers in each community assist with the programme.
After resigning from her full-time job in the mining industry in 2016, Mkuzo, whose passion lies in rural development, approached principals, governing bodies, community members and traditional leaders who expressed that technology was a problem.
“Schools and communities were not resourced with technological devices to carry out educational teachings or for recreational purposes,” Mkuzo says.
“Our people didn’t have access to basic technology. The way in which the world is going has shown how much of a necessity it is to be able to navigate virtual devices.
“The programme has been a positive mental and confidence booster to learners and the adults who’ve been part of the programme.
“A new hope has been born and dreams are being revived,” Mkuzo says.
Principal of Bushulas JSS, Matanzima Lutseke, said the programme began in 2017 at the school with grade 7 and 8 pupils.
“The grade 7 class had 37 learners, now it has 99, while the grade 9 class had 40 and now it has 124,” Lutseke says.
“The mobile technology programme has been extremely helpful and allowed our pupils to be technologically savvy.”
Urglobal has now also started working in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The aim is to create sustainability through the Mobile Rural Technology Park,” Mkuzo says.
Mkuzo says with the help of the SAB Foundation, Urglobal received 21 new laptops, Juno Coding Keys, a drone, Google Assistant software and virtual reality headsets.