Education for learners in about 50 schools in the Northern Cape is set to become more exciting, thanks to the introduction of a wireless network in the area.
The then Science and Technology Deputy Minister Michael Masutha launched the wireless network, which will give thousands of learners in the JT Gaetsewe District Municipality access to the internet.
The Wireless Mesh Network (WMN) project is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) aimed at demonstrating alternative models in establishing information and communication technology (ICT) infra- structure in rural areas.
The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Meraka Institute.
Speaking at the launch held at Learamele Special School, the then Deputy Minister Masutha said having access to ICT would help rural communities to access information. “These days it is common knowledge that ICT has a positive impact on people’s lives.”
He said a number of ICT projects were being introduced to improve education.
“As a department, in partnership with other stakeholders, we have developed a 10-year roadmap,” he said.
A Grade 9 learner from nearby Iketletso Middle School, Thato Kgosierileng, expressed his excitement at having access to the internet.
“Now am able to search for information on the computer without having to go to the library,” he said.
Thato, who started using a computer for the first time at school, said the few hours he had spent on it were very informative.
“With a computer, one can do a lot of things in a short space of time,” he said.
A teacher at Learamele, Boitshoko Bannane, said the use of computers would expand learning possibilities.
“This will help … learners conduct research. I have also noticed that the learners have developed a great deal of interest in learning using computers,” he said.
Education district director Vuyisile Teise said the introduction of computers would improve the learning process. “The learners will now be able to download information from computers. Everything is now at their fingertips,” he said.
The DST launched the initial phase of this initiative in Sekhukhune in Limpopo and Ekangala in Mpumalanga in 2010, connecting 212 public facilities including schools, circuit offices and colleges.