LEPHALALE — Eskom, in partnership with T Systems, an IT services and consulting company, officially launched the brand new Internet and Wi-Fi system at Lephalale TVET College on Friday 18 March.
A programme manager of T Systems, Frans du Toit, explained that this initiative means that no matter where you walk on the campus, you will be connected.
The new technology enables students to access internet for research, work-related sites and learning purposes in all the classes, but a firewall prevents the students from being able to access social media and inappropriate websites while in class. Free Wi-Fi that includes social media websites is accessible in the cafeteria and on designated areas on campus.
The team from T Systems say that they are committed to the programme and will provide continuous support.
All classes are equipped with “interactive whiteboards” meaning that the educator can be anywhere in the class and still have access to the whiteboard in front of the class. This technology ensures access from a tablet or laptop, and all the students can see how to do something while the educator demonstrates on the whiteboard.
Sheila Motsepe, Executive Representative and HR Director at T Systems remarked that the future of learning is e-learning and even though people will continue to read books, they will increasingly use the internet. “So, it is our contribution to young learners. Using the internet is making learning easier” she said.
She said that educators can now prepare in advance which means that the quality of learning and teaching can improve.
It also means that the students will know in advance what is expected from them for the whole semester, and they can prepare in advance. “For us this project is very exciting, because the kind of people that get education like this are the kind of people we would want to bring into the organisation – who will even lead in future” she explained.
Malena van der Westhuizen, Head of Academy and Lectures, said students just have to apply for internships at T Systems. “We started this programme in 2006 and during this time we have had more than 600 interns and employment of over 85%. We do not only employ from Johannesburg, we definitely look abroad and obviously for the right skills” she said. Sheila Motsepe on behalf of T Systems said students must prioritise themselves and their future. “What we can do as corporates, is to support them in that journey. They need to understand it is their assets, their investment and investment in their future.
Just like all of us were supported to get where we are now is how we would like to support them. They can take over from us in future, so please do not destroy this investment” she added.
Phillip Dukashe, Project Director at Medupi, said “clearly it is something that is adding value and investment in their education. It is heart-warming for us to be able to witness the outcome of all the work that has been done. I want to emphasize that I take education very seriously – you can change lives, communities and the whole country by investing in education” he said.
He furthermore said that currently there are several Medupi Initiatives running at TVET and Medupi has adopted TVET among other projects.
TVET principal, Lekau Mamabolo, said this new project supports teaching and learning which TVET’s core business is.
“We are living in an information age and there is no way that students, wherever they are coming from, are raised with not knowing what is happening in IT. This initiative is very critical because it supports interactive learning, e-books, e-learning and that is the route that we as a college would like to go. Sometimes people go overboard and visit inappropriate sites. The IT Department will be blocking sites like porn and U-Tube. With this approach, there are dedicated areas for social media like Facebook. Sites that do not add value to teaching and learning can be blocked” he confirmed.
“When you talk about accessibility in classrooms – students can assess areas to enhance teaching and learning like research or any material used by educators. It makes lessons more interesting”.
Mamabolo’s final message to the students is: we are pleading with you – this project is an investment of millions of Rand. Let’s respect gadgets and do not tamper with them. Let’s engage whenever there are differences and let’s avoid the damaging of properties – this is a project to enhance your own future” he concluded.