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[South Africa] RuraTech makes STEM skills more accessible to schools

[South Africa] RuraTech makes STEM skills more accessible to schools

With the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills top of South Africa’s education agenda, preparing the youth for a 4IR-focused world of work comes down to providing more digital literacy opportunities at school level.

RuraTech, a private company with a social intent spearheading a number of digital literacy projects, is supporting learners in rural and disadvantaged areas of the country to be part of this movement through its digital library initiative.

This project provides schools with a mobile ‘tablet trolley’, equipped with 40 Windows and/or Android tablets, a teacher’s laptop and a free offline educational server. Furthermore, the school will enjoy the benefits of uninterrupted learning and internet connectivity through Vuma's Fibre to School Programme and the UPS device also part of the equipment provided. RuraTech is able to provide a solar-powered computer lab, which is built in a standard 40-foot recycled shipping container and designed to meet the needs of rural schools that do not have brick and mortar classrooms or access to electricity.

“RuraTech is a fairly young initiative, but in the short time that we’ve been operating we have managed to make a big impact through our various initiatives,” says Jeffrey Katuruza, Director and founder of RuraTech. “We have equipped eight schools and over 6,000 beneficiaries to access crucial digital literacy resources, and the numbers are growing.”

Having partnered with Vuma, RuraTech has also been able to expand its reach to more schools across the country, to provide learners with access to online resources, as well as digital literacy materials that RuraTech has made available to access offline.

According to Chanteline Le Roux, the principal of Fernwood Park Primary School in Bethelsdorp, Gqeberha the recent introduction of a digital library at the school through RuraTech, enables both teachers and students to explore new realms of learning.

“The learners are very excited to learn using the new technology and various resources that are now available for them and the school to utilise, which will enrich our curriculum activities,” says Le Roux. “Learners will also be able to enhance their basic computer literacy skills, which will be beneficial throughout their schooling careers and beyond.

Taylor Kwong, Marketing & CSI Manager at Vuma, says, “Digital literacy is the key to unlocking the potential of South African youth, now, and in the future. This partnership can also help bridge the digital divide and promote inclusivity by providing equal opportunities for learners from diverse backgrounds to access ICT skills training and resources. By doing so, we can empower more individuals to participate in the digital economy ensuring that no one falls further behind.

“STEM education is also crucial for the growth and development of a country like ours, so its significance in the classroom cannot be overstated. Encouragement of STEM education will benefit students and advance a wide range of industries across the country.”

Katuruza adds, “We’re grateful for the support received from Vuma and their hands-on involvement in this initiative and are looking forward to partnering with more organisations who can support the expansion of these projects more widely across communities in South Africa who can benefit from them.”






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