Full steam ahead

This article appeared in Issue 2 of Khanya – Education through Technology – 2003

The past six months have been very productive for the Khanya project. During this period the 150-school mark was passed, which constitutes 10% of all the schools in the Western Cape. Each one of these schools now has either a computer laboratory or computers in the classrooms – or a combination of the two. Appropriate educational software is available, educators have been trained, and curriculum delivery is taking place.

There can be no doubt that Khanya is proving to be a huge success. A project structure has been established that will allow us to assist any number of schools provided the funds are available. Dedicated, passionate, hard-working project managers, facilitators and other staff members have been recruited and all the credit for Khanya’s achievements must go to them. Those schools where technology has been implemented are buzzing with excitement about the positive effect this is having on learners and educators alike. The biggest achievement of Khanya, however, is the fact that we have proved that the WCED, through the Khanya project, is able to implement technology for successful curriculum delivery in schools.

The target for the next year is to pass the 25% mark, but this is entirely dependent on funding. The provincial budget will allow Khanya to continue without interruption, but to reach our target – and hopefully even exceed it – we need substantial private funding. We are very optimistic about this, since many organizations have indicated that they are keen to get involved. Many have been watching Khanya carefully over the first 18 months to see whether it is also one of those bottomless pits into which huge donations are disappearing. The success of Khanya to date is convincing potential donors that this is not the case and some of them are coming forward to support the project. Any donor, regardless of the size of the sponsorship, can be sure that the investment will be channeled into a successful school project. There are several cases where the resources of up to four different smaller donors have been pooled to establish a computer laboratory at one worthy school. In the end it may prove to be the smaller donations of many organizations, rather than the huge donations of the few, that will assist Khanya to make a significant difference in schools.

The big challenge I have set myself for the next six months is to get a grip on the issue of sustainability. At present we are assisting each school to develop a sustainability plan, which will enable them to sustain the technology in the short term: to pay for insurance, internet costs, paper and other consumables associated with a computer laboratory. However, we need to plan carefully now for three to five years hence, when equipment will have to be replaced. This will ensure that, when the Khanya project has achieved its objective of moving technology into all the schools in the province and comes to its end, the use of technology will continue to be an integral part of the education process.

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