February 2022.

Learners at Thornhill Combined Primary School, are heading back to the classroom this week and are excited to try out their newly equipped computer lab. This is the first time the school has had a suitable, fully-equipped computer centre for its 540 learners, which will no doubt encourage learning and provide access to a space where these young people can develop essential skills.

Mr. Mike Aweries, the school principal indicated that the lab will assist the learners to achieve the outcomes discussed within the education policy relating to the 4th Industrial Revolution and help learners to become more technologically inclined and contribute to the country’s economy in the future. He pointed out that the CV-19 pandemic highlighted inequalities, as learners from the Thornhill community, as with similar communities, have been marginalised as they have not had access to technology and the advantages of online learning. The consequence is a huge backlog within the teaching and learning environment, further supporting the need to provide access to technology to ensure that these learners will have better access to the world.

“A good and practical computer lab helps learners become interested and enthusiastic about technology and science, so it’s a worthwhile investment that will benefit the school and broader community,” said Tsholofelo Moote, Economic Development Specialist for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, who funded this project as part of its Socio-Economic Development Programme, which has a keen focus on providing access to quality education.

Without the necessary technology or educational resources, the school was previously unable to offer IT lessons to learners, which hampers essential subject development of STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects.

“Computer labs create inclusive, structured learning environments where learners can prepare for a tech-heavy future, and ultimately ensure equitable access,“ added Moote.

The Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm will continue to assist the school with the appointment of an ICT Facilitator who will be trained and supported by the ITEC ICT Department, the project implementer. Furthermore, ITEC will supply Basic and Intermediate Training materials for learners and staff and the Department of Education will be assisting the school with the procurement of 35 software licenses for the computer lab.

Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm funding was put towards the purchase of computers and other necessary equipment, as well as the implementation of wi-fi infrastructure. Cupboards, desks, and chairs were also funded by the wind farm.