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Release date 03 Feb 2004
Note: Umtata is now Mthatha






IT Training in the Eastern Cape - funding required for a province that is at risk of illiteracy and unemployment

by Nokwanda Patricia Magwentshu

I am involved in PUM Women's Community Project where I train educators from various schools in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. This is the worst province as far as IT skills are concerned because of its rural nature.
PUM Women's Community Project is set out to deal with this digital divide by providing IT Skills to learners in schools, educators as well as other professionals in various departments and the business sector.
Partnership with Knowledge Network
To close the gap between the developed and under-developed areas, PUM Women's Community Project formed a partnership with Knowledge Network. Knowledge Network is a renowned IT company with an IT Learning System that contains educational programmes for IT Learning from Grade 00 to Grade 12 as well as for the professionals in various fields.
The Knowledge Network IT Learning System
Knowledge Network consists of programmes that assist educators to integrated IT into the classroom with a system that is easy to use, fun to deliver and exciting for both the educator and the learner.

A unique methodology (Integrated Learning and Mentoring Methodology) ILAMM, developed by Jil D Hrdliczka of Knowledge Network is used in implementing the Knowledge Network programmes.

ILAMM caters for a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and active learning environment. It enables accelerated learning, develops creativity, lateral thinking, logic and problem-solving skills, IT skills and life skills. It is a wonderful methodology that is outcomes-based, goal-oriented and project-based.

This consists of fully developed and tested Session Plans (lesson plans), together with year planners, assessment schedules, skills evaluations and year-end assessments and reports for pre-scholars, JP, SP and High Schools.
It provides all the management tools to run the projects, and provides flexibility. The course material is easy to follow, updated frequently and there is a lot of support for educators from Knowledge Network. It provides learning that is fun and very exciting. The infrastructure is user-friendly.
Attempts by PUM Women's Community Projects in the Eastern Cape
PUM Women's Community Projects has approached the Eastern Cape Education Department and, together with Knowledge Network, presented this IT Learning System. The Department is excited about it and has recommended that it be implemented in the Eastern Cape Schools.
Some of the schools have been training in the programme. I have been privileged to be trained in the Knowledge Network programmes so that I can train the educators from the various schools in the Eastern Cape.
I have been doing this for a year, but the empowerment and skills that I have gained make me feel as it I have been doing this for five years.
PUM Women's Community Project paid for me to receive the training. I have trained educators for schools in and around Umtata, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. All of the educators have found the system very exciting and unique. The fact that is has a methodology that is learner-centered, outcomes-based and project-based, with a comprehensive syllabus with structured lessons and assessment projects, training and integration of IT and school curriculum. Knowledge Network IT Learning has therefore received the thumbs up from the educators.
As a trainer I find pleasure to be part of the PUM Women's Community Projects initiative to alleviate IT illiteracy in this region. I have been greatly empowered.
When I go out and train, I am well-equipped and very confident. The friendly staff from Knowledge Network give me ongoing support. If I have to travel to a far away place, they provide all air tickets for me, wonderful accommodation, good food and ongoing support to check that everything is going well.
Learning is fun for both the mentors and educators. We learn together and there is never a stupid question. Even those touching the computer for the first time, they gain a lot a confidence after training.
I have trained educators in the ILAMM methodology using the course provided as well as session training for educators from the materials and educator briefs provided. The results are always good. When they leave the training centre, they are very excited and look forward to implementing the Knowledge Network IT Learning System in their schools.
More schools want to be involved in IT Learning but they are limited by the fact that they have no computers. PUM Women's Community Projects is working day and night trying to raise funds in order to take other schools on board.

We hope that the endeavours of this project will be successful so that they may bring change to the province that is at risk with illiteracy and unemployment.




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Date of update: 18 February 2009