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May 3 1995 Providing a hi-tech model for kids
Business Success Stories
ęThe Star
Wednesday May 3 1995
   
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Jil Hrdlickza and the K-Netters
Jil Hrdliczka and the K-Netters

Providing a hi-tech model for kids

What do you do after you have established the largest computer training institution in southern Africa? If you are Jil Hrdliczka, ex-principal Damelin Computer School, you put your formidable business skills to work building your own company.

You create a new market and set a pace that leaves would-be competitors gasping. Because you care deeply about what you are doing, the solid framework you build entices entrepreneurs to become franchisees of your success formula.

The company is K.Net, a technology network where kids and teenagers learn how to make computers work for them. As you would expect of an innovator in the education field, K.Net is not a traditional teaching environment.

Experience has given Hrdliczka uncanny insight into the unique needs of K.Net's young market. The music blares, the furniture is of the irresistible beanbag variety, roller blades lie waiting in the entrance and no one counts how many times the kids visit the soft-drink and candy machines.

What counts is they are learning life skills in a meaningful way for them. "You can't force a boring course on a 14 year old, over a drawn out period, and expect him to care about it," says Hrdliczka.

"You have got to make it exciting. We mentor. We lead kids to draw their own intelligent conclusions. They are amazingly creative if the environment allows them to be."

Having developed all of Damelin's computer school courses, Hrdliczka knows that it's not enough to learn word processing and spread sheets in today's technology driven world. "We are only company in South Africa today which is providing a model for the technological business world, our children will inherit.

We are not just teaching computer skills, we are taking kids through an evolutionary development process.

"They work with tools like the Internet and they need to understand graphic representation of information using video, animation and multimedia. Computer technology develops so fast kids need a resource which enables them to keep up to date. This is another role K.Net is fulfilling."

And of course there is the K.Net Club, which is one of the few clubs available to kids which offers benefits more tangible than a badge.

Many kids who have access to computers have no idea how to get the most benefits out of them.

Through K.Net's Club and its centre in Rivonia, it helps parents fulfil the potential of an expensive investment by teaching children what to do with computers, using available software. Hrdliczka has been fast in meeting market needs by extending the initially designed K.Net courses to include programmes for parents.

Next month K.Net is holding the first National Computer Technology conference for kids and teenagers. Just as K.Net is about freeing the mind, a K.Net school franchise offers an infrastructure to business professionals and schools who want to partner their skills with those of a successful corporate family.

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Date of update: 18 February 2009