Archive for the ‘Solar School Computer Project’ tag
The VSA and three of our partners, eKhaya ICT, Left2Write and ReedHouseSystems, went together to rural Nkwalini in the Eastern Cape for several reasons. One was to hold a social networking workshop using awareNet for learners, teachers and community coordinators of the Zwelenqaba SSSchool (27.-28.09.11). Richard Strickland from eKhaya ICT updated the awareNet server and the laptops’ browsers and fixed a few of the laptops of the solar school computer lab. Anna Wertlen from the VSA brushed up the teachers’ and coordinator’s knowledge and introduced about 50 new learners to awareNet. Erika Wertlen from Left2Write chaired a session about blogging and publishing during the workshop. Then, all learners blogged about solar energy. Additionally, Mrs E Wertlen delivered a great donation of books and magazines to the school’s library on behalf of Left2Write. Further, Ronald Wertlen as director of RHS followed up on an investigation of mobile banking and most importantly was concerned with maintaining relationships with the community and the schools in advance of the TeleWeaver rollout.
The community welcomed us warmly and had prepared our visit well. The learners worked with great enthusiasm and concentration and thanked us with a self-composed song about computers and solar energy. Siphiwo Msindwana, the community coordinator, acted very professionally by consulting eKhaya ICT for mediation between the community and the school. Disagreements werecleared. The teachers were overwhelmed by the generosity of Left2Write and promised to use the new resources wisely.
We also paid a visit to Bulunbula Incubator to maintain our partnership and talk about current and future projects.A German member of the VSA came all the way to accompany us and ask a lot of questions to show oversea’s interest. All in all, it was a very successful and very busy trip. We hope that we can repeat it soon in many other rural schools in South Africa and beyond. Please, contact us if you are interested.
Ron Wertlen visited Nkwalini with Darren Anderson, SELF’s new Technical Project Manager for Africa (17-18/1). The solar infrastructure of the Zwelenqaba SS School that Mr Anderson had to inspect was in excellent shape: “I have never seen anything like this,” he said as he inspected the 48 batteries in Zwelenaba’s bank, all of which were at the same level of charge. Well done to Mr Friend who designed and installed the system and Mr Holder who maintains it!
The new year brought a shock to the school. The Department of Education seems to have struck all temporary positions in the province, so the beginning of the year at Zwelenqaba is filled with confusion. Teachers are busy trying to create the school timetable, but do not know how many teachers will be teaching here this year. Teachers have to give extra classes and teach subjects that they have no expertise in. The hope is that the DoE will renew contracts.
At Bafazi JS School is only one temporary post, so the school is not in as much upheaval. But here all the teachers are filling in forms. Zolile Makwayiba (acting Principal) says, “It’s a hunt for ghost teachers.” Could that be the reason for the chaos with the temporary posts?
The Bulungula Incubator reports similar problems at No-ofisi School in Nqileni in their January newsletter. Teaching here is hard enough, without an incompetent administration. Teachers are also scared of asking questions, having previously been accused of trying to subvert “official policy”. They say, let the principal ask and don’t mention our names: “once bitten, twice shy”.
The VSA has planned another trip to Nkwalini and Nqileni in the beginning of March. We will report about the course of action.