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ISPA Press Release - Lack of skills attributed to training, says ISPA - 20 April 2007

Lack of skills attributed to training, says ISPA

It has been reported recently that South Africa is confronted by a severe information technology (IT) skills deficit, mostly due to lack of training.

In order to cope with the demand for these skills, the teacher training programme of the Internet Service Providers' Association of SA (ISPA) is training previously disadvantaged schools. ISPA believes that South Africa's shortage of IT skills can be attributed to a lack of training at grassroots level. In order to address this problem, ISPA, with founding and ongoing sponsorship from UniForum SA, the CO.ZA Registry, has initiated a training programme for teachers at previously disadvantaged schools.

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka recently launched the Jipsa report giving feedback on Jipsa's progress since it was launched early last year. Mlambo-Ngcuka called on all empowered companies to help fast track skills development to steer the country towards higher economic growth. The deputy president indicated there are plans to integrate Jipsa activities with those of National Youth Services to create a bigger skills impact.

Responding to the deputy president's call, ISPA has indicated that some 300 educators will be trained this year alone with further training in Kwa-Zulu Natal from 02 to 05 April 2007. ISPA has so far sponsored the training of 120 educators between 26 to 30 March 2007 at six schools situated in Gauteng, Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu Natal.

According to ISPA, IT skills among teachers in rural areas in particular and rural dwellers in general are substantially lacking due to a lack of training in these areas. "People in these communities are automatically divided from the rest of the world and deprived of a window of opportunity that IT could potentially hold for them, "says Bernie Amler, chairperson of ISPA's Teacher Training Working Group.

ISPA's teacher training programme began in December 2001 and has successfully trained 1163 educators over 5 years.

"Through their teacher training programme, ISPA will significantly increase the number of individuals qualifying for skilled jobs," says Amler. "We are confident that the sponsorship of such courses will be leveraged in a number of different ways and by engaging educators in computer skills training, we are increasing their comfort levels with computers," he says.

Upon successful completion of their courses, educators are then able to filter their newly acquired skills down to their local community. ISPA believes in providing an environment conducive to learning and training is undoubtedly the solution to masses out there, who still lack basic computer skills. The enabling role of computer literacy needs to be widely recognised in order to expand the current technology-literate part of the population," adds Mr Amler.

Educators will be trained on OpenOffice 2 by approved Open Source Lecturers and SETA (Sector Education & Training Authority) accredited Assessors from Avuxeni Computer Academy.

According to Frans Motau, an educator at Eletsa Secondary School in Brits, "The need to develop and enhance the computer literacy skills of individuals in South Africa is fast becoming a basic necessity in a knowledge-based society."

"Having completed the beginner's course last year and moving onto the intermediate course this year, I am most confident that the training has developed educators in a most appreciable way as they are now able to complete their assignments electronically as well as compile tests.

Teachers and learners are able to engage in lessons both inside and outside the classroom, resulting in empowerment through education," added Mr Motau.

Completion of the training will see 10 outstanding teachers being selected to participate in the "Super Teacher of the Year" awards held annually at the iWeek conference in September. The awards recognise teachers that have participated in ISPA's "Train the Teachers" project and successfully imparted their newly-acquired knowledge to their local communities.

Training took place at each of the host schools mentioned below and was conducted in school computer labs previously deployed by NetDay and sponsored by UniForum SA.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Schools that were trained from 26-30 March and 02-05 April 2007 include the following:

Gauteng Area

  • Oliver's House in Benoni (Host School)
  • Refilwe Community Centre (Host School)

Limpopo Area

  • Dikolobe School (Host School)
  • Kgotlho School

Kwa-Zulu Natal Area

  • Inyandezulu Primary School (Host School)
  • Makhanda Secondary School

More information:
Tinka Saunders, Secretariat

Issued by: Ivan Booth
Reliable Sources PR
082.851.7419
ivan @ ispa.org.za

 

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