Fibre Network Operator (FNO), Evotel, once again showed its commitment and dedication towards educating the youth of South Africa through its R50 000.00 sponsorship towards the setup and running of Krugersdorp High School’s Robotics and Coding labs.
“Evotel, as a technology company and fibre internet infrastructure provider, has always placed a great emphasis on giving back to the communities we operate in, with a focus on education and uplifting the youth. When we were approached by Krugersdorp High School for assistance in establishing the teaching of robotics and coding capability for students at the school, we did not shy away and jumped at the opportunity to enhance our footprint within the education sphere,” says Bradley Bekker, Evotel General Manager (GM).
The South African Government, through the Department of Basic Education, has realised the importance of incorporating robotics and coding as part of the country’s technology education curriculum and is working towards establishing it as a subject for Grade 8 and 9 learners within the standard basic education curriculum by 2024 and 2025.
Getting itself ready for this eventuality, Krugersdorp High School has started preparations well in advance and built three computer labs at the school that will accommodate a total of 90 learners, each with a PC. The school is in the process of training six teachers and a Head of Department (HOD) and aims to start the programme officially during the third term of 2023.
Robotics and coding as a subject have been introduced into the basic education curriculum for lower grades this year (2023).
“As robotics does not form part of the curriculum as yet and is not a recognised subject, we will be offering robotics and coding as an extra-curricular activity. To run for grades 8 and 9, after school for an hour twice a week,” says Lauren Jooste-Coetsee, Marketing Director at Krugersdorp High School.
According to Jooste-Coetsee, Evotel’s substantial sponsorship money will be used to buy licenses and robots and pay for the training of teachers in robotics and coding.
“The training of the teachers and the current subject curriculum will be supplied by local education services provider Resolute Education, who has done a lot of development in this field. Resolute Education is a facilitator and has created its own curriculum. They will be giving training and licenses to the school so that we can teach robotics and coding,” adds Jooste-Coetsee.
Evotel believes that robotics and coding subjects should have been introduced far sooner into the basic education curriculum.
“The fact that it guides learners towards critical thinking and problem-solving as well as promoting collaboration and creativity within today’s digital age should have been part of youth education for more than 20 years already, so we are very happy that things are changing, and we are all too happy to contribute to the rapid developments taking place right now,” says Bekker.
Recent news that the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) survey found that only 19% of South Africa’s Grade 4 pupils can read for meaning is very worrying. It shows just how much more needs to be done to properly educate South Africa’s youth.
“At Evotel, we will continue to ramp up our efforts towards youth education. Over and above already offering free internet access to all the schools that fall under our network and the access we provide schools to Learn2 material as part of our partnership with the learning organisation, we will investigate other ways to contribute to youth education, like the sponsorship of the Krugersdorp High School Robotics and Coding initiative,” Bekker concludes.