The teachers of Boikgantsho Primary School in Mamelodi are now equipped to effectively engage with the world of computers and the dynamics of the internet, thus enabling them to use it as a business tool to make their working lives easier. This follows a basic computer skills training course, called ‘Train the Teachers and Touch the Children of Tomorrow’, facilitated by Sage VIP, a leading HR, payroll software and services provider in South Africa.
The social investment initiative is the outcome of a partnership between Boikgantsho Primary School and Sage VIP through their joint involvement in the Tshwane Partners for Possibility Programme, from Symphonia South Africa.
Symphonia is a non-profit organisation, which aims to mobilise citizens and communities in reclaiming responsibility for educating the children of South Africa. Through their Partners for Possibility Programme business leaders and school principals get to develop their leadership skills in a co-learning and co-action partnership. The programme challenges these leaders and principals to form a partnership and involve the community in a way where everyone contributes their talent to the upliftment of the community, rather than waiting for an external party to solve problems. “This engagement between business leaders and school principals contributes to enhancing quality of education, improves the school environment and encourages a meaningful dialogue between parents and teachers which will contribute to an upward spiral of real change in society,” says Annemien Victor, Director Consulting at Sage VIP. This results in conversations between business leaders and school principals, focusing on possibility instead of problems within the school environment.
One such conversation was between Annemien Victor and Abe Kobe, Principal at Boikgantsho Primary School. Victor was nominated as the business leader to work in partnership with Boikgantsho Primary School. “My responsibility within the partnership is to provide the principal with business insight that will assist him in transforming the school and thus the entire community,” says Victor.
According to Victor, Boikgantsho Primary School experienced challenges with their teachers’ level of computer literacy. As the business leader from Sage VIP she proposed a computer training course, sponsored by their company. “Our objective was to provide the teachers with basic computer skills which could be filtered through in the future to the children of the school,” says Victor.
The 27 teachers who attended the course were all equipped in computer literacy, internet and email, Word and Excel. “The training was practical
and the teachers now have confidence and the capabilities to work on any computer. The teachers also valued the potential of the Internet tremendously, specifically search functionalities such as Google,” says Victor. Sage VIP has since sponsored the school with a number of laptops for the teachers’ use.
According to Kobe, the initiative is already making a big difference in the working lives of the teachers. They can now, for example, create exam papers and reports electronically, without having to manually write them. In addition, communication between teachers has improved through email and they can now also use the internet more effectively to assist with research in preparation for classes. He is looking forward to the potential impact of the improved computer literacy amongst teachers on the pupils of the Boikgantsho Primary School. “We view this training as a seed of a beautiful Jacaranda tree that in the future will grace Pretoria with a gorgeous purple cloak of information, knowledge and power,” says Kobo.
“At Sage VIP we are dedicated to making our involvement with the school a long term relationship and through continuous involvement contribute to the empowerment of the school and its learners. We have already started with an initiative to create a culture of reading amongst learners where they are encouraged in a fun way to improve their reading ability, and we are looking at a Mathematics programme to begin in 2014,” concludes Victor.