From DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – LEANERS from impoverished backgrounds are benefiting from blended integrated communication technology (ICT) learning that is projected to ensure they are employable, attain skills compatible with modern-day careers and eventually lessen the digital divide between the rich and the poor in South Africa.
The breakthroughs are being attained at Christel House, a school catering for some 941 students coming from deeply disadvantaged and impoverished households around Cape Town.
The students are from nearby communities such as Langa, Manenberg and Philippi.
Officials hail the school, which has pupils from Grade R to Matric, for delivering dynamic systemic change to the problems that keep local people chained in poverty and crime.
The use of and access to technology is a critical component of the educational model of the non-profit charity school.
For nearly a decade it has achieved a 100 percent pass rate. 91 percent of all of its past graduates are either employed, in a learnership programme or studying.
Of the matric class of 2017, more than two-thirds are eligible for university.
“Our goal is to drive social change and break the poverty cycle,” said Kristen Goezaar, Public Relations and Communications Officer at Christel House.
Goezaar, an alum of the school, said they did this with the delivery of a quality, character-based education model that addresses all social elements.
“We walk with the child and family from grade R to Matric, and support graduates for up to five years post-schooling,” the spokesperson said.
Dell is a major sponsor of Christel House South Africa (CHSA) and provides technology, including tablets and computers, for the students.
The technology vendor also supports the school’s nutrition and College and Careers programmes.
CHSA recently recognised this by presenting an award to Dell EMC at the vendor’s recent Africa Partner Summit held in Cape Town, South Africa.
Technology is a fundamental part of CHSA’s success, with all the students having access to internet connectivity, as well as modern software and services commonplace in today’s companies.
Chris Buchanan, Client Solutions Director of Dell South Africa, who recently joined the CHSA board, said the model was different and impacted the students for the whole 18 years.
“It delivers a very productive and self-sufficient member of society as a result. Our dream is for more impoverished youth to enjoy such a schooling model,” he said.
CHSA has over 50 teachers and assistants, six qualified nursing and counselling staff, two meals and a snack daily as well as at least five years of after-school support for graduates.
“The mission of Christel House is to alleviate poverty through its systematic and holistic approach,” said Francois Louw, the school’s Director of Fundraising and Marketing.
– CAJ News