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News article · 19 Jul 2019

BT unveils Computer Lab at Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School in celebration of Mandela Day

New facility to strengthen digital literacy skills among students, future leaders 

BT in South Africa celebrated Mandela Day 2019 with the unveiling of the much anticipated, fully equipped, Computer Lab at the Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School in Kwa-Zulu Natal. The Computer Lab was fully sponsored by BT.

Investing in digital skills to improve lives is a key priority for us. "

Bernadette Wightman
Managing director, Banking and Financial Services and the Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA)

Bernadette Wightman, managing director, Banking and Financial Services and the Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, said: “This fast-paced digitally transforming world requires us to build a culture of tech literacy, to ensure that people are prepared for the challenges that tomorrow brings. We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from the power and potential of the digital world. At BT, we're using the power of communications to make a better world. Investing in digital skills to improve lives is a key priority for us. The sponsorship of this Computer Lab for the Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School and its learners’ forms part of this priority and aids us in achieving our desired vision around ICT skills development – and through an outreach programme that is targeted at creating access for remote and previously disadvantaged communities, towards building more inclusive societies.”

Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School is situated in Umbumbulu, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and was discovered by the Maharishi Institute, in partnership with Columba Leadership. The purpose of this partnership is to develop ICT skills and instil discipline amongst the children by teaching them to be leaders.

Many of the students who attend Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High form part of the ‘Schools Project’ leg of the Grass Roots ICT Project, a digital literacy programme rolled out via the Maharishi Institute in Durban and Johannesburg. The aim of the programme is to support those who do not have access to computers to enhance their ICT skills. BT supported the Grass Roots ICT Project financially in 2017.

“Through the existing digital literacy programme in place with the Grass Roots ICT Project, Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High is one of three public schools whose learners, who don’t have computer access at home, are provided with the opportunity to engage with technology to acquire tech related skills. Providing a fully functional Computer Lab to the school that is equipped with computers, printers and the required network infrastructure has complemented the project,” added Wightman.

Sipho Khomo, principal at Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School, said: “We have been watching our learners who form part of the digital literacy programme acquire technology-based skills they have previously not been exposed to – and it has been so rewarding to see their progress! The official opening of this Computer Lab on site at school not only allows them to practice what they have been taught more regularly, but to also share their skills with their peers and members of the broader community. Over the past 10 years our school has been producing quality results with some learners achieving eight straight A’s. We pride ourselves with academic excellence and the BT Computer Lab funding comes at the right time when we are aligning academic excellence with digital innovation.”

In celebration of Mandela Day and in the build-up to the unveiling of the Computer Lab, the students at Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School participated in a Clash of the Choirs event. Following fun had by all, the Computer Lab was unveiled where students who have partaken in the digital literacy programme demonstrated the ICT skills they have acquired to date.

“We are exceptionally proud of our involvement in this well deserving initiative, as well as grateful for the opportunity presented to us to make this Computer Lab a reality for Sibusisiwe Comp Tech High School. This project not only aligns with our brand ethos on using the power of communications to make a better world, but also on driving a meaningful, sustainable digital impact that will serve many more generations of learners who will attend this school in the future,” concluded Wightman. 

For further information

Aleksander Straunik, Head of External Relations, Global.