New computer lab boosts Gompo school

Mzokhanyo High School in Gompo will become the first no-fee school in East London to offer both information technology (IT) and computer applied technology (CAT) as subjects.

NEW START: Pupils from Mzokhanyo High in Gompo Town test out their new computers at their new school lab. Picture: QAQAMBA MAGADLA

The school has been offering CAT but was experiencing a shortage of computers.Now it will be able to also offer IT.

This was made possible by the Melisizwe Computer Lab Project, together with Sita – a multinational company based in Switzerland – and Khaya FM, which handed over a fully-equipped computer lab to the school on Friday.

Melisizwe School Lab Project’s director, Candice Kern-Thomas, said the project aims to spread access to digital technology by providing a place where CAT and IT can be taught. The project also aims to motivate the youth by investing in education and computer skills as it is crucial at tertiary level to have basic computer skills.

The school is the first Eastern Cape school to benefit from the project and the 10th school in the entire project.

To date the project, which started in 2012, has provided fully-equipped computer lab infrastructure to nine schools, most of them in Gauteng, giving computer access to over 6000 pupils. The Melisizwe Computer Lab project hopes to equip 67 underprivileged schools across the country with computer labs before July next year.

With the new lab donation the school will be able to offer both CAT and IT, making it the first non-fee paying government school in East London offering both subjects, Kern-Thomas said.

“We live in a very digital world and we cannot afford to still have computer-illiterate pupils. Learners matriculate with no computer skills and are expected to compete with their peers who come from privileged schools and backgrounds in varsity and at the workplace, which is unfair, and this is what this project aims to change,” Kern-Thomas said.

Mzokhanyo High principal Mcebisi Blayi, who said the school currently had 857 pupils, expressed his gratitude for the donation.

Blayi said the new computer labs would not only develop their school but neighbouring schools and the whole township as a whole. The principal said the school would focus on making sure that the new computers were used to help advance the pupils at school and also help matric pupils prepare for tertiary education and the work environment.

“This sponsorship will contribute immensely to poverty-stricken individuals by turning them into work-ready individuals. No more shall we have to travel 20km to the ICT centre in Mdantsane to access computers, because now we have our own centre,” he said.

Grade 12 pupil Alizwa Hlokomile said she was extremely happy for the school and her fellow pupils, who would now have better access to computers.

She said although the school had computers, they were very old and slow.

“We will now be able to apply to universities with these new computers and also access the internet.

“The new lab will give us access to computers on a regular basis because there was a real shortage,” she said.