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Khayelitsha computer lab opened

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer
Johannesburg, 29 May 2006

The IkamvaYouth tuXlab, an initiative to provide learners access to information, knowledge and education, opened on Friday last week at the Nazeema Isaacs Library in Khayelitsha.

The project is spearheaded by Ikamva Lisezandleni Zethu (Xhosa for "the future is in our hands"), also called IkamvaYouth, a local non-profit organisation. IkamvaYouth focuses on the empowerment of youth through education, e-literacy training and career guidance, says Joy Olivier, co-founder of IkamvaYouth.

The lab is the latest project in a by-youth, for-youth educational effort by public and civil society in the City of Cape Town, she says.

The project has worked informally with the Shuttleworth Foundation for the past two years and this is the first formal project the two organisations have done together, says Olivier.

IkamvaYouth is developing basic computer literacy training materials for Ubuntu open source software, together with the Shuttleworth Foundation. IkamvaYouth volunteers will help learners develop computer literacy skills using 20 computers donated by VIA Technologies. The computers will run off a JMC-sponsored server, she says.

Maintenance will be done by an IT task team appointed by IkamvaYouth, Olivier says.

The project is a free curriculum-based tutoring service for grade 10 to 12 learners in Cape Town. "All teachers and tutors are volunteers," she says.

Global community

The lab still lacks an Internet connection and is considering a 3G or HSDP connection, Olivier says. "Since we receive no core funding we are hoping that sponsors can assist with this service."

Once a sponsor has been secured, IkamvaYouth Online will be rolled out, she says.

The organisation hopes that once interactive software and voice over Internet Protocol are implemented, IkamvaYouth will connect volunteers around the world with disadvantaged South African youth for supplementary tutoring in virtual classrooms.

Olivier says the project`s success rate is high, with 98% of students using the programme achieving a matric pass last year. Of this group, about 60% is enrolled in tertiary study, she says.

IkamvaYouth will next be implemented in the Eastern Cape, but Olivier says a roll-out date has not been set.

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