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DOC sponsors cyber lab

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The Department of Communications (DOC) opened a cyber lab at the Nyanga High School last week, in honour of Mandela Day.

Deputy minister of communications Stella Ndabeni said at the launch that former president Nelson Mandela always emphasised the importance of youth. “I want to stress that what we are here to talk about today is continuation of Tata Madiba's work by opening up new opportunities to young people and inspiring them to take advantage of those opportunities.”

The lab launch also forms part of the rural development programme led by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

Patience please

“In this day and age, we need to pay special attention to providing communities and particularly the younger members of those communities with access to information and communication technologies,” said Ndabeni.

She explained that ICTs are key not only to receiving services from the government, but also to opening up new economic opportunities. “We all know how many of our young people are unemployed today, and ICT skills offer them a way to access the work they need to build better lives.”

The deputy minister, in her budget vote in Parliament earlier this year, spoke about the department prioritising the provision of broadband connectivity to 1 650 schools as the first phase in the implementation of the National Connectivity Plan for Schools.

“The Department of Communications is working closely with the Department of Basic Education to roll out this access to ICT to all schools as part of fulfilling our mandate to provide universal access to technology. We obviously cannot complete this massive task on our own, so partnerships with other departments like this one are obviously vital to our success.”

She reported that the service provider and sponsor, Telkom, has already commenced with the installation of the wide area network (WAN) infrastructure. Two hundred schools in the Western Cape will benefit from this broadband provision in this financial year. “We are hoping to complete this project by the end of this year.

“We must recognise that rolling out technology is very time-consuming and needs everybody and all stakeholders to come on board, therefore, I ask you all to be patient. It is very sad when people are dissatisfied about something, or demand to get something done for them by the government, and they go on a destruction spree.”

ICT careers

The launch at Nyanga included the delivery of ICT connectivity, computers and other ICT end-user devices.

“This lab will give the learners and their teachers access to the Internet via a broadband connection. This connectivity will give both teachers and pupils access to a dedicated educational network and also to external environments,” said Ndabeni.

She urged students at the school to consider careers in the ICT sector. “This is a growing sector, and it's a very exciting place to be working and we have a shortage of the right skills in this country.”

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