Technology - the pen and paper of our time, a visit by the SITA Foundation

In November 2017, we welcomed Amber Harrison, Director of CSR at SITA, to six of our schools across Zambia and Uganda. SITA provide ICT solutions to the global air transport community, and established the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation with the aim of building ICT skills capability in the next generation of young people in Africa. The SITA Foundation have partnered with PEAS to build and equip ICT labs across 15 PEAS schools.

We asked Amber to share her thoughts following the visit:

“While visiting the new ICT labs, I was reminded of a quote by David Warlick, who said:

"We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world."

 Amber opening one of the labs

Amber opening one of the labs

Seeing the commitment of the school management and teachers, and the enthusiasm of the students as they use the new computer labs, I know that access to IT will not just make a difference to these young people, it will make the difference.

 A PEAS student presenting for the computer club

A PEAS student presenting for the computer club

It was great to hear that the ICT labs have generated an interest not just in the schools, but also in the local community. Access to ICT is key for young people, but by engaging the parents and others nearby the ICT lab is recognised as an important asset for all.

 Amber planting a tree for the future growth at the school

Amber planting a tree for the future growth at the school

Students at PEAS schools are always confident, but seeing them present their work on ICT was inspiring. Although some of them had only been studying for a few weeks, their capacity for learning and understanding a whole new subject area was incredible. Already they are seeing ways in which the technology skills they are learning now will open their opportunities for the future.

I was delighted to see such a change in the schools I had previously visited with the ICT labs in place. In just a year students were already taking – and passing – exams in ICT. You get a real sense of optimism, hope and energy from the students and teachers.

Many thanks to Amber and the SITA Foundation for their incredible support in expanding access to ICT across our networks, and to all our partners - without them, none of this would be possible.

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NewsEmmi Matsunaganews