Target 4.4 of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development has a focus on developing relevant job skills for youth and adults by 2030. In Sub Saharan Africa where our PEAS schools are based there is currently very limited data on ICT skills amongst the youth. The UNESCO Institute for Statistics can only provide data on Botswana and Zimbabwe in the region. The data they do have paints a worrying picture. In Zimbabwe the proportion of youth who have used basic arithmetic formulae in spreadsheets is 2, in the United Kingdom the number is 47.
PEAS is determined to provide relevant education to all our students enabling them to unlock their full potential and lead socially responsible lives. We are therefore very pleased to be able to work with the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation. Together, we are working hard to ensure we are delivering Target 4.4 of the global goals to empower computer literate students. The Foundation provides fully equipped ICT Labs to our schools and takes a keen interest in how the students are developing and growing in their computer literacy skills.
Over the past five years, the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation has provided 23 PEAS schools with state of the art ICT facilities, bringing a 21st Century education to thousands of our students. It is incredible to see how excited our students are when they first walk into their SITA Foundation funded ICT Lab – for many, it’s the first time they’ve seen a computer. Some students have started extracurricular clubs where they can learn even more skills outside of their ICT lessons. Some want to learn graphic design, some have created websites and others are interested in starting a career in journalism. The SITA Foundation are enabling our students to pursue their dreams and broaden their horizons through the gift of ICT and are helping us at PEAS deliverer on Target 4.4.
Amber Harrison, Director, CSR & Sustainability, has visited our schools on several occasions: “Since the creation of ICT labs in Uganda and Zambia, I’ve seen a clear difference in the students and schools. Students who may have been a little shy or nervous have developed core ICT skills, and now take great pride in showing off their new knowledge. The classes are engaging, lively and relevant, while the skills being taught to these young people are ones which will help them in employment or further education.
Access to ICT and education is core to the aims of the SITA Foundation. When I visit a school that has had an ICT lab installed, and talk to students and teachers, I see first-hand the positive impacts it brings. From skills development to lesson planning, the use of computers is bringing about fundamental change in schools. Learning becomes more engaging, new talents are discovered, and greater opportunities are created.”
Computer literacy and ICT skills are fundamental to the youth of today, and it’s no exception in Africa. By providing ICT labs in Zambia and Uganda, the SITA Foundation has opened up a world of learning and skills development for young people. And it’s an opportunity they have embraced whole heartedly. The buzz and excitement around the ICT labs is clear, with engaging lessons and motivated teachers.
Thanks for the SITA Foundation for their continued support. We can’t wait to see how much more we will be able to achieve together in the future.