Diepsloot Secondary School Number Three became the second school in the Northern Joburg to receive a solar-powered computer lab yesterday, thanks to Dell.
The tech firm teamed up with non-profit organisations, Code 4 Change and Computer Aid, to give the 842 pupils at the school – which is made up of a few mobile classroom containers situated on dry, patchy land in the area – the chance to experience the power of technology for themselves.
The school is still very young, established only in 2011 and has done very well over the last years by producing a 95% matric pass, despite its many challenges, including being located in a community with close to 80% unemployment.
Two years ago, the school right next to it, Diepsloot Secondary School Number Two, received a similar lab, donated by Samsung.
Like the lab in its neighbouring school, Number Three’s lab will be used to allow pupils to use the internet for classwork. Code 4 Change will also be facilitating coding workshops with them, teaching them skills they can use beyond the classroom.
The greater Diepsloot community will have access to the lab after hours to use the internet for tasks such as applying for jobs.
“I absolutely love this solution,” said Natasha Reuben, Head of Transformation at Dell EMC South Africa. “It’s a fantastic way to not put pressure on a school or rural community in terms of electricity, as this solution is off the grid. More importantly, this little container has the potential to do so much. Kids can go in during the day and learn. They can code and play with new technology. In the evening the community has access to it.”
Since launching in 2014, sixteen Dell labs have been launched – some in Kenya and Nigeria, but the majority live across South Africa. Each is carefully chosen: Dell works with partners such as Code 4 Change and Sci-Bono to find communities who want such facilities.
Dell and its partners continuously evaluate the Labs and adjust them. At a high level every lab is scrutinised at least once a quarter, but on the ground it is a weekly and even daily activity.
Prinipal of Number Three, Mrs Makhubedu, expressed gratitude for the donation from Dell and promised all stakeholders that the school, parents and community at large, would make sure that the facility is fiercely guarded to preserve it for future generations.