Child carers taught computer skills

The Site B Library hosted computer skill lessons last month as part of the SmartCape Access Project.

The sessions taught Early Childhood Development (ECD) carers computer skills through the City’s SmartCape Digital at the library, on Thursdays November 23 and 30, and on Tuesday November 28. The free training conducted by Zanele Matshotyana saw 20 educators, mostly women, taught IT skills.

The City said Cape Town is one of the most divided cities in terms of access to technology and digital literacy. It said the rich have more access, therefore, it decided to tackle the digital divide through the SmartCape Access Project.

The project aimed to provide access to computers and limited free Internet at the city libraries. Ms Matshotyana said the SmartCape platform was developed using open source software and multiple internet connectivity options; including ADSL, Fibre, 3G/LTE, radio links and vSAT.

SmartCape users are eligible to use computers for 45 minutes a day and receive 500MB of free data per month to be used in any city facility with wi-fi access, she said adding that non-registered users could log in with their own devices through wi-fi hotspots and receive 50MB of free data.

“The initial goals of SmartCape were to provide free internet access to as many citizens as possible, and supply free productivity applications such as LibreOffice suite. Even though the City of Cape Town provided free access to technology, it was later discovered that there is still a huge digital divide in the city. Many people in previously disadvantaged communities could not use SmartCape technology to access opportunities. Hence, the SmartCape team embarked on digital inclusion to increase computer literacy in libraries,” she said.

The City aims to close the digital divide through digital literacy programmes. The City said mostly youth and women were recruited for the initiative

Senior librarian Vuyokazi Njambatwa-Rani said she was happy to see women empowered and hoped the training help them run their educares better. She urged them to use their new skills daily so that it does not get rusty.

“I am excited for them. Hopefully they will now cope better with their work. We must also commend the city to have embarked on a campaign to fight computer illiteracy at educares. We need to be honest that the lack of computer skills in educares has been a challenge in our areas. They will now do their work diligently,” she said.

Programme beneficiary Nontsapho Ngebiyana from Mustadafin Educare Centre was excited because now she no longer needs to hire people to do the simple tasks she had previously been unable to do. She said the programme has shown her things she never knew and she learned a lot.

“I am super excited to have been part of the programme. The truth is, as educarers we have a lot to learn. I now know what a scam email is, I can draw a plan and budget. These are just some of the things I did not know. I used to hire accountants for simple things and today I was shown how to do them. I feel great after the course,” she said.

Programme conductor, Zanele Matshotyana in class.
Vuyokazi Njambatwa-Rani also getting her hands dirty.
Beneficiaries went home smiling after receiving certificates.