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IBM equips Nongoma primary schools

KidSmart PCs donated to schools in the province of KwaZulu Natal.
IBM has donated KidSmart computers to 21 rural pre- and primary schools in Nongoma (link resides outside of ibm.com), in the province of KwaZulu Natal, which will improve the young learners’ computer skills and whet their appetite for technology going into the future.

In an investment worth R500 000, IBM donated 21 KidSmart computers to each of the designated schools, which include Queen ka Msweli, Queen ka Mathathela, Nhlophenkulu, Khangela and Magenqeza.

This investment takes to well over 1200 KidSmart computers IBM has previously deployed across eight of the country’s nine provinces in pre- and primary schools, working with the Department of Education and the Centre for Early Childhood Development. IBM KidSmart PCs are especially designed for pre- and primary school children, aged between three and seven, to introduce them to computer technology at a young age.

IBM’s investment responded to a request by Queen Nompumelelo Mchiza, of the Enyokeni Royal Palace who is also principal of Queen ka Msweli School, to make a contribution.

Tlale Mtshontshi (IBMer) & Queen Nompumelelo Mchiza“We accept the donation from IBM with humility, knowing that these computers will introduce our young children to basic computer training, help them access information as there are no libraries in our rural schools,” said Queen Mchiza.

“In the long term, this is an investment in personal development of the children, which will give them an advantage and personal emancipation throughout their lifetime,” she added.

“This investment forms part of our strategic focus on improving education in the country through the use of technology tools especially in early learning development schools, as well as in higher education to broaden the technical skills base,” said Hamlet Morule, IBM’s Governmental Programmes Executive.

Hamlet spoke at the handover event which was integrated into the Umkhosi Wokweshwama (link resides outside of ibm.com) (the celebration of the first fruits) cultural ceremony hosted by His Majesty, Isilo Samabandla, Zwelithini Zulu, the King of the Zulu nation, at the Enyokeni royal kraal, on Saturday, the 5th of December 2009. The King also lauded IBM for investing in the development of rural schools and children, adding that this was key to building a progressive nation.

Hamlet Morule, IBM Governmental Programmes Executive & King Zwelithini Zulu, King of the Zulu nationAn estimated 5000 learners are expected to benefit from the IBM KidSmart computers.

In addition to KidSmart rollouts, IBM has also invested in hundreds of computers for high schools, tertiary institutions and other needy organisations such as SOS villages, and media centres for students with visual impairments at Wits and Tshwane Universities of Technology.

Recently, IBM also donated a $1.5 million (approximately R11.5 million) Blue Gene Supercomputer, which is based at the Centre for High Performance Computing in Cape Town, for scientific research by African organisations.