We live in a digital age. Access to the world's information now lies at our fingertips, whether we access it through our computer, our i-pad or our phone. In schools across the developed world it is becoming the main tool for learning, but in rural African schools, as in other developing countries, such technology is an impossible dream. How can overcrowded schools, with not enough teachers and few resources, be expected to build and maintain expensive media centres with the latest educational software and apps, let alone to have the digital expertise to make full use of them? So, more and more rural students are left behind because they cannot navigate the digital world, and the gap between the haves and the have-nots becomes wider and wider.
Hazyview Digital Learning Centre, which opened in 2012 in the village of Shabalala in the province of Mpumalanga, was built specifically to address this problem. Hazyview, and the other Digital Learning Centres run by Good Work Foundation, aim to bypass existing educational structures and methods and give students access to the world's body of knowledge, and the skills to access it, through the use of digital technology.
Kate Groch, CEO of Good Work Foundation, says:
`Access to great teachers, great technology, great curriculums and the Internet in rural Africa. Today it's possible. Tablets make it possible. Cloud-based learning. Forward-thinking apps. Online course material. High-speed broadband. Inspired teachers. If we can use digital technology to leapfrog existing education structures, then we can change the lives of an entire generation of young people in rural Africa. And we believe we can.'
Whether you have skills in community work, business or education, are retired or in work and looking for a career break, you can share your skills and experience with local staff in this community development project. Other skills and experience will be welcomed too - take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page.
'It was wonderful to be accepted as (almost) part of the furniture by the brilliant staff of the centres and to feel part of the GWF family.' Volunteer, Paul