SchoolNet facilitates the Buffelshoek HelpDesk course

SchoolNet SA recently ran a Microsoft Partners in Learning HelpDesk course with 27 out-of-school youth from the villages surrounding the Buffleshoek Trust’s nine partner schools. The training, led by Trainer Themba Mabaso, took place at the Acorns to Oaks Comprehensive High School in Acornhoek. The training included a beginners guide to computer hardware, supporting networked computers, installing an operating system and supporting hardware. As part of the course students were required to dismantle computers and reassemble them, which for many participants was the first opportunity to see the inside of a computer and all of its components. The participants responded so well to the training, that they now meet on weekends as a group to further their learnings. One student had this to say on the last day of training,“When I started here, I knew Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, but today I am a technician!”


According to Dr Alice Barlow-Zambodla who leads the Buffelshoek Trust ICT programme, nine of the Help Desk trainees will be placed in schools for the third term so that they can put into practice what they have learnt. The trainees will be referred to as ICT Help Desk Monitors and will earn a small stipend as volunteers. They will serve to ensure that the computer centres remain functional at all times and will provide support for teachers and learners in using the ICT facilities at each school. The monitors will also serve as the first line of defence in terms of troubleshooting and will be linked to two local service providers who will be consulted and provide the extra technical support that may at times be required. This approach should contribute to the sustainability of the system in terms of both functionality and use. The Buffelshoek Trust is continually fundraising to keep the Help Desk monitors in the schools until the schools centres are functioning at full capacity and their positions are absorbed by the schools. The remaining trainees are setting up a small School ICT centre at the Utah Community

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