Without access to technology, the teachers and learners of many schools in rural areas are at a significant disadvantage compared to their urban counterparts.
In 2015, Singita Lowveld Trust, our conservation partner in South Africa, made a commitment to bring the benefits of digital learning to the communities near Singita Sabi Sand. We first partnered with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Mpumalanga Department of Education in a teaching and technology project that equipped all 19 primary schools in the Ximhungwe district with satellites, connectivity and a number of laptops, tablets and projectors. Over 300 educators completed educational technology and literacy courses via an e-learning platform and received facilitator-led Microsoft training. In 2018 the technology and teaching initiative was fully integrated into the Mpumalanga Department of Education’s programming.
This allowed us to focus on learners through a partnership with internationally recognised NGO, the Good Work Foundation (GWF). GWF’s model delivers digital-era literacy education and career training via community-driven digital learning centres of excellence, of which there are currently five around the Sabi Sand area. Singita Lowveld Trust made a three year commitment to GWF as primary sponsor of the Justicia Digital Learning Campus (JDLC), located in the village closest to Singita Sabi Sand.
For both English and Maths, learners participating in the Open Learning Academy improve by at least 40% on internal benchmark exams.120
Over 120 previously unemployed rural adults have graduated with internationally recognised qualifications in IT, English and hospitality management through the Bridging Academy.