Literacy plays a vital role in the growth and development of any nation with computer literacy being just as important for the growth of South African children.
The higher the rate of literacy, the better the potential to succeed
South African children and adults face many challenges that serve as barriers to adequate education for personal growth and employment success. With many children not being able to read or write effectively, computer training has taken a back seat in schools who are struggling to have access to running water, ablution facilities and text books. For these schools the lack of computers and technological devices to facilitate teaching are one of the many luxuries they wish for but cannot provide.
70% of Grade R pupils have never been exposed to any sort of early childhood education
According to David Harrison, CEO of the Cape Town-based DG Murray Trust, an organisation that funds early childhood development, literacy and leadership initiatives, at least 70% of Grade R pupils have never been exposed to any sort of early childhood education. According to the Department of Basic Education’s 2010 annual national assessment of literacy among schoolchildren, only 45% of Grade three and 35% of Grade six children could read and write at levels expected for their grades.
The need for Computer Literacy Programs
As the need for computer training steadily increases, children who are not exposed to computers from a young age are at a distinct disadvantage to those who are born using the latest technological devices and facilities. Also providing an obstacle to computer literacy is the low levels of literacy in disadvantaged communities and English as second language which also proves an impediment to using computers. An article by the Mail & Guardian reports that a lack of equipment and qualified teachers means computer familiarity is the best we can do.
Volunteer organisations offering Computer Literacy Programs
Volunteer organisations such as Dreams To Reality focus on providing children with the proper resources and facilities to teach children a skill that they will need to grow to be an independent young adult. While some organisations provide volunteers to assist adults with their literacy, DTR focuses solely on the education and computer literacy of children. The earlier children become comfortable with reading and computer training, the better their chances of success in life and in the workplace.