Huawei South Africa has partnered with the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) to donate 300 pairs of school shoes, 200 school bags, 200 scientific calculators, and 20 laptops to students in need during the Covid-19 pandemic and amid lockdown restrictions.
The donation forms part of the DPSA’s contribution to the Back-to-School Campaign, a government initiative to support scholars in impoverished areas. June marks ‘Youth Month’ in South Africa, this year it is celebrated under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society.”
The DPSA has chosen Mkhaliphi High School in Northern KwaZulu Natal, as the recipient of the Huawei donation. The high school serves children from Hlabisa, which is situated near the Hluhluwe–Umfolozi Game Reserve – which is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa.
Huawei SA deputy CEO Kian Chen and DPSA Minister Senzo Mchunu visited the school this past weekend to hand over the donation to the Principal, Mr Luvuno and members of the school governing body.
Huawei South Africa is already heavily invested in youth ICT training projects because it believes that corporates can make important contributions in reversing the ICT skills shortage in the country.
Expanding on his message to the educators, parents, and scholars at the handover ceremony, Chen noted that ICT must be accessible to all South Africans in the areas they live in.
“This is how we will create a more equal society where everyone can benefit from the next phase of industrial growth, which will largely take place in the digital space,” he says. “For this reason, we partner with government, academia and business to ensure that a broad base of South Africa’s youth get exposure to the power of technology.”
Huawei runs a series of youth programmes which include training in new technologies like 5G, cloud and AI, a bursary programme for postgraduates, an intern and graduate programme, and the Huawei ICT Academy, which runs in more than 50 universities and colleges around South Africa.
Minister Mchunu commended the company for the role it is playing in building South Africa’s ICT talent pool, especially its role in introducing youth to cutting edge technology and innovation which will power South Africa’s future economic and social growth.
The school aspires to introduce Information Technology as part of its curriculum but has cited lack of resources as one the main challenges. To this end, Huawei South Africa has donated 20 laptops to Mkhaliphi High School. The excitement of the learners upon presentation of the laptops was a special moment, with the Minister remarking: “Most, if not all the learners, have never had a laptop in front of them and that is very telling – not only for the acting principal and his staff but also for the government of the republic as a whole, that we still are not conscious enough of the requirements of a classroom – equipping it accordingly.”
The minister addressed the learners, encouraging them to keep focused on their studies, not allowing themselves to be distracted by their environment, upbringing and most challenges experienced by teenagers.
In closing, the minister said:
“South Africa still has to catch up in terms of our education standards with the rest of the world, particularly with Europe, the Americas and Asia. Those continents are by far, ahead of us. We need to guard the interests our children and create an environment which will enable them to advance. There are still some parts of the country that are still left behind and it is our job to ensure that we intensify our efforts in accelerating development – not only in respect of education, but all aspects of life.”