Knowledge is Free at Imperial Primary
It has been two years since Imperial Primary's first Computer Course Graduation for parents. The school started this outreach programme, which focuses on teaching their parents free basic computer skills, in May 2005. The course is presented by computer educator, Randall Norman who is assisted by Lucinda Nel, the administrative clerk.
In June 2006 the principal of Imperial Primary in Mitchell's Plain announced in the staffroom that they were to receive a Khanya Laboratory that would be fully functional as from January 2007. He added that it would be expected of each educator to teach his or her own class in numeracy and literacy using computers as part of the curriculum. His words resulted in panic among a few educators because they were not comfortable using computers.
One of the educators at the school, Stephanie Pillay, has been teaching for 30 years and had never been interested in learning about computers. With the Khanya Laboratory being installed she was forced to learn computer skills to teach her learners.
Thanks to the Community Outreach Programme that the school has pioneered, those educators who were not computer literate could now also develop the skills and benefit from the course. Mrs. Pillay says that at the age of 50 she never thought that she would be so excited about learning how to use a computer. Mrs. Pillay is just one of the educators who has graduated from the school's Computer Course that is offered free of charge to the parents.
The computer class started with funding made available by the then Ward Councillor, Charlotte Williams. The first course was exclusively for the Pre-school parents, uplifting them in various ways. The school then decided to have an intermediate course and make it available to all parents.
"When we submitted the business plan for the funding with the computer course in mind I never thought there would be such a huge demand. Even before the fourth graduation we already had a list of names for the next course", says Colin Baron, the school's principal.
This 16-hour course has seen its fourth Graduation take place on Tuesday 15 August 2006. Charlotte Williams, current Deputy Mayor, was the guest speaker and she encouraged women to go out there and equip themselves with the necessary skills.
Up to date Imperial Primary has had four successful computer courses with more than 50 parents and educators graduating. Some of the parents have since been able to secure employment using their new skills. Educators are using their computer skills in the new Khanya Laboratory, teaching their learners numeracy and literacy using the software programs. The reports at the school are also computer generated.
Randall Norman says, "I feel good when I empower my community through this computer course. When we start each course we see that some of the parents know very little and are a bit scared. The crux of the course is not to make them experts but to make them comfortable and to give them confidence when using the computer. We have seen our parents and educators getting excited whenever they get something right."
Mr. Baron says that in today's technologically advanced era, knowledge is the key for our learners and parents. At Imperial Primary they strive to give the best to their learners. Most parents graduating admit that their children as young as Grade 3 know more about computers than they do.
Computer classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 13h45 - 15h45 in the school's computer room. The basic computer course consists of an Introduction to Computers and Microsoft Word. The current course began in May 2007.