Limited access to digital technology and a lack of training in digital literacy are barriers to bridging the digital divide for South African youth and enhancing educational outcomes in the country. For example, almost 70% South African youth between the ages of five and 24 years do not have access to laptop or computer at home, according to Statistics South Africa.

To help overcome these challenges, Rectron has donated information and communications technology (ICT) equipment, valued at over R200 000, to four schools within South Africa.

“With Rectron’s technological capabilities, it is our responsibility to positively impact education within South African. With the way our world is changing and how we operate, it is essential that our children become empowered through digital learning and prepared for a digital future,” says Kutlwano Rawana, Chief of People at Rectron South Africa.

Rectron has selected the Ratasetjhaba Primary Farm School in Meyerton, Gauteng, as the fourth partner in its CSI programme, named Progressive Educational Upliftment or PEU. Meaning ‘seed’ in Setswana, PEU aims to plant the seed of education within South Africa’s youth, empowering their futures through digital literacy.

Through this new initiative, ICT equipment and state-of-the-art Technolabs have also been donated to Boipelo Secondary School in Gauteng, Tshelenkosi Secondary School in KwaZulu-Natal, and The Koot Niemann Primary School in the Free State earlier this year. Branch managers within these provinces visited the participating schools and identified which ICT equipment and solutions would lead to the biggest impact on learners.

In partnership with the Department of Education, the handover to Ratasetjhaba Primary Farm School took place on 18 May, with the school principal Goitsemang Mokele, Chief Director of the Department of Basic Education for Sedibeng-West District, Victor Thetha, and Spencer Chen, CEO of Rectron, among guests in attendance.

The ICT donation, worth more than R200 000, is being used to convert existing classrooms into a state-of-the-art Technolab equipped with digital tools needed to support educational outcomes and promote digital literacy.
Speaking at the event, Mokele said, “We truly appreciate what Rectron has done for us. We promise to give Rectron feedback so that they can measure the impact of the computer lab at our school.”

A refocused CSI initiative

Education is one of the most important aspects of the overall economic, cultural, social and technical development of a country. However, low academic performance in mathematics and science puts South Africa on the backfoot of 4IR readiness. In the 2019 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, which is carried out every four years, South African learners performed the worst in mathematics and science among the 64 countries assessed.
ICT equipment and technology is an enabler of education and can promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning. Through PEU, Rectron is providing these essential tools to those who need them most, while engaging and working with communities in which it operates.

“We have renamed and refocused our CSI initiative to better reflect the intention behind the programme and to ensure that all Rectron employees and staff were included within the process. We wanted all employees to be a part of selecting the new name, objective and purpose behind the PEU initiative,” says Rawana.
The start of a long-term partnership
As a leading distributor of ICT equipment, Rectron is responsible for creating trusted partnerships to make people’s lives better. Rectron plans to build a long-term partnership with the schools in the PEU programme, providing additional support in the future.

“Through PEU, we want our branches to take a hands-on approach, monitoring the success of our ICT donation and looking for additional ways we can make a positive impact on these schools and surrounding communities,” says Rawana.
Rectron remains committed to the development of people from previously disadvantaged communities. As a part of this commitment, Rectron hopes to introduce additional bursary opportunities for grade 12 learners, as well as invite students to join its Skills Development Programme.

“South Africa’s youth are key to transforming our economy, boosting growth and fostering creativity and innovation. Given that technology is transforming jobs, industries and entire economies, it is essential to digitally empower our youth,” concludes Rawana.